CARENCRO, La. (KLFY)– A Carencro boy is back at home recovering from serious injuries after falling from a Florida roller coaster. Marcel Bonnet, 6, fell from the “Galaxy Spin” coaster at the Fun Spot amusement park in Kissimmee, Florida on Aug. 3.
Firefighters found the child with traumatic injuries on the ground 20 feet under the coaster’s track. Authorities said they spoke with park staff, who did not know what happened or how Bonnet fell. The ride is currently closed pending an investigation.
News 10 spoke with an attorney with expertise in injuries and wrongful death cases from thrill rides about the incident.
Attorney Michael Haggard represented the family of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, who died in March of 2022 after slipping out of his safety bar and falling from another Florida amusement park ride. Haggard said Bonnet nearly suffered the same, horrible death.
“Unfortunately, this is just uncannily similar,” Haggard said. “There is no reason that a 6-year-old boy should come out of a ride going that fast and at that height. That should just not happen.”
Haggard said the main issue is there is no federal agency that regulates amusement park rides in the United States.
“Right now, the average American would think, ‘Well, the Consumer Product Safety Commission probably governs these types of rides,’ and they don’t,” he added.
Haggard said the CPSC hasn’t regulated amusement park rides in decades. In fact, no federal agency has.
He adds that most of the rides aren’t made here in America, including the ride that Sampson died on and the ride that Bonnet nearly lost his life on.
“I can bet you that most families, these last few weeks of summer, they’re going different places, they’re trying to have fun before school starts,” Haggard said. “They don’t know that this ride was made overseas. They’re not told that it doesn’t have any regulations across the United States of America, and that’s something else that needs to be strongly looked at.”
Haggard also said after Sampson died, the Florida legislature passed the Tyre Sampson Act. That bill provided further regulations and inspections for rides in Florida, however it limited the Freedom of Information Act for amusement parks.
That means Florida parks don’t have to share their findings on a ride when things go wrong, like the one Bonnet fell out of.
“It’s my understanding that they tested the ride today, that they operated it, tested it, but again, we won’t know the results,” Haggard said. “I’m sure the Department of Agriculture and their investigators were there, but we should know immediately. What did you find? What happened?”
Haggard said all these things make it nearly impossible for a consumer to know if a ride is safe.
“What are you supposed to do as family, be a safety inspector? Make sure that everything has a double restraint system? Look at the serial number and find out where it was made? Was it made in Italy? Was it made in Austria? Do they have adequate insurance? That’s not a family’s responsibility,” Haggard said.
“This type of tragedy should have never occurred. I hope the family gets all the answers that they deserve and the justice they deserve here, not only for what they’ve been through but for future children,” he added.
Haggard also stressed the importance of the need for secondary restraints. An example would be including a safety bar and a seat belt. If manufacturers aren’t doing it, it’s not federally required. Haggard believes Bonnet fell out of the Kissimmee coaster last week for this exact reason.
The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal regulates the testing, inspection and operation of inflatable amusement devices, attractions and rides for the state.