Amputee sues Busch Tampa for being denied ride last summer

Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005 9:38 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In the federal suit filed Friday, Cary Frounfelter of St. Pete Beach said a Busch Gardens Tampa employee made him dismount Montu last July because of his prosthetic right leg. He is suing the theme park under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Read more from The St. Petersburg Times.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005 9:45 AM
Jeff's avatar I suspect this guy has a case. I don't think B&M prohibits riders like him, because Cedar Point's official Raptor policy is that you're OK as long as the prosthetic won't come loose (though, incidentally, this has happened on Raptor).

I also think that the other issue with the little girl isn't even in the same category. If ride manufacturers were forced to make concessions for every possible body form, you couldn't have any rides at all. Where would you draw the line? Force a skydiving company to make parachutes that accommodate someone with no limbs (including the controls)? That unfortunately would just not be practical.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005 11:35 AM
I too think he has a case, but what really boggles my mind in this article is why on earth would the ride op NOT allow the mans daughter to get off the ride?? It makes no sense whatsoever........
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Saturday, July 23, 2005 12:12 PM
There's definitely a case here. Dealing with this should have been part of their SOP.

Oh, and technically Raptor suggests that you remove prosthetics, but allows them as long as they're secure. Although you only have to mention that someone else's has come off during the ride for people to quickly unhook theirs. A $70,000 leg isn't something one usually wants to damage for a ride on a coaster.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005 12:19 PM
I do know tht there have been several instances of prosthetic limbs coming off and hitting other riders at Busch parks. The last one that I recall was at Seaworld in Texas. The last I heard it was still in the courts.
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Saturday, July 23, 2005 3:24 PM
"Jeff, was it Raptor or Wicked Twister that happened on?" Maybe both, but I remember well that Wicked Twister had a prosthetic leg bang against the support in 2002 or 2003.
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Saturday, July 23, 2005 4:56 PM
I would think that you could be on firm ground with prohibiting someone with a prosthesis from riding, providing that you have a consistant policy based on real potential issues. A history of problems with similar devices would help to back it up.

I would also think that you would be on very shaky ground with just about any jury if you force the parent to leave the ride and don't allow the screaming child to leave.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005 6:37 PM
On an inverted ride, I think it is fair not to allow prosthetic legs, simply because of the fact that one could come off (like has happened before) and SERIOUSLY injure someone on the ground. A fake leg moving at those speeds could really mess someone up if it hit them correctly.
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Saturday, July 23, 2005 7:16 PM
rollergator's avatar You *could* disallow the leg from riding....but not the rider.

Unless, I suppose if there is no *upper thigh bone* (pelvis attachment), you COULD theoretically not be prevented from sliding UNDER the restraints? Strangely reminded of an Oblongs episode at Bob's Funland...

The timing of this suit definitely lines up with the other recent incident at BGT...but on that one the park *almost definitely* made the right call...shame that ride ops are the ones who are responsible for some of these *judgement calls*.

The op, if in doubt about the safety of the ride, should have called the supe and had the rider wait at the exit rather than allowing him to ride in a "potentially unsafe" manner. Seems like THIS particular guy (being in the prostehetic business) might have had the knowledge about the SECURITY of his prosthesis, but you SURE couldn't expect an op to decide which are allowable and which ones aren't. This distinction is CERTAINLY amplified due to Montu being an inverted coaster, where a prosthetic NOT adequately secured could easily become a missile with the capacity to injure other riders or even spectators below...

All that being said, sending the daughter off on the ride without her father, with her crying....REALLY bad move, that's gonna be *worth something*.

Bottom line....if you have a pelvis YOU should ride an invert...you prosthesis however MAY need to wait with a non-rider...
*** This post was edited by rollergator 7/23/2005 7:25:18 PM ***

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Saturday, July 23, 2005 8:43 PM
Jeff's avatar I haven't been to BGT in a couple of years, but every possible location that I can think of where a prosthetic (or frankly a shoe, keys, whatever) might likely come off would not strike anyone. Am I missing anywhere?
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Saturday, July 23, 2005 9:17 PM
I know this, my grandmother has a prothesis. Her's connects the leg with a metal rod. It CAN NOT come out unless a special button is pushed from the inside of the leg. Therefore, being able to ride shouldn't be an issue for her, if she did ride.

I don't think the ride op's were very tactful when it came to not letting the daughter off. She was scared and crying. Honestly, most op's let the kid get off. Apparently, this one had no feelings.

To answer your question Jeff, no it wouldn't. Most inversions on Montu are away from any sorts of people. The only one I can think of there is a netting above the crowd for falling objects. I can't quite remember where it is, but I def remember seeing the netting.

I think this case has merit, the guy knew what he was doing, by making these prosthesis', so a supervisor should have been called. I hate to see things like these happen, but in this world, nothing surprises me anymore.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005 9:30 PM
Jeff , in the Texas case,the prosthetic hit people on the train sitting behind the person who lost it .
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Sunday, July 24, 2005 12:27 AM
rollergator's avatar As Katie said...Montu has netting and such near the first loop/immelman combination where it goes over the walkways.

It's certainly possible that a "projectile" could get around the netting though. The second vertical loop (where there is no such netting) is adjacent to the walkway near the *far entrance*...thankfully I've only seen waits that long once or twice where they've had to use that *overflow queue*...

Unlikely that a person on the ground would be hit? Highly. Impossible? Not at all.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005 1:38 AM
I didn't think anyone else had ever seen the oblongs.
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Sunday, July 24, 2005 3:32 AM
The courts might give B&M the last word on this one. If they say that Montu is "prosthetic-safe" then Cary Frounfelther wins. If B&M says that it is not, then Busch Gardens wins.
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Sunday, July 24, 2005 11:14 AM
Jeff's avatar That's not true either. B&M doesn't own the ride. Busch can do whatever they want with it. That said, they had better have a written policy in place and experts that can explain the rationale behind it.
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Sunday, July 24, 2005 2:21 PM

Unless, I suppose if there is no *upper thigh bone* (pelvis attachment), you COULD theoretically not be prevented from sliding UNDER the restraints? Strangely reminded of an Oblongs episode at Bob's Funland...


It is unlikely that Busch would let someone ride without a leg because of the possibility of an evacuation from the lift or block brake.

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Monday, July 25, 2005 12:08 PM
The thing I find interesting (unless I am reading it all wrong) is that the article states he lost his leg in 2002 when he was a 20 year-old UF student (making him approx 23). His daughter is 10.

Do the math....*** This post was edited by redman822 7/25/2005 12:09:12 PM ***

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Monday, July 25, 2005 12:55 PM
redman882, as sad as it is, a 13 year old father isn't That uncommon....
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Monday, July 25, 2005 11:14 PM
I wonder what the possible repercussions of the injunction against banning amputee riders would be. Would this override any manufacturer's standards or safety regulations? Who's to prove that any prosthetic device won't come loose? Is it the ride op's responsiblity?

If such an injunction were in effect and some accident did happen to any rider or bystander, who's responsilbe? Would Mr. Frounfelter, his attorney, or the judge who passed the injunction accept any responsiblity? No, they would all say that they couldn't foresee such a thing happening. More than likely, the park and the ride manufacturer would again be sued by someone with a loud mouth attorney saying the park should have known better than to let this person ride.

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