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Investigation blames operator error for boy's zip line fall

Many Georgia residents enjoy going to amusement parks each year. However, thrill rides can be dangerous. For example, a new report finds that a Florida zip line operator failed to perform a safety check on a 10-year-old boy's harness before he went on the ride in September. The child plummeted 20 feet to the concrete floor below and suffered serious injuries.

According to the report, which was issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture, the boy rode the "Sky Rider" zip line ride at the Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park in Lakeland on Sept. 1. The ride is supposed to safely carry one person at a time on a tethered harness along an indoor track. However, video of the accident shows the boy flying through the air and falling 20 feet to the floor after the ride reached the end of the track.

An investigation found that the zip line operator failed to buckle the harness leg straps around the boy's thighs before the ride began, forcing the child to grip the tether with his hands to keep from falling. His strength finally gave out, and he fell. A state inspector determined that the zip line equipment was in good condition and played no role in the incident. The accident was blamed on "operator error." The boy's family claims he suffered "significant injuries" as a result of the fall, and they have filed a lawsuit in Polk County. Urban Air issued a statement saying that all its staff members have been retrained on ride safety procedures.

Amusement parks are required to provide a safe environment for all patrons who visit their property. If they fail to do so, they could face legal action in civil court. With the aid of an attorney, anyone injured in the park may decide to file a premises liability lawsuit seeking compensation for various damages, including medical expenses.

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