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Boy critical after falling 30 feet from Castles N’ Coasters


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PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK) -

Updated: Nov 28, 2015 11:15 PM EST

A 12-year-old boy is in critical condition after falling 30 feet while on a ride at a Phoenix amusement park.

 

Dominick Leal was riding the Water Log at Castles N’ Coasters Friday afternoon “when he attempted to get off the ride while it was in motion,” according to a Phoenix police officer’s report. Police say Leal stood up for unknown reasons. The boy then got his foot caught, and the ride dragged him before he fell off into the water, police said. Leal's aunt, in a message posted on a fundraising website, said he hit his head on every bar on the way down.

She said her nephew has a skull fracture, and underwent “a two-hour surgery on his brain.” He is reportedly in a medically-induced coma at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Family members say it could take up to 18 months for Leal to get better, and there's no guarantee he'll ever be the same. His family members also tell us that before the fall, the ride operator ignored the 12-year-old's cries for help. "He was sitting down," says Leal's grandmother Carroll Stevenson. "Waving his hands. Telling them, 'I'm sliding!' And the guy sent him down anyway." "I just want him to come home," continues Stevenson. "And I want people to know how dangerous those rides are. That ride has no straps. Nothing holding those kids in."

The 10-acre Castles N' Coasters amusement park is located at 9445 N. Metro Pkwy E. in Phoenix. The general manager of the park sent us an email that read, in part:

 

"We have multiple people who witnessed the boy stand up at the last second and try to get out of the boat at the top of the ride. The ride operator at the top of the ride was able to have communication with the boy before the incident and the boy said he was "ok" and to not stop the ride... There was no malfunction on the ride. Unfortunately, If he had followed the safety rules he would be fine."

 

The family disputes that account. And they say after the incident.. No staff members came to help.

 

Earlier Saturday afternoon, park management had issued this statement:

 

"We at Castles N' Coasters are devastated by this unfortunate incident, and our sincere condolences and prayers go out to this young boy and his family. "We have offered family fun at our parks for over fifty years and this is the first incident of this nature that we have encountered. We want everyone who comes to Castles N' Coasters to enjoy a safe and fun experience.

"We have an impeccable safety record, one of the best in the industry. We hold regularly scheduled Safety Meetings on all of our rides which are meticulously inspected on a daily basis before the public is allowed to participate on any ride.

"We have policies and procedures in place for the safety of our guests and are continually training our staff.

"We feel horrible that this happened."

Edited by robbalvey
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First off, prayers for the family.

 

Second, the 12 year old kid stood up on a ride that I am sure has notices to remain seated during the ride. If he was unable to fallow or understand those rules, he should not have been on the ride alone. At 12 years old, you would think that one could understand simple rules and common sense.

 

Now we are going to see parks either install seat belts on log flume rides, or maybe even close them all together.

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And this is why you don't stand up on rides. These rides don't need seatbelts or anything if people just obeyed the rules.

 

Now we are going to see parks either install seat belts on log flume rides, or maybe even close them all together.

No, don't even say that. Log flumes are precious and must be preserved.

 

Also, the description needs a small edit, unless there is some giga log flume I am unaware of...

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Here's another article, and I agree with this statement right here:

 

Park managers issued a statement saying they were "devastated" by the mishap, but said the boy would have been safe if he had stuck to the park's rules.

 

I'm sorry. I have zero sympathy for stupid kids that do stupid things. IMO, this is a perfect example of darwinism. And I don't care if the kid is only 12. My daughter is only 8 and she knows enough not to stand up on on a ride for ANY reason. And it's even worse that the family is trying to blame the park. Look, I get it, it's devastating when something happens to a child, but take some responsibility for their actions. Don't go try to blame someone else for someone's unfortunate actions.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/breaking/2015/11/28/boy12-injured-ride-castles-n-coasters/76496462/

 

A 12-year-old boy was seriously injured on a ride at the Castles N' Coasters amusement park in Phoenix on Friday afternoon, police said, and now the boy's family and the park are blaming each other for the cause.

 

The boy was riding a water log flume ride at the amusement park at around 4 p.m. when he stood up for unknown reasons, Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said. He caught his foot on the ride and was dragged before he fell an unknown height into the water. Holmes said the boy was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but was last listed as being in stable condition.

