Even “Safe” Amusement Park Rides, Like River Raft Courses, Can Cause Serious Injury or Death

Parents and caregivers simply want to provide their children and teens a safe, enjoyable day of thrills where children can test their courage on an array of rides. Since all children have different tolerances for apparent risk, parents may be happy to limit the types of rides the child rides so as to be age appropriate. While parents may not reveal this to the children, they may secretly feel a sense of relief since they would prefer their child to only ride “safe” attractions where the entire family can participate. In other words, parents are often relieved when children decide not to ride roller coasters and other thrill rides typically viewed as “aggressive” or “dangerous.”  

Unfortunately, our perceptions regarding the level of safety or danger do not always comport with the actual reality reflected in statistics. While we might expect aggressive, high-profile attractions like roller coasters to produce the most injuries and deaths, the fact of the matter is that all rides can be dangerous. This is especially true in light of the fact that the loading and unloading segment is typically the most dangerous part of any ride and all rides must go through this phase.

However, the latest example of the fact that all rides, can inflict serious bodily injury or death occurred at an Australian theme park known as Dreamworld. An accident on the park’s Thunder River Rapids Ride on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.

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How Did the Rapids Ride Accident Occur?

While an investigation into the accident is ongoing, certain details have emerged regarding the circumstances that led to the death of four adults on the Thunder River Rapids Ride. The Thunder River Rapids ride is a traditional river rapids water ride. Roughly four to six  guests board a large circular raft. The raft then careens down the river course where water obstacles can spray into the boat potentially drenching guests.

Unfortunately what police are calling a “malfunction” interrupted a raft’s ride down the rapids course. The malfunction resulted in two riders on a raft being ejected into the water. The two riders who were ejected from the raft and into the water both passed away from the injuries they sustained. Park officials have stated that they do not yet know whether these deaths were caused solely due to being trapped under the water or if ride machinery may have trapped or crushed the guests. ‘

Two more guests who apparently became trapped on the raft also passed away due to severe injuries. There is no word as to what caused the severe injuries to these two guests, but these injuries were fatal resulting in a total of four deaths.

While some reports seem to indicate that only two guests fell in the water, some eyewitness accounts contradict that report. One bystander who spoke to an eyewitness claims that “I was speaking to one of the guys and he said it was the raft or the boat thing in front of him, the whole thing flipped and everyone was screaming.” From this account it sounds as if all of the riders may have ended up in the water. However, it seems that only the two previously mentioned guests were ejected from the boat. Thus, it appears that the two other guests remained  trapped under the boat and thus under the water due to their safety restraint or other reasons.

Has the Ride Had Previous Incidents?

Park officials made clear the inquiry and investigation would be ongoing, but it would take the time to uncover more details. Park officials explained that an investigation would require the use of heavy equipment and machinery to remove the raft and other debris from the rapids course. This was expected to take, at least, several hours.

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This accident occurred on a ride that is widely viewed as safe and family friendly. According to par officials, there were no known previous serious accidents on this ride. This amusement park accident marks the second serious incident involving a “safe” ride at the park this year. Last April, a man fell from the park’s Rocky Hollow Log Ride.

Injured at an Amusement or Theme Park and in Need of a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Regardless of the ride or attraction, the potential for malfunction, mistake, or other factors that can lead to serious injury are present. If you or a loved one have suffered a serious, life-altering amusement park injury, call the water park injury lawyers of Reiff & Bily today. If a loved one was wrongfully killed due to park negligence, we may also be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our law offices at 800-681-6708 today.

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