10-year-old girl badly injured after fall at Richmond Extreme Air Park

The family of a young girl is calling for trampoline park safety regulation after they say their 10-year-old fell and seriously hurt herself on a rock climbing wall.  The incident happened Wednesday, at the same Extreme Air Park where a man died in January.  Ten-year-old Chase was taking part in a summer church outing to the leisure centre’s Richmond location when she fell.

The accident left her needing surgery to install two pins for a broken left leg, along with a broken left elbow, a broken right wrist and three fractures to her face.  Global News spoke with the girl’s mother and was directed to her uncle, who was speaking on behalf of the family.  Jason Meroniuk described what he was told about the incident.

“The kids were putting on the harnesses and attaching themselves. They were guiding it in the beginning, but it sounds like they were not being supervised. They were allowed to clip themselves in and climb up the rock wall,” he said.  Meroniuk said about half an hour into their day, Chase and her best friend were about 15 feet up one of the climbing walls when something went wrong.  “She went to release, to rappel back down and either something broke, or it wasn’t clipped in properly and she fell to the floor and was hurt,” he said.  “[She] fell on to the bare floor. There was no cushions, nothing to pad her fall.”

One of the church supervisors was a nurse who rushed to help.  The 10-year-old was taken to B.C. Children’s Hospital, where she remains. It’s unclear when she will be released.  “She’s going to be a wheelchair the next two, three months because it’s such a bad break,” said Meroniuk.

The company does have a sign on the door outlining safety procedures and low rate of incidents.

In a statement to Global News, Extreme Air Park said:

“Our posted rules and warnings stipulate that climbers cannot climb until harnessed and clipped in by our trained team, and our team instructed this individual not to climb until
our team hooked her up.

“Before our team member was able to clip her in she had already chosen not to wait, clipped herself in contrary to our rules and instruction, and climbed the wall and fell from 10 feet up.

“Our first aid personal cleared the area, stabilized and attended to the individual immediately and provided proper care until EMS arrived.

“The equipment was inspected immediately after the incident and was found to be in perfect functioning condition.

“People will always put themselves at risk in any activity when they decide to break rules, not follow specified instruction, or not consider their actions. We are sorry for this individual and have attempted to reach out to the parents but our calls were not returned.”

It’s not the first incident resulting in injury at Extreme Air Park locations.  Jay Greenwood, a 46-year-old Victoria man, died at the Richmond location, going into cardiac arrest after performing “a series of acrobatic manoeuvres.” His family is now suing.

Last month, a three-year-old boy fell through the springs of a trampoline while attending a birthday party. The company says the child was playing with the Velcro.  The parents of the boy were initially told the toddler was in an unauthorized area and then were told that he was playing with the Velcro.  The boy’s mother told Global News she was never told by an employee that the parents had to jump with the children who were attending the party.  She adds she was there supervising her child but was distracted when an employee told her she needed to “buy the proper socks.”

And just last week, a four-year-old broke her leg and fractured her ankle at the Extreme Air Park in New Westminster.  In that case, the company released a video which it says shows the girl’s father to be double-jumping, which is against the park’s rules.

“I think it’s important that other kids and other parents know that these accidents are happening. That they don’t go in with the illusion that, ‘Oh, you know, I can sign a waiver, my kid is going to be fine,’” said Meroniuk.  Meroniuk isn’t alone in expressing concern. Some doctors have also raised questions about the safety of the facilities.

After Greenwood’s death earlier this year, Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer Dr. Emily Newhouse said the parks were increasingly on doctors’ radar.  “We’ve seen reports from our colleagues, both in our health authority, also around the province, that they’re seeing a significant number of injuries come out of trampoline parks,” she said.

Chase’s family is calling for the industry to be regulated, saying more needs to be done to ensure clients’ safety.