Articles Posted in Theme Park

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4 Die In Theme Park Tragedy October 25, 2016

4 Die In Theme Park Tragedy October 25, 2016

In yet another tragic theme park mishap, Australia’s “Dreamworld” experienced a death toll this week that rivaled Mosul. Four people were killed aboard the park’s Thunder River Rapids Ride at the Queensland amusement park, the largest and most popular in the country.  In an apparent malfunction of a conveyor belt, the ride caused “unsurvivable” injuries to the four adults.

These deaths highlight a serious problem plaguing amusement parks.  There is virtually no uniform oversight.  Standards are lax and inspections rare.  Much of the process is dependent upon operators, who may be poorly trained, paid and supervised.

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Because of Disney’s corporate thinking, Matt and Melissa Graves lost their son Lane. On June 14, 2016 Lane Graves was killed by an alligator, who snatched him from the shore of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando. Probably mistaking the prehistoric creature for a toy or animatronic reptile, Lane walked toward the gator and was taken.

Despite the heroic efforts by his parents, Lane was pulled under water, only to be found by divers the next day. The horror of this loss is magnified by the fact that Matt and Melissa fought the alligator before it submerged with their son.

The dignity displayed by the Graves in refusing to comment on this senseless loss conveys the deep need to grieve their loss and focus on what is important now. But for the rest of us the lesson is clear: Disney needs to learn that they cannot wait until crash after crash at an intersection before putting up a stop sign. Here there was a need for more than just a stop sign.

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Vacations can be the greatest of times…or can leave tourists injured or killed. Resorts, cruise ships and hotels present a range of hazards to even the most seasoned travelers. As an experienced resort and vacation injury lawyer, John Leighton has litigated and tried many cases involving injury and death to travelers. In the latest issue of the South Florida Legal Guide, Mr. Leighton published 10 life-saving tips to help avoid a tragic vacation scenario:

Ten Tips to Avoid a Deadly Vacation:

Surviving Resorts, Cruise Ships & Hotels is No Accident

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Not everyone thinks theme parks are the happiest places on earth. Parents of children might find it uncomfortable to learn that the people in the costumes at theme parks, those working on rides, and escorting guests through the resorts might be pedophiles on the prowl.

In several To Catch A Predator-style stings, police in Florida have recently arrested a number of Disney employees for child sex offenses. CNN conducted an investigation that found at least 35 Disney employees have been arrested since 2006 for sex crimes involving children. Some were caught with child porn on Disney property. One, a Disney World employee who oversaw ride repairs, was arrested when he arrived at a house thinking he was going to meet a 14 year-old girl. Instead he was arrested.

Just last month employees of Disney and Universal were arrested when they too showed up at a house planning to meet children. One was a concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who thought he was going to “fulfill a fantasy” with a 14 year-old boy.

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We love our thrill rides. Well, at least until they provide real-life thrills. These are the type of thrills that injure and kill. While amusement and theme park rides are advertised as “thrilling” and “fun,” often they prove deadly. Numerous amusement park deaths are caused by roller coaster crashes. Because there is no centralized reporting or investigative agency, most of the time the only investigation into the cause of a catastrophe is by the ride operator itself.

in 2011 there were 1200 amusement ride accidents in the U.S., with about 4% resulting in serious physical harm or death. A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported that between 1990 and 2010, 92,000 children were injured in amusement ride accidents.

This summer there have been examples of ride gone awry. Yesterday a power outage at Orlando’s Disney World stranded 120 passengers on the monorail who were stuck for hours in the un-air conditioned ride.

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casino woman.jpg “Even among gambling friendly senators” there is mounting opposition to the massive destination resort casino plans proposed for South Florida, despite projections of an economic windfall.

A majority of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee has asked for significant changes to the current bill proposed for casino expansion legislation in the state. The Committee is known as being open to casino expansion, according to the Miami Herald, but is not yet willing to pass the current proposal.