 

On Saturday, family members revealed the injured boy's name is Dominick Leal, a seventh-grader from Casa Grande. His grandmother, Carroll Stevenson, said the fall left him with several gashes and a traumatic brain injury. He had emergency brain surgery and is now in a coma, being treated at Phoenix Children's Hospital, family members said.

 

That's where agreement about what happened ends. Park managers issued a statement saying they were "devastated" by the mishap, but said the boy would have been safe if he had stuck to the park's rules.

 

But Stevenson said things went wrong because the ride was unsafe and operators ignored the boy's cries for help.

 

Arizona is one of eight states that does not regulate theme parks, according to industry watchdog non-profit saferparks.org and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Rather, state law requires parks to obtain a permit and receive a yearly inspection from a private agency or insurance company. According to the Commission, Phoenix has no local municipal ride-inspection program, but Prescott does.

 

Stevenson lives less than a mile away from Castles N' Coasters. She said she and her husband take her grandchildren to the amusement park every year around Thanksgiving. Her 6-year-old granddaughter wanted to ride the log flume, and Dominick agreed to join her.

 

Stevenson said she watched in horror as Dominick began shouting when their boat approached a 30-foot drop, but the operator did not turn off the ride.

 

"He started yelling that they were sliding," she tearfully said. "He fell out of the ride, fell 30 feet and hit his head."

 

"There was blood everywhere," said Stevenson, adding her husband and a bystander jumped in the water to rescue Dominick.

 

In an interview, Castles N' Coasters General Manager Darsey Grantham said she wanted to clear up reports that the incident was caused by operator error or a ride malfunction.

 

“We at Castles N’ Coasters are devastated by this unfortunate incident, and our sincere condolences and prayers go out to this young boy and his family," Grantham said in a statement. "We want everyone who comes to Castles N’ Coasters to enjoy a safe and fun experience. ... We have an impeccable safety record, one of the best in the industry."

 

She maintained that Dominick fell because he stood up.

 

"The boy tried to get out of the boat," she said. "If he would've followed the rules, he would've been fine."

 

She added that his sister was next to him on the ride and was unharmed. A ride operator tried to intervene before the boat went over a steep drop but then Dominick panicked and fell out.

 

"We feel horrible that this happened," Grantham said.

 

Stevenson said since the incident, Castles N' Coasters management has not contacted her or the rest of the boy's family. She said Castles N' Coasters is falsely trying to blame this tragedy on her grandson, and she contacted an attorney.

 

"I want people to know what really happened there," Stevenson said.

 

Dominick's aunt set up a YouCaring crowdfunding page for his medical costs.

 

Stevenson said she hoped Dominick would be in people's prayers, and she thanked the unknown bystander who jumped in the water to help rescue her grandson.

 

"I owe him so much," she said. "My grandson would not have lived."

 

Leal lives in Casa Grande with his mother and father and attends Villago Middle School, she said.

 

The 14-ride amusement park and adjoining mini-golf course, near Interstate 17 and Dunlap Avenue, was riginally opened over 40 years ago.

 

The "Splash Down" ride Dominick was injured on featured two large drops, tunnels and waterfalls.

 

In 2005, 11 people were trapped midair for three hours on a ride at Castles N' Coasters while rescue teams worked to bring them to safety. No injuries were reported.

 

Earlier this year, two brothers, ages 4 and 12, suffered serious burns on their legs after their bumper boats at Castles N' Coasters caught fire.

635843258038193023-imagejpeg-0.jpg.47a0818556dc75a1e0af1df6add650eb.jpg

Dominick Leal, 12, poses with Santa at Castles N' Coasters 10 minutes before he fell 30 feet on a ride.

Edited by robbalvey
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"And I want people to know how dangerous those rides are. That ride has no straps. Nothing holding those kids in."

 

And if the boat were to capsize it would be the park's fault that the kid couldn't get out and drowned. I hate how stupid people really are when it comes to this type stuff. Do I feel bad for the family? Yes, but if your kid cannot follow a simple instruction, he has no business riding alone.

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It's too bad the stand up coasters in America are fading--I think certain people could still find a good use for them.

 

In all seriousness I hate seeing accidents like these happen for two reasons.

 

One, I can't imagine how the family feels after such an incident. It's heartbreaking.

 

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, every time the general public hears about any kind of "accident," they think rides are unsafe and blame the operators/amusement industry as a whole.

 

That's what leads to seatbelts on B&M hypers and people suing parks for their seatbelts coming undone and having nothing happen to them, or barbed wire and more fences surrounding certain inverted coasters.

