Shocking News of Child’s Death at KC, Kansas Water Park

Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Kansas City, Kansas

Sunday, a Kansas lawmaker’s child was killed was killed on a waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark

The waterslide allows a multi-person raft to go down the waterslide and each person must be 54 inches tall.  The ride will be closed pending an investigation according to the park spokeswoman. The Kansas City police spokesman Officer Cameron Morgan said information would be released at a later date.

Winter Prosapio, the park spokeswoman said, “We honestly don’t know what’s happened. That is why…a full investigation is necessary. We have to understand what has happened.”

Fatal Amusement Park Incidents

Amusement parks deaths are always shocking and when they involve death of a child, it is even more chilling. Typically, amusement parks do exhaustive testing and safety checks on all equipment throughout the year and during the busiest seasons.  If a ride at an amusement park malfunctions or a park employee makes a safety error, then the park can be held liable for injuries or death caused. Malfunctioning can occur due to improperly maintained equipment, broken equipment or incorrect usage of the equipment.

On average 4.5 American died every year on amusement park rides from 1987-2000. Between the years of 1994-2004, 22 Americans lost their lives on roller coasters as a result of mechanical failure or operator errors according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The 168-foot high Verruckt slide can reach speeds up to 70 mph and opened in 2014 after multiple delays due to failed safety tests. It is not known whether or not the youth was fatally injured while on the slide or if he fell from the 17-story attraction. Either one of those scenarios is horrid. The waterslide “Verruckt” which means “insane” in German was certified as the world’s largest waterslide by Guinness World Records.

Concern about Oversight as a Result of Fatality

“There are industry standards, but the problem is they’re not in every state,” claims Ken Martin, an amusement park safety consultant and incident investigator.  Martin said, “We know for fact in the industry that the majority of incidents involving amusement park rides is a result of human error, whether it’s from a park operator or guest.  Accidents don’t happen very often. But when they do, these horrible tragedies occur”.

As state and local governments are responsible for overseeing inspections, safety regulations, audits and data collection vary widely. Some states require full annual inspections by a licensed third party; others only require electrical checks.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) 335 million guests visit theme parks in the U.S. each year, including 83 million visitors to 1,000 water parks.  The IIPA does not distinguish between rides at water parks and traditional amusement parks.

While there are various industry standards, there are not laws in every state regarding oversight of amusement parks.  According to Martin, since the death involves a lawmaker’s son in a park where many people may have cell phones and possible footage (they will only share privately with investigators and not on social media)–hopefully, parks will use this incident to re-evaluate industry-wide protocols.

Tragic Nature of Death at an Amusement Park

Amusement parks and water parks are places for families to have fun and feel safe, thus when a tragedy of this nature occurs it shakes us to our core.  We place our faith in the amusement park to be ultra-safe and maintain rides and rules that keep our children and family members safe. Living in St. Louis, one of the Missouri hubs for amusement and water parks, we all should have safety at the forefront of our mind.

When someone is injured or killed on ride, the entire community is impacted.  Young life lost is always tragic and when it occurs in a place where we normally feel safe, we question our further safety at amusement parks.  Still yet, the IAAPA says that the chance of being injured on a “fixed-site ride” at a US amusement park is 1 in 16 million.  Those seem like pretty safe odds unless your the parent of that “one”.

Amusement Park Injuries

While the investigation remains as to the details of Sunday’s tragedy, we should be asking questions about how often and what kind of safety regulations our amusement parks follow.

Often, most injuries are due to human error whether it is a guest or a park operator.  Human error on the part of the park, can be a negligence issue.  The problem with amusement park injures is that they are generally very serious in nature if they occur on a fast or tall ride where someone is not properly restrained or falls from the ride.

If you have questions, do call our attorneys as we area available seven days a week for free consultations.

Call at (314) 276-1681

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The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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