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Saturday, July 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Water Park Faces Trial Over Guest’s Slide Crash

(CN) - A man who crashed out of a waterslide pool at an amusement park will have the chance to prove that his weight did not cause the accident, the New York Court of Appeals ruled.

Anthony Mussara sued Mega Funworks Inc. for an injury he suffered on the Pirate's Plunge ride at the Splashdown Park in Fishkill, N.Y.

He also sued the designers of the waterslide and the 50-foot splash pool at the bottom.

Since some riders reached the end of the splash pool during testing, Splashdown instituted a 200-pound weight limit for riders. It also instructed guests to slow themselves down by pulling back on the inner-tube handles.

Before he rode the Pirate's Plunge, Mussara, who weighed more than 200 pounds, checked to see if his son was tall enough to ride it, but he did not read the other warnings.

Mussara rode across the splash pool and was ejected to the cement. In his deposition, he testified that he pulled back on the handles, but could not tell if that slowed him down.

The lifeguard, whose job it was to slow down the riders, testified that he did not think he could stop Mussara, so he did not try.

A Dutchess County judge granted summary judgment to Mega Funworks, but the Appellate Division's Brooklyn-based Second Department ruled that Mussara made enough of a case to go to trial.

"This is not a situation where the water slide and splash pool functioned in the way they were intended to function, but an injury nonetheless occurred," the unsigned opinion states. "Instead, Pirate's Plunge did not function as it was intended."

"The dangerous condition posed by the ride was unique and over and above the usual dangers that are inherent in riding down a water slide," the justices added.

Mussara also raised a triable issue of fact over whether new, safer inner-tubes with 16-inch diameter holes were in use at the time of the accident. He produced a Federal Express receipt that showed that only one of the tubes was delivered to Splashdown two days before the accident.

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