A highly anticipated water park opening in Dublin, California, took a frightening turn Saturday when a boy was flung from the bottom of a three-story slide before skidding across the concrete.
The 10-year-old boy managed to walk away with only some scratches after being ejected from the Emerald Plunge ride at The Wave, which is the East Bay's newest water park.
"We got him into first aid and they checked him out," said John Rodems, Dublin Director of Parks and Community Services. "He was in good spirits. He was smiling. I think he was a little stunned coming out of the transition area a little bit."
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The boy's parents then took him to the hospital to be further examined, and he was later released, said Dublin Assistant City Manager Linda Smith. Officials originally said the boy wasn't taken to a hospital.
The slide involved in the incident was shut down immediately, and park officials also closed the slide next to the one out of which the boy fell. State inspectors on site Sunday investigated both. A third slide was also closed, although park officials said it was not related to the incident.
On Monday, a team of state safety inspectors, city workers and representatives from the slide manufacturer are set to meet about what will be done to mitigate danger on the slide before it is approved to reopen.
"Hopefully by tomorrow – if not the next several days – we’ll understand what occurred, and we will work to make sure it doesn’t happen again," Smith said.
Video captured by the Bay Area News Group shows the boy accelerating down the open slide. As he reaches the flat section at the bottom of the slide, his body glides across the slide's side wall before skimming across the concrete surface below.
"I thought he was dead at first," witness Omarea Grigsby said. "He hit the ground pretty hard. You hear like a (pop)."
The slide in question could remain closed for a few days while officials investigate how the boy slipped out of it and formulate a plan to prevent such an incident from happening again.
"You know, it's safety first, everything that we do," Rodems said. "We've been testing that slide for a matter of a couple of weeks. Those slides were certified yesterday by the state of California."
Despite the accident and slide closures, the park remained busy Saturday, with more than 1,000 tickets sold, Smith said. Sunday's tallies were not yet available.
The 31,000-square-foot, $43 million facility features multiple pools, a 48-foot tall water slide tower with a total of six water slides, a splash area for youngsters and more accommodations for guests wishing to relax outside of the water.
Construction of the facility began in March 2015 at a time when California was suffering through a historic drought. Despite some grumblings about water use, park officials assured residents that the city was being "extremely water conscious" with the project.