LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A 10-year-old boy was hospitalized recently after falling from a zip line attraction in Lakeland, Florida.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the incident happened Sept. 1 while the child was on the “Sky Rider” zip line at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park.
Kim Barnes is the child’s mother.
“It killed me to watch it,” she said. “He didn’t deserve this.”
8 On Your Side Investigates obtained two videos of the fall. We are not showing the terrifying moment the child slips out of his harness and hits the ground.
The boy has been released from the hospital since the incident.
“His life is not the same anymore because of this,” said Barnes. “It’s affected him mentally, and emotionally and physically.”
Morgan & Morgan, the law firm representing the family, filed a lawsuit on Monday.
“These are wildly popular facilities and they’re really attractive to kids,” said attorney Steven Capriati.
“At the employee level, they obviously could’ve done more but at the organizational level, there should’ve been more measures in place to prevent something like this from happening,” Capriati added.
According to the Department of Agriculture’s investigative report, the incident was the result of operator error. Inspectors found the leg straps of the child’s harness were not buckled.
Communications Director Karol Molinares says state inspectors found no deficiencies in the equipment and Urban Air did not have a history of device deficiencies.
The department will be taking enforcement action and fining Urban Air, according to Molinares.
Urban Air released the following statement to 8 On Your Side Investigates:
“Urban Air is 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. 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.”
The facility obtained a permit in July of 2018, according to state officials. The September incident was the accident at this location.
8 On Your Side Investigates is digging into the inspection and history of local parks in our area. We will continue to follow this developing story.
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