Article

A patron at a local amusement park was injured when he dove from an elevated board into a swimming pool and struck the pool bottom with his face. He sustained an abrasion to his forehead and lacerations to his nose and the area above his upper lip. The plaintiff’s expert claimed that the actions of the local amusement park were unreasonable and caused this injury. Robson Forensic aquatics safety expert, Maria Bella, AFOIT, CPOI, LGI, was retained to determine if the amusement park violated standards of care for aquatic facilities in a manner that caused the diver’s injury.

Case Description

A patron at a local amusement park was injured when he dove from an elevated board into a swimming pool and struck the pool bottom with his face. He sustained an abrasion to his forehead and lacerations to his nose and the area above his upper lip. The plaintiff’s expert claimed that the actions of the local amusement park were unreasonable and caused this injury. Robson Forensic aquatics safety expert, Maria Bella, AFOIT, CPOI, LGI, was retained to determine if the amusement park violated standards of care for aquatic facilities in a manner that caused the diver’s injury.

On the day of his injury, the diver performed four dives from the spring boards in the diving area. On his fourth dive, a backward one and a half with a half twist from the 3-meter board, he sustained his injuries.

The plaintiff expert opined that the Pennsylvania Public Bathing Place Manual requires specific dimensions and depths in diving areas, with which the subject amusement park did not comply, and that this was the cause of the injury.

According to the lifeguard on duty, the diver “jumped out to where the bottom of the pool starts to incline” and landed “head first somewhere on the upslope.” The injured diver had performed the same dive, a backward one and a half with a twist, at three other pools without sustaining injury. By inspecting each of these facilities, our aquatics expert demonstrated that the amusement park where the diver sustained his injuries has the greatest distance from the tip of the board to the deep edge of the upward sloping pool bottom.

Our aquatics expert opined that diver erred in his takeoff from the 3-meter board. As a diver performing a complex maneuver, he was responsible for planning a safe dive, initiating a proper takeoff from the spring board, entering the water in a safe manner, and pulling out of his dive in such a way as to avoid impacting the pool surface. By failing to conform to safe diving practices while performing the backward one and a half with a half twist, the diver’s actions caused him to impact the pool in such a way as to cause injury to himself.

 

Featured Expert

Maria Bella, AFOIT, CPOI, LGI

Maria Bella has been actively involved in the aquatics industry for over 30 years. She has managed numerous swimming facilities as well as other sporting venues. She is a frequent lecturer at industry conferences, a Lifeguard Instructor, and 1 of only 4 Aquatic Facility Operator Instructor Trainers in the United States. Bella has been conducting forensic investigations for over 5 years and has been qualified in federal and state courts. She is an avid exercise enthusiast and certified master scuba diver.