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Water Park Fails Safety Inspection

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This Wednesday the slides finally passed inspection and reopened. This Wednesday the slides finally passed inspection and reopened.
Park manager Amber Beck would not comment when asked about the failed December inspection. Park manager Amber Beck would not comment when asked about the failed December inspection.
The state officials say Big Splash knowingly put people's lives in danger. The state officials say Big Splash knowingly put people's lives in danger.

Thousands have already ridden the flumes at Big Splash this summer, but the state says some slides should have never opened. Inspectors say the park's owners ignored a failed safety inspection and continued operating a slide deemed to be dangerous.

News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports she uncovered an inspection report from last December, ordering the ride be shut down for repairs.          

The state officials say Big Splash knowingly put people's lives in danger.

On June 8th of last year, the Master Blaster slide at Big Splash collapsed, sending an 11-year-old girl into a safety net below. The accident prompted new state inspections of water parks. And at that time Big Splash's owner, Loretta Murphy, vowed to comply with inspections to look out for her customers' safety.

"We want to find the cause, and get to the bottom of it, and make sure it does not happen at big splash again," said Murphy in June 2007.

So why then, if the park's owner was concerned about people's safety, did she ignore an official state order to replace rotten structural beams on the flumes, some of the park's tallest slides?

In the state document, dated December 5th of 2007, inspectors ordered Big Splash owners to make several structural repairs by the park's 2008 season, but the Oklahoma Labor Commissioner says that's not what happened.

"When we come back in June to inspect it those beams hadn't been fixed but they were operating it," said Lloyd Fields of the Oklahoma Labor Commissioner.

He says the slides were never repaired so the state shut them down immediately.

"After we've told you to do something and you continue to do it, that's something that we take pretty serious," said Fields.

This Wednesday the slides finally passed inspection and reopened, but when the park's manager was asked why they had been shut down in the first place, she told a different story.

"After the storm we had here in midtown they were closed and so we've had some repairs done, some beams replaced, some platforms replaced and everything is better than new," said Big Splash manager Amber Beck.

Beck would not comment when asked about the failed December inspection.

That is simply unacceptable to one mother. She has season passes and says she trusted Big Splash to keep her kids safe.

"That concerns me big time, big time. And I think somebody needs to give us some answers about that," said Goldie Thompson.  

The Labor Commissioner says he wants to be able to fine parks like Big Splash when they don't comply with state inspection orders. Right now, he says, all he can do is slap them on the wrist.

The News On 6 went back to Big Splash with a copy of the failed inspection on Thursday and finally the manager admitted they knew about the damaged beams back in December, but she wouldn't comment any further.

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