Labor Commission releases report on teen's death at waterpark

Thursday, August 11th 2005, 6:55 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A 17-year-old employee of a Ponca City water park who died last month after falling from a slide during an after-hours party was not obeying safety guidelines at the time of the accident, according to an investigative report released Wednesday.

Alan J. Bray died July 14 from head injuries after he fell more than 15 feet from a water slide onto a chain-link fence and a concrete walkway at the Sun & Fun Water Park.

An investigation by the Oklahoma Department of Labor shows Bray was standing at the top of the slide while several other people dammed up the entry pool to create a large wave of water. When the wave was released, Bray was hit by 942 pounds of water, empty inner tubes and other riders, witnesses told investigators.

Scott Arterbury, 19, told investigators he was one of four boys who dammed up the pool. He said as he was riding the wave of water down the slide, he briefly saw Bray attempting to grab on to the side of the slide.

``I could not stop because of the force of the water,'' Arterbury wrote in a statement provided to investigators.

Elizabeth Connelly, 18, told investigators Bray was standing when the water wave and other riders knocked him over the edge of the slide.

``I saw him hang on for a second and then as he started to fall he looked like he thought he could land on his feet, but as soon as he hit the ground his body immediately went limp, and he landed in the fetal position,'' Connelly wrote.

Following Bray's death, Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau ordered a review of safety standards at all Oklahoma water parks.

``It breaks your heart to review and then release a report like this,'' Reneau said. ``We can only move forward when everyone involved recommits themselves to safe procedures to keep amusement parks, including water rides, places where safety is so fundamental and ingrained that such a tragic incident never happens again.''