Part of Kalahari Resorts water park open after 5 people hurt when air duct falls

Part of Kalahari Resorts water park open after 5 people hurt when air duct falls
(Source: Twitter)
(Source: Twitter)
(Source: Twitter - Johnathon McCandlish)
(Source: Twitter - Johnathon McCandlish)
(Source: Twitter - Johnathon McCandlish)
(Source: Twitter - Johnathon McCandlish)
(Source: Twitter - Johnathon McCandlish)
(Source: Twitter - Johnathon McCandlish)

SANDUSKY, OH (WTOL) - An air duct in the water park at Kalahari Resorts fell on people in the area Monday afternoon.

The Huron Fire Department in Erie County were on scene of what they first eluded to as an incident around 1 p.m. Monday.

Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth provided an update around 4 p.m. Monday.

Sheriff Sigsworth says a large three foot diameter piece of air ventilation duct came lose and fell into the wave pool and adjacent pool for children with basketball hoops.

Five people were injured, two were taken to the hospital and three refused treatment. Sheriff Sigsworth says they are all minor injuries.

The 911 call from Kalahari Monday:

"Do we know if anyone is injured," the dispatcher asked.

Huron Township Zoning Inspector and a representative from The Ohio Department of Agriculture Amusement Division are inspecting the site.

Sheriff Sigsworth said Monday that the water park would remain closed until given clearance to operate from the Department of Agriculture.

State and county inspectors are continuing to look into the incident Tuesday.

The water park announced that they will be partially open on Tuesday. Kalahari began taking reservations at 7 a.m.

Guests say the hotel, however, is claimed to be open and operating. One guest even said that the hotel is letting him stay there for free Monday night.

One guest mentioned that there were no crews performing maintenance or apparent work on the air ducts, it just seemed to fall at the seams.

Those who watched the whole event unfold were at first terrified, but in the end relieved no one was seriously injured in this freak accident. They say they could not believe what they were seeing.

"I heard some people screaming and then we looked up and it was just, kind of, the beams had broken off and were falling into the pool," Alana White, that was in the wave pool with her son, explained. "And it looked like, to me, it seemed like slow motion because it doesn't seem real when it's happening. So, I just yelled at my son 'get out,' and I just pushed him out of the way and we just swam out."

"You saw people running around, looking for their kids, crying," Jonathon McCandlish who saw the air duct fall said. "It was crazy."

"Everyone started screaming, kind of, and running down from the slides to make sure everything was okay," Nicole Seff, who saw the duct fall, described. "No one really knew what had happened. It was such a shock. People go here all the time, it's such a main attraction, you would never expect a huge air duct to fall from the ceiling."

"And then we saw life guards standing to the side and when I looked over, um, to see what happened to her, she was crouched down and holding her head," White said. "A man had rushed over to see to her, and another couple of guys were holding up the other part of beam so it wouldn't fall on her. She seemed okay but she was holding her head like a part had hit her head."

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, that is responsible for inspecting Kalahari, says they do not inspect or have any oversight of HVAC systems as part of their regulations. They say Kalahari has shut down their pools and once they make contact with them with the intention to reopen, ODA will inspect the aquatic rides for any ancillary issues.

Samantha Flynn, Public Relations Managing Supervisor for Jacobson Rost that handles all Kalahari events and issues, provided the following statement:

We are aware of the situation and take the safety and security of our guests very seriously. We are working closely with our internal teams and the proper authorities to gather details on what happened and will share an updated statement when we have confirmed all the facts.

"We were just standing there figuring out what we were going to do for the rest of the day and then all of the sudden it fell," Amiee Dale who was at the resort for the first time with her family described. "And luckily I had all three of my children. But it was just chaotic because I couldn't imagine not having all three of my children next to me. So yeah, it was really really scary."

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