Ship Wrecked Mother Wants Changes at Roeding Park's Shipwreck Cove

July 25, 2009 12:22:43 AM PDT
Ship wreck cove at Rotary Storyland/ Playland is starting to live up to its name. Thursday a woman fell out of a paddle boat with her three-year old son and now wants the park to change its safety rules. We have learned this is the second such incident in as many weeks. Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos spoke with the mother who said her son is traumatized and park management who said they warned her of the dangers.3-year old Joey Curiel is resting now, but on Thursday he and his mother Gabriela had an unpleasant encounter at Shipwreck Cove in Roeding Park. Their paddleboat seen here in these pictures taken by Gabriela, took on water and sunk. Joey had to be rescued.

"He woke up last night crying. He woke up last night crying, say 'Help me,'' cried Curiel.

Curiel boarded this blue paddle boat with her son. She said she noticed a small amount of water inside on the floor but was told by the operator that was normal. After only a few minutes on the pond water started to enter the boat from the side.

Curiel: "The water was still rising inside the boat and was tipping over. I was screaming for help."

A nearby boater carried the child to shore. Curiel managed to slide out and wade to safety but not before the boat struck her on the arm. Now she's wearing a sling.

"We're dedicated to safety. That's our number one," said Storyland/ Playland operations director Amanda Moran.

Moran said staff advised Curiel before she set off that her weight was a concern.

"The distribution was uneven. So we had suggested that it might not be in the guest's best interest," said Moran.

Curiel said she never received that warning.

This is not the first time a paddle boat has tipped over at Rotary Storyland/ Playland. Three weeks ago a father and his nearly 400lbs son started taking in water on one of these boats but they made it safely to shore.

Moran: "I think definitely another experience like this will cause us to re-look a the whole process."

There is a weight limit on these boats. 600lbs. But a warning about weight or its distribution is not posted anywhere on this list of rules. Moran said management will consider making changes. Curiel is consulting an attorney and may take legal action.

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