44 injured as freak wave pool accident causes 'tsunami' at Chinese water park
Giant, crashing waves injured dozens at a Chinese water park on Tuesday, as a wave pool malfunction sent multiple people to the hospital with broken bones.
The incident occurred at Yulong Shuiyun Water Amusement Park in the northern city of Longjing, according to the South China Morning Post. At least five people were hospitalized with injuries, including fractured ribs.
Video shows a large number of tourists floating in the park's "tsunami pool" — many inside inner tubes — when the large wave begins. People are then heard screaming as the current tosses visitors into one another.
The water even flooded into the surrounding area, causing some bystanders to take off running.
One clip of the incident, which now has more than 12 million views on Twitter, claimed the wave was caused by a drunken operator. Park officials have denied that rumor, instead citing an "accidental breakdown in machinery."
"Online rumors say that a worker wrongly operated the controls, but in reality it was a problem with the equipment," a park employee reportedly told the Beijing Times.
Government officials later released a statement with more info.
"According to the initial stages of the investigation, the incident was caused by a power cut that damaged electronic equipment in the tsunami pool control room, which led to the waves in the tsunami pool becoming too big and injuring people," the government notice said.
The park was closed for one day following the incident, but was reopened the following day, according to the South China Morning Post.
Water park-related injuries are in no way specific to China. In 2016, the Associated Press reported that more than 4,200 Americans were sent to the hospital each year with injuries caused by public waterslides.
Two waterpark designers were even charged with murder last year after an accident in Kansas resulted in a 10-year-old's death. That incident occurred at the Schlitterbahn water park, on what was at the time considered the world's tallest water slide.