Cause determined in East Bay waterslide accident; set to reopen

- The city of Dublin plans to reopen a steep waterslide at The Wave at Emerald Glen Park, one year after a boy was thrown from it, 90 minutes into its debut. 

State investigators determined water settings including flow, height and depth on the waterslide contributed to the accident on The Emerald Plunge, according to the final 21-page report.

The 10-year-old was hurt on opening day last May, suffering scrapes to his shoulders, back and other parts of his body. His family sued the city and the ride manufacturer, Whitewater West, claiming the company failed to do adequate testing prior to the slide opening. The Emerald Plunge has been closed ever since.

"The family believes they should make all the changes necessary to keep kids safe," attorney Waukeen McCoy said.

The family settled the lawsuit earlier this year with the city and manufacturer for an undisclosed amount of money.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health concluded in its final report that Whitewater West did not have effective development testing procedures in place for any previously built speed slides. Additionally, the company took height and weight restrictions from roller coaster requirements, without any support of physical testing or speed data. 

The report also explicitly said Whitewater West admitted to investigators that the slide was initially setup incorrectly and lacked procedures that ultimately caused the accident. Investigators determined the accident could have been prevented if the issues of water flow and setup of the waterslide were found and corrected. Specifically, too much water was flowing too quickly, which could cause riders of certain heights and weights to lift up off the slide.

Since the accident, more than $21,000 has been spent on testing, which included using crash dummies of various heights and weights. As a result of testing, proper settings were determined and the slide now has reduced water flow and the location of where water flows has been corrected so riders are not lifted out of, or thrown from the slide.

The Emerald Plunge waterslide is 177 feet long and 42.5 feet tall and set to reopen Memorial Day Weekend.

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