Major Theme Park Operator Facing Lawsuit After Tragic Incident

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windseeker at carowinds

Credit: Carowinds

An inspector has decided to file a lawsuit against Cedar Fair Entertainment Company after having his hand severed while inspecting the attraction Windseeker at Carowinds in 2019. Cedar Fair is the parent company and operator of the Charlotte theme Park.

Carowinds park
Credit: Cedar Fair

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According to the lawsuit filed in York County last month, Michael Kalos lost his right hand while inspecting the wire rope on Windseeker, a 301-foot-tall swing.

As reported by Queen City News, the lawsuit alleges that the Cedar Fair employees that typically accompanied Kalos during the inspection were not available on that day. Two others were tasked with controlling the wire rope movement during the inspection process.

As part of the procedure, a tactile inspection was required, in which Kalos was needed to feel the rope moving through his hand at a controlled speed. The lawsuit claims that the employees operating the attraction that day used a different speed, which caused Kalos’ right hand to be pulled into a pulley, amputating it.

screamweaver at carowind park
Credit: Carowinds

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According to witnesses, Kalos remained suspended for more than five minutes, screaming for help with his hand stuck in a rag. Emergency workers from Charlotte and York county managed to lower him and immediately transported him to a hospital.

Following the incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the theme park $42,000. A report from the agency states six serious violations had been found, though details on such violations were not disclosed. A spokesperson for the park later released a statement, saying, “at Carowinds nothing is more important than safety,  as it is at the core of everything we do. We take these citations seriously and are responding accordingly to OSHA.”

Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds
Credit: Carowinds

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The lawsuit claims Kalos’ severed “due and proximately caused by the negligent and reckless conduct” of the theme park, including not following proper safety procedures and not properly training the employees assisting with the inspection.

The lawsuit said the loss of his hand has “severely and permanently caused pain, suffering, mental anguish and the loss of enjoyment of life.” It also said Kalos’ has lost income, and the injury has severely damaged his earning capacity.

The inspector’s lawyers are asking Cedar Fair to pay for actual damaged and punitive damages, the cost of the lawsuit, and any “further relief the Court may deem just and proper.”

windseeker at carowinds
Credit: Carowinds

Carowinds’ official website describes the attraction involved as follows:

Take the High Road to Adventure!

In 1903, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina became symbolic to the Carolinas as the site of the “first flight.” Now, more than 100 years later, Carowinds is giving guests the opportunity to experience what the Wright Brothers pioneered; the sense of soaring through the air!

WindSeeker is the second tallest ride at Carowinds, only behind Fury 325. The three-minute ride begins when the ride’s carriage slowly rotates while climbing to the top of the 301-foot tower. Riders will experience a sense of weightlessness as the swings reach speeds up to 30 mph, and the arms extend outward at a 45-degree angle, promising to give riders an astonishing panoramic view of the park and the greater Charlotte region.

The fun really lights up when the sun goes down! WindSeeker features an elaborate LED lighting system. Aside from the LED spotlights that are located at the top and bottom of the tower, the carriage is equipped with LED lightings which run from the tower down each of the ride’s steel arms. At night, as the ride ascends to the top of the tower, the light display will come to life with a kaleidoscope of colorful patterns and shapes.

Credit: Carowinds

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