Mother says daughter hurt on Elitch Gardens water park ride


Tube Top ride at Elitch Gardens

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DENVER -- A fun day at Elitch Gardens turned into a nightmare for a Highlands Ranch family.

The mother of a 12-year-old girl said her daughter suffered a concussion after hitting her head on the water ride, “Tube Top” in June.

The family was hoping to find out if the slide was ever inspected, but the girl’s mother learned the incident was never reported to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

“As soon as she got off the ride, we knew something was wrong,” Ann Walker said.

“I was really dizzy, so as soon as I started throwing up, it got worse and worse,” Lilly Palmer said.

Palmer was brought to the park’s first aid center, then put into an ambulance.

“I was scared for me because I’ve never been to a hospital,” Palmer said.

Although Palmer is doing better, her mother still has many unanswered questions.

“Are they going to shut that ride down? Are they going to investigate this?” Walker asked.

State officials confirmed the injury was never reported.

“This incident did not meet our understanding of the state's regulations for reportable injuries, therefore the park did not submit a report," Elitch Gardens spokeswoman Jolie DuBois said. "However, the state was subsequently informed of this incident by the injured party’s mother and inspected the slide the very next day and deemed the attraction safe.

"We have since spoken with the state and now have a clear understanding as to what is a reportable incident so there will be no future misunderstanding."

State officials said the daily inspection report, post-incident investigation and the on-site inspection did not find a malfunction with the ride. But the family is still uneasy about the experience.

“Just going through all of that, it wasn’t fun and I’d hate to see other kids get hurt on that ride too,” Palmer said.

Officials from the Department of Labor and Employment confirm that Elitch Gardens has since completed an official incident report.

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