Accidents at theme parks unfortunately occur with some regularity, but when they happen, theme parks typically like to keep them as quiet as possible, but last year, Universal Orlando Resort found itself in hot water when several guests visiting the Volcano Bay water park reported feeling shocks throughout the day. A few were hospitalized, but no major injuries were reported, and Universal performed an internal investigation and identified and fixed the electrical problem that was causing the shocks.However, many guests were shaken, as this type of incident can be a scary thing to think about at a water park.
And unfortunately, it looks like Universal's Volcano Bay has found itself at the center of controversy again, as internal reports show a massive 115 guests have been injured on one single attraction, which is still operating today, albeit in a modified format.
Riders on Punga Racers have suffered a variety of injuries, from scrapes and cuts to concussions and paralysis
According to a new report by the Orlando Sentinel, since the opening of Punga Racers at Universal's Volcano Bay water park, at least 115 visitors have reported injuries while experiencing this attraction. These injuries vary widely in scope, from minor scrapes or nosebleeds to other more severe cases which saw guests suffering concussions or neck whiplash as they rode head-first on mats down four flumes into catch pools.
However, by far the most serious injury was incurred by a New York tourist visiting the park last year whose neck snapped back violently when he went through a wave of water at the end of the ride, leaving him paralyzed.
This tourist is now suing Universal and Canadian ride manufacturer ProSlide Technology for $15,000 damages, which has led to the release of some truly shocking findings about what Universal did and did not know about the safety of this attraction.
A history of safety issues
According to documents found by the Orlando Sentinel, Universal has known about the safety issues on Punga Racers for some time, and has been periodically trying out new safety measures, with ProSlide modifying the ride in fall 2017, extending the two outer lanes to help slow down the riders. However, even with the modifications, several injuries have been reported, not only from guests, but from ride testers as well, with court documents showing that ride engineers had concerns about the ride's safety as well.
However, the ride went through an extensive refurbishment recently converting the water slide from a mat slide to a traditional body slide with an extended splashdown area, which hopefully helped with the issues that caused so many injuries.