Missouri water ride shut down after rider flung from tube

EUREKA, Mo. (AP) — A water ride at Six Flags in suburban St. Louis has been closed after a woman said she was flung from a tube and suffered whiplash.

Sondra Thornhill, of the Missouri town of Lebanon, told KMOV-TV that the accident happened Saturday on the Typhoon Twister at Hurricane Harbor in Eureka. She was taken to a hospital, where she underwent a CT scan and X-ray.

“Only my hands were on the handles. My whole body went off the raft and of course, when it went back down, my hands were still on it and it threw it me so far forward and back so fast, all I heard was my neck pop,” Thornhill said. “I thought I broke it at first then it was just a little sore and I stopped panicking. I’ll be all right.”

Six Flags said in a statement that it is investigating, but released no information on how long the ride will be closed.

“The well-being of our guests is always our priority,” the statement said. “As standard protocol, we have closed the ride while we look into the circumstances surrounding a guest coming out of their tube.”

The park hasn’t returned phone or email messages Tuesday from The Associated Press.

It wasn’t immediately clear if any state agency oversees water slide safety in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Public Safety inspects amusement park rides, but water slides do not meet that definition, spokesman Mike O’Connell said.

In neighboring Kansas, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was decapitated in August 2016 while riding the 17-story Verruckt waterslide at the Schlitterbahn water park. Two other women riding with Caleb also were injured when their raft went airborne. Two Schlitterbahn maintenance workers, the park’s co-owner and the designer of the ride have been indicted in Caleb’s death. The Verruckt never reopened and plans call for it to be demolished.

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