Boy suffered broken bones, brain injury after falling from zip line, mother says

Kimberly Barnes told reporters Tuesday she still can't believe this happened to her son. 

The Lakeland woman is suing an amusement park after her 10-year-old son fell 20 feet from a zip line.

"I'm angry. I'm angry that he had to go through this. It's not fair," Barnes said.

Her son was celebrating a friend's birthday at Urban Air Adventure Park Sept. 1. Surveillance cameras recorded what was supposed to be a fun zip line ride around a track. But as the child turned a corner, the video shows he slipped out of the harness and fell to the concrete floor.

"Seeing it and knowing it was my little boy, it killed me," Barnes said. "When I saw the severity of the entire fall, it was, like, reliving it all over again. I didn't realize how bad it was, at first, and then when I saw that, it was like a punch in the gut."

According to a lawsuit filed bay Barnes' family, the boy should have been harnessed, then checked and double-checked by three separate employees before being let loose. 

Instead, the suit says, "The boy was allowed to leave the start platform without his harness properly attached and without his leg straps secured."

"Somebody didn't do their job," said Steven Capriati, the family's attorney. "It is our belief that an error like this, a failure like this, doesn't happen without inadequate training."

The suit also says Urban Air was negligent because there was no safety netting or padding under the zip line.

"We allege in the complaint there was a design error," said Capriati. "There could have been more done in terms of the implementation of safety measures that could have at least reduced the risk."

At first, all Barnes knew was that her son was involved in a trauma situation. She and her attorney said the child suffered broken bones, a collapsed lung, and a brain injury.

"That's when I completely lost it, just utterly lost it," she said, adding her son is now going through a lengthy recovery process. "Everyday is a struggle for normalcy for him."

Urban Air Adventure Park released a statement saying:

"Urban Air is fully committed to the uncompromising safety and well-being of our guests and employees. As a family-owned and operated company, safety is at the heart of everything we do. We take matters of this nature very seriously and can assure that appropriate measures have been taken. All staff members have been retrained on all attractions and the employee in question is no longer with us. We are thankful to hear that the child is back in school and we will continue to keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers through his full recovery."

Capriati says he hopes his client's story results in tighter regulations for parks and attractions.

The Florida Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection, under the Department of Agriculture, is investigating the fall.