If you’re already horrified, take a moment to mentally prepare for the last segment of this entry, because New Jersey’s notorious Action Park is famous for its widely reported accidents.
Editor’s note: While Action Park has returned for the 2014 season, the new park is owned and operated by different management. It is unaffiliated with the park discussed in this article. When this article was written Action Park did not exist. All past and future references to Action Park refer to the now-defunct original incarnation of the park.
Action Park opened its gates in Vernon, New Jersey in 1978. We’ll admit that safety regulation across all industries, including the amusement park industry, were more relaxed 36 years ago than they are today — but even by the standards of the time, Action Park was a safety disaster. Today, the defunct park is half-jokingly remembered as “Accident Park,” “Traction Park,” and “Class Action Park.”
Why all the sordid nicknames?
1980 marked the beginning of a long downhill spiral for Action Park. Just two years after the park’s grand opening, a 19-year-old employee was killed on the Alpine Slide ride when the car he was riding in jumped up from the track, causing the young man to fatally strike his head on a rock above.
In July of 1982, a 15-year-0ld boy drowned in the water park section of Action Park while swimming in the Tidal Wave Pool. Within less than a week, another death occurred at “Waterworld,” this time on the Kayak Experience. When the patron’s kayak tipped, he exited the boat to right himself… and in doing so, unknowingly stepped on a patch of exposed live wiring, causing a fatal heart attack.
Park officials described the damage as “just a nick” in the wiring.
Two years later, in 1984, a third visitor was killed at Waterworld in another swimming pool accident. In this instance, a patron on the Tarzan Swing ride fell from water as warm as 80 degrees into water as cold as 50 degrees. The sudden and massive change in temperature led to a fatal heart attack, as in the case of the exposed wiring two years earlier. Later the same year, a 20-year-old visitor from New York drowned in the Tidal Wave Pool, in an eerie repeat of the incident in 1982. Astonishingly, in 1987 yet another life was claimed by drowning in the Tidal Wave Pool.
In addition to negligent maintenance on the rides themselves, the park also suffered from a climate of lax supervision. Alcohol was readily available for purchase, and many accounts recall drunk, underaged, or inattentive ride operators who barely paid attention to the lives they were partially responsible for protecting.
As the deaths and injuries piled atop one another, Action Park was repeatedly bombarded by personal injury lawsuits and permanent ride closures until it finally shut its doors forever in 1996. But even today, “Class Action Park’s” grizzly reputation endures.
If you or someone you love was injured on an amusement park ride, you may have a case for a premises liability lawsuit. For a free and confidential case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney, call the law offices of The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 791-8939, or contact us online.
According to reifflawfirm