I am a lifeguard at an indoor waterpark, and something terrible happened last night.
Now, lifeguard is a loose term. Really that’s what they call everyone who works in the waterpark area, because we are also connected to a resort. During the day, I watch over the two biggest slides in the park, which are elevated three stories high by an exhausting number of stairs. At night, everyone comes down from their posts and searches the rental cabanas, tables, chairs and pools for anything left behind or damaged. Everything we find we place into a bin, and bring it to lost and found in the morning. After the general search is over, those assigned to watching the slides during the day and some of our maintenance crew are sent to check the sensors on each slide.
The sensors are just the standard red/green lights on the mouth of each slide, signalling to patrons whether or not its safe to go. Now, usually, this isn’t necessary. I guess it’s to check if they are working properly (it would be a disaster if they weren’t) or to check if something somehow got stuck in the slide after hours. Now, if something IS stuck in the slide, the red light would be blinking. So, after climbing the gigantic stairs, I check the blue slide. Its called the Typhoon, and has a giant drop right in the middle of the slide. Sensors are working, green light signalling it is ready for the morning. Right next to it is the red slide, the Rushing Rapids. This is our fastest and most intense slide, especially with its maximum capacity of six people. What immediately stood out to me was that the red light was blinking, but I couldn’t really see why. Our slides don’t have internal cameras, so it is hard to check if something is there or if it is a false alarm. I call up one of the maintenance folks working below, and he opens up the panel that controls the sensors. After a few minutes, he told me everything was working properly, so either the sensor was partially covered by a piece of the slide, or some sort of raft must have slipped off it’s track and went down the slide. It was certainly a possibility, because we turn the water off at night, and rafts have a tendency to get stuck in dry spots. But, lacking the proper equipment to check, we hung a rope across the mouth of the slide and put a small sign reading “OUT OF ORDER” on said rope. Everything else was in working order, and we all headed home until we brought more staff up in the morning to check the slide thoroughly.
I happened to be working that morning as well, so I could see what was causing the blockage. We brought in two maintenance guys and a few lifeguards, and turned on the emergency lights within the slide. The slide itself was nearly pitch black inside, with only a few dimly lit areas, but we put lights outside the slide pressed against the plastic in case something like this happens. We made sure the water was shut off, and carefully sent two of our lifeguards down the slide to see what was up. A few minutes after they began their descent, they radioed in sounding horrified.
“Get a manager down here… NOW!”
We called the waterpark supervisor up to the slide, and the rest of us went down to see what the problem was. What we found was absolutely terrifying.
It was a child. And when I say child, I don’t mean some random kid that was camping out down there, or some kid who passed out and just happened to block the sensor. It was a child, very small, merged with the slide. When we say merged, we assume they were merged, as we only saw the mangled torso and the head. The head was blocking the ride’s sensor, and the torso had multiple lacerations by the heart and towards the neck. The right sector of it’s head was crushed and bleeding, and it’s jaw was dislocated. By dislocated, I mean nearly falling off what was left of it’s head. We didn’t know who to call, or what to do. Two of our guys threw up down the slide, another passed out, and the rest of us just stood there. We immediately shut down every ride and asked our guests to kindly leave the park due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. We were all told to leave as the firefighters were about to descend down the slide, and the mess of police was insanity.
We had a security camera facing directly towards the entrance and exit of the slide, so before investigators checked the staff huddled around the monitors and we rewound the footage to the night before. Nothing. We checked the day before, and guess what, still no mystery child. We checked up to a week back, wasting hours on it. We saw a child with a similar size going down the slide on the day the sensor was blocked, but the body we found was so mangled we couldn’t match it with anyone who rid down that slide. There was no explanation as to why that happened, or even what happened, and I don’t think there ever will be. We weren’t given any further information, but most of us quit after that day. The park was a mess, and ended up getting closed for multiple weeks before it re-opened. We don’t know how it happened, and we never will. Just, do me a favor from now on.
Don’t ride the red slide.