A negligence lawsuit filed today on behalf of a high school track star paralyzed from the neck down in an accident at Raging Waters alleges the water park fails to enforce its own safety rules.
A Raging Waters representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the complaint filed on behalf of 17-year-old Rocio Estrada, who was preparing to begin her senior year at high school.
The plaintiff’s attorney claims the accident was “completely preventable.” According to the complaint, it was the teen’s first time on the quarter-mile-long man-made river of whirlpools, dams and spillways, described on the park’s website as one of the longest attractions of its kind.
Estrada, who was seated in her float tube, broke her neck and sustained a spinal cord injury when she collided with her uncle as he was walking down the spillway in search of his 6-year-old daughter after losing his tube in the current, the complaint states.
Although posted rules instruct riders to stay seated on their float tubes, walking down the spillways was “known, common and habitually tolerated by the defendant’s ‘lifeguard’ staff on this ride,” the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit accuses the park of designing and operating “Raging Rivers” to encourage riders to walk with their tubes to access the various spillways that connect the pools, even though the “rules” say to sit on the tubes.
The complaint also accuses the park’s operators of failure to provide riders who have lost their tubes at spillway entrances with replacement tubes at spillway entrances; failure to provide instructions and assistance to riders who have lost their tubes; failure to supervise the ride and control entrance to the spillway to prevent foreseeable collisions; overcrowding of the ride, causing “jams” and “bottlenecks” at spillway entrances;
inadequate personnel — too few and poorly trained — to operate and supervise the ride; and inadequate warnings.
“As designed and operated on the date of the accident, the ‘Raging Rivers’ attraction was unreasonably dangerous, negligently operated,” the complaint alleges. “Its condition and its operation resulted in an unreasonable risk of harm to paying guests.” The plaintiff’s attorney is seeking unspecified damages from Raging Waters Group Inc. for his client’s lost earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, including attendant and home nursing care and rehabilitation and special equipment.