Family suing operator of zipline at Virginia Aquarium


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach family is suing the operator of a popular zipline at the Virginia Aquarium after their son fell about 40 feet.

The Adventure Park at Virginia Beach is owned and operated by Outdoor Venture Group based in Connecticut, which operates Adventure Parks across the country.

The City of Virginia Beach is not a defendant in the case, but owns the land the zipline is on. The Virginia Beach Aquarium refused to allow a WAVY-TV camera on property to get video of the area where the 8-year-old fell.

They blame equipment failure and negligence in the safe operation of the zipline.   

Coleman David Winstead, who was on a trip to the park with a camp he was attending, fell suddenly.

“I remember falling to the ground. I felt kind of dizzy and I got knocked out.”

His parents argue he and the other children were not properly supervised.

“We came to find out he was on a course for 12 and up and there was no one there supervising, or telling him he should not be on that course,” says Coleman David’s mother, Sarah Winstead.

“I felt really scared when my zipline got stuck in the middle of the zipline,” says Coleman David.

The suit alleges he got stuck in the middle because he didn’t have enough weight to make it to the platform. He was told by a zipline worker to pull himself up, and when he tried, he fell.

“I was going too fast. I didn’t know what was happening … when I fell I got a thorn that kind of cut through my lip, and then I had to go to CHKD.”

The lawsuit alleges Outdoor Venture Group was negligent.

“You and each of you, negligently supervised the adventure park … allowing … a child … to use a zipline in an area designed for older children and adult supervision without the necessary supervision by the defendants.”

Attorney Billy Breit represents the Winstead family.

“The carabiner opened up, the rope came out, and it failed and it should not have done that and these safety lines should have caught him.” 

A carabiner is a metal loop with a spring loaded gate. Breit argues it wasn’t properly attached to the rope and vest, and it came open and Winstead fell.

The suit that seeks $300,000 alleges the zipline operator provided “an unsafe and defective zip line …unsafe and defective safety vest … Unsafe and defective carabiner,”  Breit adds.

The Winsteads says they came forward because, “we feel a moral obligation to let the public know this is happening, and as a mom I would want to know this information,” Sarah said.

We have been told about another lawsuit that could be filed shortly, for another child that fell from the zipline, and that child’s injuries apparently were more severe.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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