Another lawsuit looming for zip line operator at Virginia Aquarium

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Another possible lawsuit is looming for a local zip line park.

10 On Your Side first told you about a Virginia Beach family that claimed their child was hurt on the line at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach. 

Now we’re hearing of a second incident which left a child with much more serious injuries.

Connecticut-based Outdoor Venture Group, which operates the massive zip line courses at the aquarium, says the park fully complies with the most stringent industry regulations.

Others are not so sure. 

“They are not monitoring these young children. They are not wearing proper safety equipment, and in our case there was a failure of his harness equipment,” says Michael Goodove, who represents a 10-year-old Virginia Beach boy who he does not want to name, but says his harness failed in a zip line trip at the park in July 2017.

“You are looking at the bottom part of his harness. The top became detached, and was dangling from the zip line after he fell. For us, there is a clear equipment failure.”

What is clear is this was a hard fall, and the 10-year-old’s brain started bleeding, with medical expenses exceeding $24,000.

“He landed on his back and head and nobody at the time, it is our understanding, no one was monitoring the zip line station,” Goodove said.

Last week, 10 On Your Side told you about 8-year-old Coleman David Winstead, who fell 40 feet from the Virginia Beach zip line.

“I remember falling to the ground. I felt kind of dizzy, and I got knocked out,” Winstead said at his Virginia Beach home. 

“Over the years we have had as many as 80,000 climbers at the park in one year, says Anthony Wellman, the marketing and communications direction at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium. 

As for the Winstead case, “The equipment was inspected prior to and after the incident you reported, and we found no signs of defect or malfunction.” 

In all fairness to Wellman and the Adventure Park, they have not seen the latest lawsuit.   

Goodove says he will file the lawsuit next week, and claims The Adventure Park has blown off the family, hasn’t apologized, and insurance hasn’t paid one penny. 

“This is really a significant case, it predisposes him to future injuries down the road. If he were to get a concussion it would be far worse than if this was his first time,” says Goodove of his 10-year-old client. 

Wellman also wanted to point out as for the safety of the course, and equipment, “there are daily inspections, periodic inspections and third party yearly inspections.”

10 On Your Side also asked Anthony Wellman for the number of zip line falls last year. 

He emailed back, “Our operations are considered among the best in the industry and we are proud of our excellent safety record.” 

He would not provide numbers. 

Goodove is not surprised, “that is not publicly available information, so through efforts like yours that expose this, we can figure out if there are other victims. I feel these are not isolated instances,” Goodove added.

The City of Virginia Beach is not being sued, and is not liable for any injuries.  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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