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Deaths at Theme Parks Rival War Zone Body Count starstarstarstarstar

Deaths at Theme Parks Rival War Zone Body Count

October 25, 2016

Four people were killed today in a tragic theme park accident at Australia’s “Dreamworld.” The sheer number killed made the headline sound like a war zone body count.  The four adults killed were on the park’s “Thunder River Rapids Ride” at the Queensland amusement park, the largest and most popular in the country.  In an apparent malfunction of a conveyor belt, the ride caused “unsurvivable” injuries to the four adults.

These deaths are only the latest in a slew of high profile amusement and them park injuries and deaths. The causes may be different, but they all suffer from one common malady: minimal oversight and weak/inconsistent standards.  There is virtually no uniform regulation.  Standards are lax and inspections rare.  Much of the process is dependent upon operators, who are often be poorly trained, paid and supervised.

In August a 10 year-old boy was killed in Kansas at “Verruckt,” billed as the world’s tallest water slide. He sustained a fatal neck injury on the 168 foot slide.   Just days earlier three girls were injured after falling out of a Ferris wheel at a county fair in Greeneville, Tennessee.

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees and investigates injuries at temporary amusement parks like traveling carnivals and county fairs. But they do not conduct inspections. Permanent amusement parks, such as many theme parks, are overseen by state and local agencies. Often they have few standards, training or uniformity.  Sometimes the local inspectors are in bed with the facility because it is manned or owned by local entities and provide substantial sources of local revenue.

Leighton Law often represents victims of injuries sustained at theme parks, resorts and amusements.  Having an office in Orlando makes it easy for us to help the many tourists who come to Florida seeking fund and sun but end up in a hospital instead. We have helped people injured on rides, from falls and violent crimes and sexual assaults at theme parks.  Because Disney, Universal Orlando, Sea World and other theme parks are so powerful and ubiquitous in Central Florida, tourists to Florida need to know they have someone who will fight for their rights.  Often the potential for a jury verdict may be the only compelling incentive for theme parks to provide a safer environment.