Wisconsin Dells water park sued after teen gets injured on looping water slide


A Michigan family is suing the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells alleging their son was injured on a ride the resort knew was unsafe.

The lawsuit, filed last week, claims the teenage boy was injured on the Sahara Sidewinders ride at the Kalahari resort in June 2012, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The 60-foot tall indoor water slide drops riders from a trap-door chamber into one of two looping slides, according to Kalahari's website. The water slides are advertised as the only indoor looping water slides in the nation, and when they were added to the park in 2011 they were called the first of their kind in the world.

But the lawsuit describes the ride as a "dangerous condition or trap," the Wisconsin State Journal notes.

Brian Hodgkiss, the family's attorney, wrote in the lawsuit that the ride posed an "unreasonable risk of injury" and the resort knew this, but didn't take additional safety precautions, WTAQ reports.

The lawsuit alleges Kalahari Resort knew of the risk of injury "due to prior reported incidents," the Wisconsin State Journal says.

The lawsuit is asking for damages after the boy suffered personal injury, pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, and also that the family incurred medical expenses as a result of the incident, reports note.

Kalahari's website does list safety precautions for riding the Sahara Sidewinders. There are three Kalahari resorts in the U.S., including in Sandusky, Ohio, and Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania.

The Ohio location has faced a number of safety violations since it opened in 2005, the Sandusky Register reported in 2010.

Other water slide injuries

This isn't the first time a Wisconsin Dells water park has faced a lawsuit over an injury.

Earlier this year, Terry Kubitz and her husband filed a lawsuit against Noah's Ark waterpark claiming employees were negligent when operating an inflatable ride in 2012, which resulted in her suffering a traumatic brain injury and permanent disfigurement, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Last year, a family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Wilderness Hotel & Resort claiming the business and its employees were negligent leading up to the 2011 drowning incident, WiscNews said.

Despite recent lawsuits, the chance of being injured on an amusement park ride is rare.

Of the estimated 1.38 billion rides taken on fixed-site amusement park rides the U.S. in 2013, there were an estimated 1,221 rider-related injuries, the fixed-site amusement ride injury survey conducted by the National Safety Council shows. Only 6.9 percent of those injuries were labeled as serious.

The most common type of water park injuries occur with water slides stemming from impacts and body strains while going down the slide, such as smacking against part of the slide, with head, face and back the most common areas that are injured, according to Saferparks.org. On average, about 2 percent of injuries from water slides require hospitalization.

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