State inspectors investigating water ride at Kentucky Kingdom

LOUISVILLE, Ky, (WDRB) -- Kentucky Kingdom's giant splash ride known as Mile High Falls reopened Thursday. 

The ride was closed on July 28 after one of the boats became stuck against a safety rail. According to a news release, a total of 13 passengers were evacuated from the ride. Five people walked to a Health Services location inside the park for treatment. Of those, one declined to be treated, and two others were treated for "minor discomfort." 

Two other people sought treatment at an emergency room. 

Lesly Birkner, Kentucky Kingdom's chief of operations, called the incident "a confluence of several circumstances that never happened before. With the addition of an early warning system, we've added another safety feature to prevent the unlikely occurrence from ever happening again."

Officials say the incident was the first of its kind since the attraction opened in 1994.

In a statement, officials say state ride inspectors and Kentucky Kingdom's technical services team determined that a sensor which automatically shuts off the ride if the water level is too low was working correctly. 

However, due to the water loss caused by evaporation, displacement from the normal ride cycle, and carryout water (water leaving the ride with every guest), the water level was at the lower end of the sensor's target range. Combined with the weight in the boat and its backwash, the lower water level caused the boat to tilt against the safety rail on the trough edge as the ride was returning to the station. Kentucky Kingdom has made a design enhancement by adding a second sensor, which will alert the operator even before the lower water sensor alarm is triggered. This addition will act as an 'early warning system' for the ride.

Officials say Mile High Falls is one of Kentucky Kingdom's most popular attractions, and that more than six million people have experienced it since it opened in 1994. 


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