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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Girls Who Lost Feet On Ride At Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Speaks Out

(Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom)

14 year old Kaitlyn Lasitter lost both feet when they were severed while she was a ride at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom last summer and she speaks with reporters about her experience.
Young Lasitter was on the Superman Tower of Power ride, in June of 2007, when the cables snapped, severing both of her feet from her body.

(Superman Tower of Power, The ride where Kaitlyn Lasitter's feet were severed after cables snapped.)

Doctors were able to reattach her right foot, but she had to have some of her left leg amputated as well as more surgeries.

Lasitter's family is suing the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom for failing to maintain their equipment and ensuring the safety of their patrons. The park has denied any liability.

At a Washington D.C. news conference Lasitter reports how this incident has changed her life, saying, "I won't be the person I was before. Because now, I'm scared of stuff. I fear for my life when I get in a car, fear for my life when I get on an elevator. ... In my mind, I'm not as carefree as a 14-year-old child should be. ... I got that taken away from me."

The girl and her family spoke Wednesday in support of a bill by U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., that would empower the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate permanent rides at amusement parks. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions opposes the bill.

Lasitter has not been able to attend school so she is being home schooled for now and she says this has affected her sleeping habits, her ability to play sports as well as time with her friends as a normal 14 year old girl and she continues to say, "I want to be a 14-year-old girl. We'll be out somewhere having fun and I'll say, 'Maybe, one day I won't go and have pain.' ... I get frequent headaches constantly, I get nauseous. ... I know eventually I'll get better and stuff, but I don't want to wait for eventually."

It has been eleven months since the life changing accident and Lasitter now has a prosthetic left foot and she walks carefully with crutches nearby.

There has been no federal oversight on amusement park rides since 1981 and there is no national database that tracks deaths and injuries from amusement park rides.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates such incidents, involving all amusement rides, based on figures from hospital visits.

The commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates that there were 18,776 injuries in 2007.

Carolyn McLean, a spokesperson for Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, said in a statement, "
our hearts go out to the Lasitters and we are working with the family to ensure that Kaitlyn is taken care of for the rest of her life. We deeply regret last year's tragedy and have improved our already-stringent safety procedures to make sure nothing like it can happen again."

This is the first time the 14 year old Lasitter has spoken publicly about her accident.