No Engineering Work Done on Amusement Park Water Slide Leads to Boy’s Decapitation

No Engineering Work Done on Amusement Park Water Slide Leads to Boy’s Decapitation
Mar 26, 2018

Last week, a Kansas Amusement Park and its Director of Operations were criminally indicted in connection with the death of a ten-year-old boy. The child was decapitated in August 2016 while riding a waterslide the company billed as the world’s tallest water slide. The owners had named the slide Verrückt, which is German for crazy, mad, or insane.

According to the indictment, the boy’s death was preceded by numerous other accidents and near misses, some of which caused serious injuries. This dangerous safety record was known to the company well before the child’s death, but was covered up, both before and after the fatality. The water park operators attempted to hide and destroy evidence showing that they were aware the slide was dangerous and pass the child’s death off as a freak accident. However, according to the indictment, the death was hardly an “accident” given that there was little to no engineering work done with respect to the design of the ride, which violated several generally accepted design principles and had proven, to be extremely dangerous during operation.

As personal injury and wrongful death attorneys, we have seen firsthand the devastation and unimaginable suffering families go through when a child is seriously injured or killed. As appears to be the case here, these types of incidents are frequently foreseeable and preventable.

There are many responsible operators of amusement parks, theme parks, carnivals and tourist experiences that provide safe and exciting fun to families. Unfortunately however, there are those who choose to take short cuts and gamble with the safety of other people’s children and relatives. One recent report indicated that as many as thirty thousand people are taken to the emergency room following injuries at amusement parks each year.

This incident occurred in Kansas, but our firm has represented victims injured at amusement parks or carnivals here in Georgia. Frequently, these types of cases require a thorough investigation, consultation with experts in the field, and dogged pursuit of information through litigation and discovery.

These cases also underscore the need for individuals and organizations to pay attention when safety problems are evident. It appears that the operators of this ride had dozens of warning signs that something horrible was going to occur, but chose instead to take their chances and hope that the inevitable somehow did not come to pass. This is unacceptable given the stakes, and the example serves as a reminder to all of us to speak up and take action whenever we become aware of safety issues.