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Disney - Where Dreams Come True.jpgFederal investigators concluded after 2.5 years that the Disney monorail collision that killed a 21-year-old resort employee was caused in part by a lack of adequate safety protocols.

In a 14-page report, the National Transportation Safety Board cited employee errors as the primary causes of the accident, but added that “Walt Disney World Resort’s lack of standard operating procedures leading to an unsafe practice when reversing trains” was also a factor in the accident.

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Orlando Map.jpgFrom seizure to broken bone, head injury to loss of an eyeball, twelve visitors to Orlando experienced first-hand during Q3 2011 the dangers that lurk in parks designed for amusement. Walt Disney World reported the most injuries for Q3, totaling seven.

Resort Torts can include a wide variety of legal cases but they all have one thing in common: Tourists, business travelers and locals alike are all exposed to risk while traveling, vacationing or engaging in resort and leisure activities.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, new filings with the state include the following injuries reported at Orlando theme parks:

Islands of Adventure
• A man from Puerto Rico had to have an eye removed after something stuck and lacerated it while he was riding the Dragon Challenge roller coaster in Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. According to the Sentinel, the description in the report Universal provided the state was “eye discomfort”.

Walt Disney World
• An 18-year-old woman lost consciousness and experienced seizure-like symptoms in Castaway Creek.
• A woman injured an ankle on Mayday Falls.
• A woman lost consciousness after riding Mission: Space.
• A 16-year-old girl had a seizure on Star Tours.
• A woman fell and broke her leg at Haunted Mansion.
• Another woman fell and broke her leg on Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel.

Wet ‘n’ Wild, owned by NBCUniversal
• An 8-year-old boy suffered a head injury on Storm.

Amusement Park Injury Reporting
In 2001, The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the amusement park industry trade group, began producing its own injuries-per-ride-cycle figure for amusement rides (roller coasters, Ferris wheels, etc.) operated at fixed site locations. Their methodology is that IAAPA asks its members each year to report the number of riders they’ve processed through the turnstiles of their mechanical amusement rides, and the number of customers they know of who were treated by a doctor for injuries caused by any of those rides. They then come up with a number of patron rides taken each year, and an aggregated count of ride-related injuries parks reported knowing about.

This reporting system does not collect any information useful for analysis of accident patterns or development of prevention strategies. No information is collected that would identify the ride, the park, the age/size of patrons involved, the type of accident, or the injuries sustained.

With 82 million visitors each year, Florida and its many tourist attractions give rise to Resort Torts – cases of civil liability for negligent or criminal in a resort, vacation or recreational setting. Click here to contact a board certified civil trial specialist with 26 years of experience representing victims of negligence in personal injury matters.

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A woman has accused a Walt Disney World employee of raping her at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort after luring her there with a Friends and Family hotel rate and free theme-park passes, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

The man charged with sexual battery is a Disney reservations clerk, now on unpaid leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether the man booked rooms for other visitors with his employee discount and provided them with free admission to Disney parks with his employee pass, to determine if there might be other victims.

The woman first spoke to the accused when she called Walt Disney World reservations to inquire about hotel reservations and theme-park tickets. During the conversation, she mentioned that she was unemployed and wanted to spend her income-tax refund check on a vacation for her children. The man began sending her text messages and offered to book her a room under his Friends and family discount, saying that he was raised by a single mother and understood what it was like to want things, reports the Sentinel.

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Adding to recently updated injury reports and a bus crash injuring five people last month, a Disney worker died Monday morning from massive head injuries he suffered on Sunday while working at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The 52-year-old man was repairing “The Little Dip” portion of the Primeval Whirl roller coaster when a co-worker called 911, according to a Sun Sentinel report, which published the call transcript released by Reedy Creek Fire District, Walt Disney World’s municipal fire department:

“We need somebody right now,” a co-worker told a 911 dispatcher. “One of our maintenance guys got hit by a moving vehicle…He got in the way of a moving vehicle.”