In the past few years, hundreds of commercial zip-line parks have opened across the United States. As of September 2017, there were 400 different parks operating, with more due to be opening. While this may be a fun way to spend an afternoon or to host a birthday party, there are risks. The risks are more in line with white water rafting than riding a roller coaster. A study that was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine showed that the number of zip-line injuries treated in emergency departments in the United States rose from a few hundred annually in the late 1990s to more than 3,600 in 2012.
People reports that the parents of a 10-year-old boy who fell 20 feet from a zip line at a Florida amusement park have filed a lawsuit.
Kimberly Barnes’ son was attending a friend’s birthday party at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park in Lakeland, Florida on September 1st. The boy decided to try the park’s zip line ride called the Sky Rider.
The ride carries a harnessed rider on a track along the park’s ceiling. Surveillance footage caught the terrifying moment when the boy’s harness gave way, sending him falling 20 feet to the park floor.
Barnes received a call from the park telling her of the accident. She learned that they were airlifting her son to a hospital because it was a trauma situation.
The boy suffered from several broken bones, a collapsed lung, and a brain injury. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he underwent surgery and remained for several days following the accident.
According to investigators, the accident was a result of the harness not being secured properly around the child. The leg straps were not buckled, leaving the child to hold on with just his arms until he fell.
Barnes filed a lawsuit alleging that the accident was the result of operator error and is seeking $15,000 in damages.