Every year, tens of millions of people visit theme parks and water parks around the world, or at least, they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. And the overwhelming majority of those travelers have a great time and then come home no worse for wear, except for possibly being sunburned, exhausted, and perhaps a bit lighter in the wallet. However, accidents can and do happen at theme parks, and they can be fatal. In most cases, those fatalities can partially be blamed on the rider not following safety instructions, but in some cases, the guest was simply the victim of a problem they had no control over. For example, in 2016 a young boy suffered fatal injuries, through no fault of his own, on a water slide at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kansas, as People reported.
However, the Kansas City incident was not the worst fatal accident at a water park. In 2017, five people died and two were injured due to an electrical malfunction in a pool, and it appears their deaths could have been prevented.
Five people were electrocuted in the pool in a Turkish water park
As the Associated Press reported in June 2017, tragedy struck an unidentified water park in Akyazi, Turkey, about 90 miles east of Istanbul. Three children, aged 12, 15, and 17, died when an electrical current flowed through the water in a pool, killing them. The park’s owner, 58, and his 30-year-old son jumped into the water to try to help the guests, and they, too, were killed. Though they were taken to a hospital, their hearts had already stopped by the time they arrived, and it was too late. Further, two other people were injured from touching metal railings near the pool, according to Deutsche Welle.
Authorities at the time were unclear what caused the electrical malfunction, but noted that the park lacked a piece of equipment — a residual circuit breaker — that would have cut off the electricity.
According to the Law Offices of Jeffrey H. Feldman, swimming pool electrocution happens surprisingly often in the United States, with 33 people dying and an equal number being injured between 2002 and 2018. Similarly, a teenager died from swimming pool electrocution at a Texas hotel in 2020.
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