- July 24, 2023
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Wrongful Death
Anyone who grew up loving water parks probably has at least one memory of being frustrated with the height requirements for certain attractions. There are good reasons why most theme park rides have these restrictions, however, and they’re especially important for water slides.
Unlike rollercoasters, which use heavy cars and sometimes mechanical propulsion systems, water slides rely solely on the rider’s mass to carry them through to the end of the ride. As a result, riders with different body types can have very different experiences on the same slide. In extreme scenarios, this can mean one person making it through the ride as intended, while another gets stuck at the bottom of a loop, or launched off the top of a hill.
Trying to make places like water parks welcoming and accessible to as many people as possible is a wonderful thing, but it should never come at the expense of ride safety. If the rules or the staff of a water park say that it’s okay for someone to enter an attraction, that person has the right to expect that they will be safe there. Sadly, that’s not always true.
A Water Slide Accident at Lake Winnepesaukah Just Sent a 5-Year-Old to the Hospital
At around 5pm this Fourth of July, a 5-year-old boy fell out of an elevated section of the Twist-N-Shout double tube waterslide at the Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park in Rossville. One witness described seeing him “fly” out of the slide and lie unconscious on the ground for a few minutes before park staff were able to reach him. Reports estimate that the fall was somewhere between 15 and 20 feet.
Paramedics arrived to find the boy conscious, but with visible scrapes and bruises, and transported him to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. There have been no public updates since that time, on either the boy’s condition or the cause of the accident.
By July 6th, the slide had reopened with a clean safety inspection from the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire. Inspectors found no issues with the slide’s tubes, foundation, or safety signage. What exactly did go wrong to cause this accident remains under investigation.
Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park places a height minimum of 42 inches on riders for the Twist-N-Shout. There’s no word on whether the boy met this requirement — a healthy 5-year-old could easily land on either side of that height cutoff.
If the park failed to follow its own safety regulations, it could be liable for this boy’s injuries. If not, there may be a fundamental problem with the physics of the ride, making it unsafe for some riders who fit the official guidelines.
Amusement Parks Often Share Liability with Engineers and Maintenance Contractors
It’s no secret that theme parks, like so many businesses, sometimes put profits ahead of safety. Other times, however, a park can do everything right and still end up with accidents.
For example, a park might buy a pre-designed ride with hidden flaws, or pay for third-party maintenance, not knowing that the maintenance company is cutting corners.
The Stoddard Firm has experience uncovering and proving negligence in theme park premises accidents, whether or not that negligence lies with the park itself. If you are the guardian of the boy who was injured at Lake Winnepesaukah, or if you have been harmed by a similar accident, reach out to learn how we can help.