U.S. Water Ride Fatalities (1972-1997)

This page documents fatalities resulting from water slides and rides at U.S. amusement parks and carnivals from 1972 through 1997. Accidents since 1997 are reported in the RideAccidents news archives.


July, 1977 - A 4-year-old boy drowned in a moat at an amusement park in Florida. A court ruled that the park was liable for damages.


Saturday, May 17, 1980 - A 13-year-old boy was killed during a ride on a water slide in Texas. He lost both of his legs during the accident and finally drowned.


Saturday, July 24, 1982 - A 15-year-old boy drowned in a wave pool at Action Park in McAfee, New Jersey.

Sunday, August 1, 1982 - In an accident at Action Park in McAfee, New Jersey, a 27-year-old man was killed after being electrocuted while on the Kayak Experience ride. Two other victims also suffered electrical shock and were hospitalized.
An investigation by the New Jersey Labor Department concluded that, although the ride's equipment was properly installed and maintained, an electrical problem existed in an underwater electrical fan system, used to simulate rapids. The current in the motor circuit of an underwater fan that churned the surface of the water had the potential to incur bodily injury under certain circumstances.
The investigation ultimately concluded that no safety laws or ride regulations were violated. A park spokesman said that the investigation had absolved the park of responsibility, claiming that there was no "proof" of mechanical failure.
The Kayak Experience was drained and closed after the incident.


Wednesday, July 13, 1983 - A 9-year-old child drowned in a wave pool in Largo, Maryland.


Sunday, July 19, 1987 - An 18-year-old man drowned in a wave pool at Action Park in McAfee, New Jersey.

Tuesday, July 28, 1987 - At an amusement park in New Jersey, a 55-year-old man sustained a fractured hip in a water slide accident. The man was thrown sideways into the pool at the end of the slide as his hip collided with the concrete spillway at the edge of the pool. He died 3 weeks after the incident from complications resulting from the accident.


1988 - A 25-five-year old man drowned in a pond at an amusement park in Louisiana.


Sunday, June 9, 1991 - Two men were killed after having been electrocuted in a pond at Kings Island amusement park in Kings Island, Ohio. They were trying to rescue another man who was in the pond. He also suffered electrical shock.


Wednesday, July 29, 1992 - In a water ride accident in Hillsborough County, Florida, a 10-year-old boy drowned.


Saturday, May 29, 1993 - An 18-year-old male drowned in an accident in El Paso, Texas.


Wednesday, June 15, 1994 - At Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old boy drowned in the park's Wildwater Kingdom wave pool.

Saturday, July 9, 1994 - In an accident in Spartansburg, South Carolina, a 6-year-old girl drowned after a fall from a bumper boat amusement ride. She landed in water, where she got caught in the ride's propeller.


Monday, June 2, 1997 - A 17-year-old girl was killed and 32 teenagers were injured when a water slide collapsed at Waterworld USA park in Concord, California. A group of high school seniors celebrating their graduation ignored a lifeguard's warning and rushed past him in an attempt to slide down the ride all together. The combined weight of the students exceeded the original design load by 4 times, and a section of the ride, a Banzai Pipeline water slide, collapsed. Some riders fell from heights of 30 feet. The students admitted that they were trying to break the school record for the largest number of students riding the slide at one time.

Thursday, July 17, 1997 - An 8-year-old boy drowned at the Runaway Rapids water park in Keansburg, New Jersey.

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