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Theme Park Accidents

Could Many Of Today’s Theme Park Rides Be Defectively Designed?

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Theme Park Accidents

Could Many Of Today’s Theme Park Rides Be Defectively Designed?

I happened across a great post on one of my favorite law blogs, ThePopTort, concerning the horrible tragedy that occurred on the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas. As most readers of this blog will know, a 52-year old woman was killed a few weeks ago when she fell out of the ride while it negotiated some kind of twisting turn at a high rate of speed. The original PopTort blog post really touched on two issues – the lack of government regulation and oversight when it comes to thrill rides such as roller coasters, and the type of riders that the rides are designed to accommodate. Since I’ve previously discussed the regulatory picture in Florida (or lack thereof) when it comes to theme parks, I found the elements of the post in the ThePopTort blog dealing with ride design most interesting. According to Ken Martin, an amusement park ride and safety expert, most of today’s thrill ride designers fail to properly take into account the increasing size of the average human — and especially the average American. It seems that most rides are designed to accommodate a 180 lb. adult – which is supposed to represent 95 percent of the riding population. According to the Centers for disease control the average weight for American males is 191 lbs., and 161 lbs. for females – which means that are a lot of possible too-large people riding the rides. According to Mr. Martin, this extra weight causes a lot more force to be exerted on ride safety restraints, and also means that ride restraints might not fit the the rider the way they are supposed to. Either way, the inconsistency between ride design and the size of the actual riders creates a potentially very dangerous situation which, in the Six Flags case, may have ultimately resulted in a lady’s death. If you have any questions following a Florida theme park accident or injury, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Could Texas Roller Coaster Tragedy Happen At A Florida Theme Park?

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Theme Park Accidents, Uncategorized

Could Texas Roller Coaster Tragedy Happen At A Florida Theme Park?

A Texas mother was tragically killed last Friday night when she fell over 150 feet from the Texas Giant roller coaster at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. As a Florida theme park accident attorney I cannot help but wonder, “Could this kind of thing happen here in one of Central Florida’s theme parks?” Unfortunately, I think the answer is, “Yes.” Eyewitnesses told television reports that the victim simply flew out of her seat during the roller coaster’s first turn. Apparently, one witness told the Dallas Morning News that she overheard the victim complaining to a ride operator before her car left the loading zone that her restraint didn’t feel like it was holding her correctly. Reportedly, the ride attendant brushed the lady off, and assured her that everything was going to be fine. Obviously, everything was not fine. As amusement ride expert, Ken Martin, points out in this video, there is no national safety standard or regulation when it comes to amusement rides At least in Texas the state’s Department of Insurance inspects rides for safety. In Florida, our largest theme parks are exempt from inspection rules. No state officials are allowed to inspect the rides at Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Florida. It goes without saying that no ride like a roller coaster should be allowed to proceed if there is any doubt that a ride restraint is working properly. I would only have taken the ride attendant a moment to walk over and address the victim’s concern. Because this simple action was not taken, a family is grieving in Texas. If you have questions regarding a Florida theme park accident, please call Winter Park wrongful death attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Where Was Lifeguard When 13-Year Old Was Drowning In Disney Pool

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Theme Park Accidents

Where Was Lifeguard When 13-Year Old Was Drowning In Disney Pool

So this is how it begins in 2013… I was so sad to read on WESH.com that the 13-year old Missouri boy who was found at the bottom of a swimming pool at the Disney Pop Century Resort was pronounced dead.  Of course it is always tragic whenever a child is lost.  The loss of a child is probably the most devastating experience that a family can go through.  As an Orlando accident attorney who handles child drowning cases, I fear that this is only the beginning of the tragedies that we’ll see in Central Florida this year with drowning accidents. In our experience, drowning accidents are almost always preventable.  In a typical residential drowning case, invariably access to the pool is the issue.  Someone has usually left a sliding door or gate unlocked, and a small child has made his or her way into the pool area. Sometimes it is attractive pool toys left in plain sight of a toddler, and the toys are just too tempting. A resort pool drowning is a bit more unusual. Most of the large resorts, and particularly the ones run by the theme parks such as Walt Disney World or Universal Studios, feature life guards on duty throughout the day.  I know that there is a lifeguard stand in place at the Pop Century pool.  The story on WESH.com failed to mention any involvement, or even the existence of a lifeguard at the Pop Century Resort at the time of this child’s drowning, but a separate media outlet reported that the child had been swimming after lifeguards had already gone home for the day.  As we are currently in prime Spring Break vacation time here in Florida, and there are a huge number of kids wanting to use the swimming pools, I wonder if lifeguards should have been left on duty until later in the evening. Hopefully this family from Missouri has received satisfactory answers from Walt Disney World on this issue. As a father of four children myself, I cannot imagine what they are going through. If you have any questions regarding a Florida drowning accident or wrongful death, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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