The deadly Verrückt incident isn’t the only water attraction making headlines recently. A water slide at Magic Waters – a waterpark located in Cherry Valley, Illinois – is the center of a 12 personal injury lawsuits, and the Rockford Park District is paying a hefty price.
Splash Blaster, a water coaster, carries two riders on a series of ups and downs, twists and turns. The ride begins on a conveyer belt that brings the riders up 35 feet before plummeting through a dark tunnel. The ride continues its course gaining momentum through high-pressured water jets. The water coaster debuted in 2000 and has since been a favorite of park patrons. Often, guests would rush to the Splash Blaster immediately upon the park’s opening, and the line often clocked a 1-2 hour wait.
Despite being a fan favorite, the Splash Blaster was no stranger to accidents. A dozen park patrons have filed a personal injury lawsuit against Magic Waters. Most of these cases focused on compression fractures of the spine as the sustained injury. Plaintiffs attribute under inflated rafts combined with that initial drop as the cause of the fractures.
Splash Blaster was closed in September of 2015, and six months later the first lawsuit was filed in March. Three cases are still pending (and scheduled for later this year); however, the total settlements of the first nine lawsuits amounts to a whopping $2,414,500. The individual settlements of those nine cases ranges from $38,500 to $925,000, with each case factoring in personal injury, medical expenses, and time unable to work.
Rockford Park District executive Tim Dimke issued a statement on the water park’s commitment to safety; therefore, instead of trying to repair or fix the water coaster, Splash Blaster will be permanently closed and taken down. It will be replaced with a newer, safer (but taller) 55-foot ride called the AquaLoop. AquaLoop will open in the 2017 summer season. Magic Waters Waterpark was issued $3.5 million to apply towards the construction of the AquaLoop, improvements to the children’s area (Little Lagoon), and for general safety and compliance upgrades.