An 11-year-old Brazilian boy on vacation at Universal Orlando had his foot and leg crushed while riding the E.T. attraction at Universal Studios Florida in late January and since then, the family has taken Universal to court.
According to Orlando Sentinel, Roberta Perez, mother to the Tiago Perez (the boy involved in the incident), sued Universal in Orange Circuit Court in late February seeking at least $15,000 in damages for the Jan. 31 incident.
Edmund Normand, the Orlando-based lawyer for Tiago Perez, stated that it appeared that Perez’s left foot became stuck between the ride vehicle and a cement offloading area at the end of the ride.
In the incident, Tiago’s foot was crushed, breaking multiple bones in his toes, foot and leg in what Normand described as a bloody scene.
According to Normand, Tiago wasn’t doing anything wrong while riding the attraction –“He was just being a normal kid, a normal rider.”
Tiago’s feet weren’t on the pedals of the bike, but naturally dangled and were inside the vehicle as requested, said Normand, who is seeking to obtain video of what happened.
Orlando Sentinel reports that Tiago’s family were witnesses, his mother sat in the same row and other family members were behind the boy, who was in the last seat in the middle row.
Tiago is now under the treatment of an orthopedic surgeon in Brazil and has not returned to school since the accident weeks ago. The boy, who played on a soccer team in Brazil, must keep his foot elevated.
Normand says the family is worried the injury will affect how Tiago grows up. “It’s nonsensical,” Normand said for the injury to have occurred on a kid-friendly attraction like E.T., which has a height requirement of just 34 inches.
Normand says the lawsuit also notes that Tiago, as well as his mother, did not speak English and could not read any warning signs.
Orlando Sentinel reports that records show the Orlando Fire Department responded to an injury just before 6 p.m. on January 31 at Universal Studios, but the city would not provide detailed information on what happened because it was a medical call.
“There was an incident last night — but we are confident the attraction was operating normally at the time. The ride is temporarily closed as part of our own safety and review procedures,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said in a statement on Feb. 1.
Normand has said they’ve noticed a new safety check on the ride as recently as Monday, where the ride now pauses momentarily as it nears its exit so a Universal employee can check to make sure riders’ arms and legs are inside the vehicle. Normand claims this is new since they originally began researching the attraction.
Normand has also suggested Universal should add netting to protect people’s feet, as it does on Men in Black: Alien Attack. “Why not do the same methods they have on their other rides?” Normand said.