 

I think there's a bigger issue here than the rides not having redundant safety precautions--that issue being a severe lack of common sense.

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This whole event is very sad all around. It's sad that the boy now has to inevitably suffer and go through potentially months of medical "stuff" (For lack of a better word since I'm not a doctor) and sad that the family has to watch him go through all of that. Sad that the operator(s) had to watch what happened and probably felt pretty helpless. I feel bad for the park because they'll inevitably get dragged through the mud because of this. Call it Darwinism if you must, but everyone does dumb stuff at one point or another, this was just a particularly dumb moment.

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I hate that this will probably lead to a demand for the state to regulate amusement parks. Ironically, I've never felt more unsafe than at Mount Olympus which is a state-inspected park.

 

Of course this is tragic, and my stomach is sick when I try to imagine being in that family's shoes. But blaming the park for your child's misbehavior is ridiculous. I have no doubt a full investigation will reveal that the ride was being operated safely. Hopefully the press will have the decency to cover that ruling with equal time.

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Call it Darwinism if you must, but everyone does dumb stuff at one point or another, this was just a particularly dumb moment.

There is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between doing "dumb stuff" and doing "dumb stuff that puts your life in danger and drags innocent people and companies into drama caused by your own stupidity."

 

Can you really not see the difference in this???

 

Because of the stupid actions of this kid, a company that has done nothing wrong will be victim of investigations and negative media coverage. I'm sure the ride operators, who are just innocently wanting a weekend job will also get pulled in and questioned, and there will be lawsuits going back and forth.

 

All could have been totally avoided if this kid had a shred of common sense.

 

I might have some sympathy for the kid if the family wasn't immediately trying to blame the park.

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I'm sorry, but I have a really hard time even letting myself feel sorry for someone who does something that puts their life in danger, or something that could potentially kill them.

 

My thoughts are with his family and the park who both have to deal with the consequences of someone's stupid, careless actions.

 

I feel the same way about this as I felt about the Raptor ordeal. I can't let my self feel sorry for human ignorance.

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This is just stupid. The park is not at fault. The kid needs common sense.

 

Right towards the end of the season at Dorney, some kids jumped the fence at stinger to get something, but luckily for them the ride was in the station, but had it been going, they would of been bye bye.

 

People really need to learn how to use the thing inside their head called a brain every once in a while and follow rides safety rules. Because ill be damned that if a ride says to remain seated at all times, you should remain seated at all times.

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Stevenson said she watched in horror as Dominick began shouting when their boat approached a 30-foot drop, but the operator did not turn off the ride.

"He started yelling that they were sliding," she tearfully said. "He fell out of the ride, fell 30 feet and hit his head."

 

"He was sitting down," says Leal's grandmother Carroll Stevenson. "Waving his hands. Telling them, 'I'm sliding!' And the guy sent him down anyway."

 

WTF does this even mean? Unless the kid was handicapped, why would he start yelling that they were sliding as they approached the drop? He was sitting down and yet he fell out of the log flume? Ummmm...not gonna happen on a log flume, lady.

 

Log flumes been around for over 100 years and I don't ever recall of reading about a serious injury or fatality due to someone falling out of the ride whilst in the seated position that is called out in the ride rules. The kid broke the rules by standing up & then fell out - it's that simple.

 

A sad situation indeed, but I think that Granny needs to focus on her grandson's critical condition versus pointing fingers at the park, calling lawyers, asking for online hand-outs to pay medical bills and looking for that multi-million dollar payout.

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I dont understand how people find it so difficult to follow a rule as simple as remain seated. The fact of the matter is if you can't follow simple rules such as that you shouldn't have the privilege (and yes it is a privilege) to ride.

 

All could have been totally avoided if this kid had a shred of common sense.

Plus the world would be a lot better if more people had even a shred of common sense. Ive said it before and I will say it again, people suck!

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My prayers go out to the family and the young child. I wish him a speedy recovery. They do not a have a case. The ride seems like its follows the industry standard of car and the child did not obey the explicit instructions. Reading that article made me sick to my stomach b/c it seems like the family is trying to leverage this accident so they can get money. I am sure there will be some settlement with the park insurance but really this sounds like a kid that could not follow directions.

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Yes, log flumes definitely need to be banded. Hopefully with really thick bands. Maybe rubber ones? Idk. I just know they should be banded

 

 

I have changed my stance on log flumes. I now think we should support log flumes. Yes we should support log flumes so they don't fall down.

