10-Year-Old Boy Falls 20 Feet from Zip Line at Florida Amusement Park: 'Every Day Is a Struggle'
The young boy suffered from several broken bones, a collapsed lung and brain injury
A Florida mother is suing an indoor amusement park after her 10-year-old son had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital when he fell more than 20 ft. from a zip line attraction.
On September 1, Kimberly Barnes’ son was attending his friend’s birthday party at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park in Lakeland, Florida, when he decided to try out the park’s zip line ride called the Sky Rider, according to CNN.
While on the ride — which carries a harnessed rider on a track along the park’s ceiling — the young boy slipped from his harness and fell over 20 ft. onto the concrete floor below. The incident was captured in the park’s surveillance footage.
Barnes told reporters during a news conference shared by WTSP on Monday that she had received a call from the park informing her of the accident and that her son was being airlifted “because it was a trauma situation at that point.”
Barnes’ attorney, Steven Capriati, detailed the young boy’s injuries at the conference, which included several broken bones, a collapsed lung and brain injury. He was taken Tampa General Hospital where he had surgery and remained for several days.
According to WTSP, investigators said that the incident was a result of the harness not being properly secured around the child. The initial findings reportedly say that the leg straps were not buckled, leaving Barnes’ son to hold on with just his arms until he fell.
Barnes filed a lawsuit on Monday, alleging that the accident was the fault of an operator error and her family looking for $15,000 in damages, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.
Capriati released a statement on behalf of the family to PEOPLE saying: “When parents bring their children to a facility like this, they are led to believe that the facility and its employees have both the proper safety measures and protocols in place — and the training, knowledge, and ability needed to implement them. We believe that Urban Air failed, at every level, to protect our client. In this case, three different people supposedly trained on safety procedures failed to take the necessary steps to ensure our client’s safety, and the result was horrific. But this isn’t just employee failure; we believe it was the lack of proper training and oversight by management as well a failure to have appropriate safety measures in place in the event of employee error.”
The Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park said in their own statement to PEOPLE that they are “fully committed to the uncompromising safety and well-being of our guests and employees.”
“As a family-owned and operated company, safety is at the heart of everything we do. We take matters of this nature very seriously and can assure that appropriate measures have been taken,” the statement continued. “All staff members have been retrained on all attractions and the employees in question are no longer with us. We are thankful to hear that the child is back in school and we will continue to keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers through his full recovery.”
Barnes confirmed that her son has since returned to school but only attends “as he can tolerate it.”
“Every day is a struggle for normalcy for him,” she said at the news conference. “He’s doing the best he can. He wants to have his normal life back. He wants his normal routine and things like that, but it’s a day-by-day process for him.”