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Universal Orlando Changes Popular Ride After Recent Incidents

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on September 20, 2011

Universal Orlando has changed some features of a popular Harry Potter-themed ride at their amusement park after two recent incidents in which guests were injured. Both accidents involved guests being struck by loose objects, one of which resulted in the guest losing an eye due to injury. The ride undergoing modifications is the Dragon Challenge attraction at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This ride features two intertwined, suspended-seating roller coasters that are designed to pass within a few feet of each other. Universal has changed the ride so that they no longer pass so closely, reducing the near misses that have been part of the experience from the time the ride debuted. Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham has been following developments in this and other recent amusement park accidents closely.

He believes that theme park operators and thrill ride designers need to do a better job to ensure that their rides are safe before exposing the public to potential injury.

“As we continue to study these incidents, we will operate both coasters as separate experiences without their usual intersection points,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said.

He also said that theme park inspectors have performed a “thorough review” of the Dragon Challenge ride and they “believe the ride itself did not play a role in these incidents.”

Schroder added that, “We are not going to speculate on what caused these incidents. We will continue our long-standing policy of advising guests to safely secure personal items before riding.”

The first incident involving the ride occurred on July 31 when a 52-year-old Puerto Rican man was struck in his right eye while sitting in the front seat of one of the roller coasters. The man has lost all vision in that eye, and surgeons had to remove the eye recently to prevent further risk of infection.

The second incident occurred in mid-August when a 19-year-old Ohio man was struck on his face, foot and arm by unidentified objects while riding on the roller coaster.

“My sister was sitting next to me at the time, and, when I said I was hit, she thought it was a bug or something, but then she looked over and I had blood on my hands, so it was obviously something more,” the victim told reporters.

Millions of visitors come to our area each year, and Orlando-area amusement parks are a big part of the attraction. The theme park business is very competitive, and theme parks constantly try to out-do each other for rides that go the fastest, have the steepest drops and provide the greatest thrills. Unfortunately for some visitors, rides that are designed to appear dangerous actually become dangerous through negligent design, poor maintenance and other factors. People injured in theme park accidents need an experienced Orlando amusement park accident attorney to help them through this difficult time and explain their legal options. To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer with a proven record of success in these matters, call 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000 today.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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