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This is truly a tragic event, the story upset me in way's that i felt deep in my gut throughout the day that i haven't felt in a long time. I send my most heartfelt condolences to that boy and his family. That being said, from all the information we have here, it was the complete and total fault of the boy. NEVER STAND UP ON RIDES, especially don't stand up on rides that boldly say DO NOT STAND UP! They usually put in the whole, NOT FOLLOWING THESE RULES MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH! on multiple posting's as well. A 12yo should be able to read. (if not, that fall's down to poor parenting, NOT THE PARK!)

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Although I do agree that the most likely cause of the injury was the child's poor decision to stand up, I still think that given the fact he underwent brain surgery and was in a coma, it is insensitive to call him stupid. Actually, I don't think it is ever nice to call someone who makes an honest mistake stupid. I understand that his mistake may lead to investigations for rides that are undoubtedly safe, but many people do things without considering the consequences, especially people who are under the age of thirteen. I think a "traumatic brain injury" is already much too grave a consequence for a mistake made before someone is a teenager. I also agree that a child who may even consider something as dangerous as standing up on a ride should not be let in an amusement park, but I think most children are not mature enough to make that decision themselves. I hope that if I had done something reckless like this at a very young age, I wouldn't have been insulted and given a lifetime of repercussions for not knowing the danger of such an act. I apologize for the lengthy post, and although I am a small minority in this debate, I do believe that my opinion is grounded.

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^Right. I think it is going too far for someone to say that they have 'no sympathy' for the kid. Twelve-year-olds do stupid things, and a death is a death. No matter how stupid it is, I am still sad to hear that someone died.

 

However, I also know that the family is handling it poorly, and ops with no control of the situation will have their lives dragged into this because of someone's bad decision. And of course, the media will create some storm making rides in general seem unsafe.

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^ First off, nobody died in this accident.

 

Secondly, while I know it may be harsh of me to say, sorry but I have no sympathy for the kid. That log flume has operated now for 24 years without any reported incident. I'm sure a LOT of twelve year old and younger kids have been on the ride in that time. But this one decided to do something stupid and stand up on the ride.

 

The knock-on effect of this kids stupid mistake will affect many people and businesses for years in the future. And there is just no excuse for that. It's a shame the kid is going to have to learn an awfully hard lesson and such a young age, but as Darwin would say, "natural selection."

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This seems odd to me. The Grandma who lives a mile from the park takes her grandchildren there every year. The boy is 12yo and I bet has road this flume ride many times. Why the sudden need to stand up and not follow safety rules? The family immediately act as if they deserve some financial reward for their grandson's lack of common sense and blatant disobedience. Sadly our country has turned into a bunch of greedy people looking to sue anyway they can and blame everyone except themselves for their own bad choices and actions. It's past time people start pulling up their big pants and start taking responsibility for themselves. If you make a stupid decision prepare for a bad consequence.

"Common sense is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be demonstrated for, accomplished, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men and women had common sense." - Possibly spoken by a former President.

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"Common sense is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be demonstrated for, accomplished, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men and women had common sense." - Possibly spoken by a former President.

And definitely spoken by a conservative. The other side of the aisle would be falling all over themselves helping this family take down an evil capitalist Kulak wrecker while encouraging the idiots of the world to keep breeding more and bigger idiots. If a lawsuit goes through over this, society is doomed.

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"Common sense is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be demonstrated for, accomplished, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men and women had common sense." - Possibly spoken by a former President.

And definitely spoken by a conservative. The other side of the aisle would be falling all over themselves helping this family take down an evil capitalist Kulak wrecker while encouraging the idiots of the world to keep breeding more and bigger idiots. If a lawsuit goes through over this, society is doomed.

 

Wrong. I personally am a "bleeding-heart" liberal and like Robb have zero sympathy for the kid / family. Anytime rider error is involved in one of these cases, primarily rider error caused by egregious rule violation or the industry term "acting like a dumbass", it's nothing but Darwinism at its finest. The ONLY time a park should be held liable is if the park was negligent in some way (see: Mt Olympus, Alton Towers). Other than that, it's one more way to help weed out the idiots.

 

I'm sure there are people on "my side of the aisle" who would jump to help the family here, just as I'm sure there are people from YOUR side as well. Let's not generalize here. It's what helps separate us from the idiots, like the idiots who decide it's a smart idea to try and jump out of a moving log flume from 30 feet in the air.

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