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.
In August a 10 year-old boy was killed in Kansas at “Verruckt,” billed as the world’s tallest water slide. He sustained a fatal neck injury on the 168 foot slide. Just days earlier three girls were injured after falling out of a Ferris wheel at a county fair in Greeneville, Tennessee.
In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees and investigates injuries at temporary amusement parks like traveling carnivals and county fairs. But they do not conduct inspections. Permanent amusement parks, such as many theme parks, are overseen by state and local agencies. Often they have few standards, training or uniformity. Sometimes the local inspectors are in bed with the facility because it is manned or owned by local entities and provide substantial sources of local revenue.
Leighton Law often represents victims of injuries sustained at theme parks, resorts and amusements. Having an office in Orlando makes it easy for us to help the many tourists who come to Florida seeking fund and sun but end up in a hospital instead.