April 1, 2011

A few weeks ago, a three-year-old sitting next to his twin brother was riding a roller coaster at an indoor amusement park. He managed to slip out of his safety harness, and he stood up. His parents and others watched in horror as he became wedged between two cars, then fell to his death. He had sustained severe head trauma and died at the scene.

Portland parents can rest easy — the park isn’t in Oregon. But the accident is every parent’s worst nightmare.

The amusement park shut down the ride immediately following the accident. The town closed down the park for a few days while investigators went over all of the rides for safety issues. When the park reopened, the roller coaster was blocked by a barricade, dismantled.

The parents of the boy filed a lawsuit against the park this week, alleging that the park’s negligence was responsible for the boy’s death. In the complaint, the parents say the ride operator saw the toddler in trouble and tried to stop the ride. According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, the operator said the ride would not stop.

The wrongful death suit seeks undisclosed damages.

At least one witness also says the ride didn’t have an emergency stop. A woman, unrelated to the toddler, was standing near the roller coaster when he fell. She has filed her own suit against the amusement park, stating that she witnessed the boy’s injuries and suffered emotional anxiety and distress as a result.

While the amusement park did not comment on either lawsuit, the establishment had released a statement after the boy’s death saying that inspectors found no human error or mechanical failure connected with the accident.

Source: The Huffiington Post, “Two lawsuits against Go Bananas theme park over toddler Jayson Dansby’s death,” 04/20/11


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