5 hurt in waterpark accident

Cary Ashby • Updated Mar 13, 2018 at 8:27 PM

SANDUSKY — The waterpark at Kalahari was shut down after duct work fell from the ceiling early Monday afternoon.

“The water park was active at the time,” said Erie County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jared Oliver, who was one of eight officers at the scene. “A section fell into the kids’ pool and the wave-action pool.”

Oliver estimated the duct work was three feet in diameter and eight to 10 feet long.

“It was multiple sections of duct work that fell,” Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said in a separate interview. “It’s corrugated metal.”


Kalahari issued a statement to the media.

“We are aware of the situation and take the safety and security of our guests very seriously. We are working closely with our internal teams and the proper authorities to gather details on what happened and will share an updated statement when we have confirmed all the facts,” Kalahari officials said.

Sigsworth, after talking to firefighters, said he learned that five people had minor injuries as a result of the incident. 

“Two were transported. Three were treated at the scene. All (the injuries) appeared to be minor in nature — nothing life threatening,” the sheriff added.

The victims were transported to Firelands Regional Medical Center.

“I saw at least two victims. It was crowded. There were at least two people injured from one of those ducts falling,” Oliver said. “They appeared to be minor injuries.”

The sheriff’s office received a call about the incident at 12:59 p.m. Huron firefighters received mutual aid from the Perkins Township Fire Department.

One group of visitors was leaving the park Monday just after arriving from Windsor, Canada. “We’re heading down the road (Great Wolf Lodge),” the one man said. “We already called and made  our reservations.”

A woman tweeted about the incident.

“When you & your friends all get off work, drive 1 1/2 hours to Kalahari & as you’re in line for the FIRST slide — the ceiling falls down & they close down for the day,” she said in her post.

The timetable to reopen the water park was unknown at press time. Sigsworth said engineers and the Huron Township zoning inspector had been at Kalahari, which had contacted the amusement ride safety division of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Once repairs have been made, the sheriff said the Ohio Department of Agriculture will make a full inspection before the water park is reopened.

Since three detectives were at the scene, Oliver was asked if there was any investigation to be done.

“That’s up to the Department of Agriculture,” the chief deputy said.

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