Regardless of whether we visit a fair, carnival, amusement park or other location we expect to have a good safe day of fun. We expect for the park staff to take all reasonable actions to minimize the risk for injury. Furthermore, we expect all rides to be in good working order and free from known defects. Unfortunately, two recent incidents at Texas carnivals and amusement parks calls these expectations into question. While only one of the incidents produced a death and injury, both situations were very serious and involved extremely dangerous circumstances.
Rollercoaster Seatbelt Malfunction Has Parent Asking Questions
The restraint system on a rollercoaster is of the utmost importance in protecting the safety of riders. They restraint system prevents the rider from being thrown around or out of the rollercoaster cart. Unfortunately, a father and his six-year-old son were involved in a very serious incident that involved the coaster’s restraint system. Even more unfortunately, the ride operator’s reaction to the father’s report only raises more questions.
Delbert Latham and his 6-year-old son Kayson visited Wonderland, a Texas amusement park, for a day of controlled thrills. However, Latham and his son Kayson’s day of fun took a horrifying turn when Kayson’s seatbelt came unlatched. The father happened to be recording video on his cell phone when his son’s seat belt comes unlatched and can be heard promising Kayson, “You’re fine. I promise. I gotcha. There are no more big hills.” The father says that he held onto his son as tightly as he could during the ride to ensure that he would not fall from the ride.
When the father told the ride operator about the seatbelt that came unlatched, he received a rather shocking reply. The father states that the ride operator said that he was aware that the belt sometimes comes unsecured. The father also said that the operator allowed people to keep riding, but prohibited anyone from riding in the affected car.
The park reached out to address Mr. Latham’s comments stating that is was, “extremely concerned to hear about the experience of Mr. Latham and his six-year-old son over the weekend.” The park stated that it had since removed the back car of the ride with the faulty seatbelt from service and stated that all other seat belts were in good working order. The company also indicated that the ride was originally produced without seat belts, but the park added the safety belts as an additional safety precaution.
Teen Killed in Texas Carnival Accident
While the previous situation was a frightening, dangerous situation, we were fortunate enough to avoid major injury or death. Unfortunately, in this situation we were not so fortunate. A fatal accident took place on a ride known as The Sizzler. The Sizzler was set-up for a carnival at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church during their Dia De Los Niños Fiesta festivities.
Two girls, aged 15 and 16 years old, were thrown from the Sizzler ride on April 30, 2016. The girls who were ejected from their seats struck a metal bar. The children were both rushed to the Del Sol Medical Center. The older girl was pronounced dead after arriving at the medical center. The younger of the girls was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
It is not quite clear what caused the accident or whether the ride had malfunctioned. The Sizzler is a ride similar to the Scrambler where the seats rotate around a center point and riders also spin in their individual seat.
Injured at an Amusement or Carnival Park? Let Our Amusement Park Accident Attorneys Work for You
Peak season for fairs, festivals and amusement parks is only now arriving as the weather turns for the better. Multiple incidents within a several day period is not a good sign for the upcoming season. Furthermore, the fact that both injuries occurred in a single state also raises questions. If you have suffered a serious injury at an amusement park due to insufficient maintenance, operator error, or ride malfunction contact a personal injury attorney today by calling 800-861-6708 today.