Amusement parks in Colorado and across the country may be driven to develop the next big ride and attract visitors from near and far. The biggest, tallest and fastest roller coaster or water slide may pose a strong appeal to thrill-seekers, but amusement park operators also have a responsibility to protect their guests’ safety. Many people who enjoy these thrilling rides are children without the ability to assess their safety. Poorly developed rides can pose a risk of catastrophic injury or even death as illustrated by the case of the tallest water slide in the world.
Erected at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas, the ride rose 17 stories in the air and transported guests at up to 70 miles per hour on a raft through a water trail. Despite multiple problems and safety concerns, the ride wasn’t shut down until August 2016 after a 10-year-old boy was killed when his raft flew in the air, colliding with a metal pole and safety net.
The consequences of the deadly accident highlighted the importance of state regulations and care for safety when designing water park rides, both of which were seemingly far too lax in this case. The ride was designed by park operators without a background in engineering, and state laws did not require official inspections or credentials to build this type of attraction. Before the slide was opened to the public, numerous safety incidents and problems occurred that could have shown the operators that the attraction posed a serious threat to public safety.
The drive to produce the next big attraction can be dangerous or even deadly for guests when park owners fail to put guests’ safety first. People injured at an amusement park or other public space may consult a personal injury attorney about their options to seek compensation through a premises liability case.