Water Park Drowning Lawsuit Filed Over Death of 3 Year Old

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By: AboutLawsuits | Published: November 19th, 2009

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Kalahari water park in Sandusky, Ohio, by the family of a three-year-old boy who drowned there this August.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo last week by the family of Hassan Itani, of Dearborn, Michigan. The child drowned in a kiddie pool at the water park on August 2, and county investigators found that the water park did not have enough life guards on duty; a problem the state has disciplined the park for in the past.

Itani was swimming in the park’s Outdoor Lagoon Pool with his six-year old brother when his mother lost sight of him from a lounge chair on the pool deck, according to reports from police, emergency personnel and the park. She went to look for him, but lifeguards from the park had already found him floating face down in the water. He was pronounced dead later that day at a nearby hospital.

The water park lawsuit says that the tragedy could have been prevented if more lifeguards had been on duty at the time of the drowning. The family also alleges that the park should have required Itani to wear a life jacket. Park officials say there were 67 life guards on duty at the 250,000 square foot amusement park, with five watching the entire outdoor area.

The facility sees more than one million guests each year, and the family claims that the park should have known that more guards were required at the Lagoon pool, which contained an estimated 50 people at the time of the drowning.

The state has cited the park for safety violations on at least four separate occasions since it opened in 2005. Just this year, Kalahari paid a $29,500 fine over a 2008 complaint that the park was operating eight water rides without enough life guards, and two of the guards the park did have on duty did not have valid certification.

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There Are 3 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. Mom was “supervising” from a lounge chair. Her kids were only 3 yrs and 6 yrs old. How about mom gets off her a$$ and into the kiddie pool with her kids?

    The family says the *park* should have required a life jacket. How about the *family* requires their kids to wear life jackets?

    This is a terrible tragedy that no parent should have to endure. I feel very sorry for all involved.

  2. The only person I can see at fault would be the mother. Why is she sitting in a lounge chair expecting other people to take care of her children? Maybe she should have brought a responsible adult with her to take care of her children.

  3. I agree. Being a mother of four children, I NEVER took my eyes off of them when we went anywhere, let alone being in a potentially dangerous place such as at a water park- anything could have happened; a pervert could have kidnapped either one of the children, drowning of course, an injury…it is the parent’s responsibility to keep their child(ren) safe, no one elses. It is unfair to pass blame on to anyone else, especially a life guard that has to watch many many children all at one time. Ultimately the blame rests on the mother or father or both-since they are playing the ‘blame game’- The park should take some responsibility as well- if the parents are saying the park should have made them wear life jackets and they didn’t – Then why didn’t the parents put a life jacket on that poor baby. The parents are guilty of everything that they are blaming the park for.

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