MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WDTN) – A state investigation found that a Butler County waterpark where a teenager died two weeks ago was operating an attraction without a license.
According to our partners at WLWT, the Department of Agriculture said Land of Illusion was operating a ground inflatable without a license. The information comes after 14-year-old Mykiara Jones died after being pulled from the water at the waterpark on July 20. However, the equipment in question did not play a role in Jones’ death.
A spokesperson for ODA said the department inspected the ground rides on July 16, and on that day, Land of Illusion did not have proper documentation for one of the inflatables, therefore the park didn’t receive a license for that ride. ODA said it received a complaint that the ride was operating anyway and found that was the case.
ODA issued Land of Illusion a notice of opportunity for a hearing. If the park doesn’t request an administrative hearing within 30 days, it will have to pay a $500 fine.
Land of Illusion spokesperson Michael McKnight issued the following statement Tuesday:
“Land of Illusion has fully complied with all Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) directives following recent inspections citing additional documentation needs for an inflatable slide and two brand new pieces of equipment. The inflatable slide in question – as well as the other new attractions – has not been operated or available to guests following the ODA inspection. Land of Illusion will respond to ODA to refute the misinformation. We also are actively working with product manufacturers to secure the necessary paperwork for submission to ODA.”
The investigation is completely separate from the suspected drowning that is being investigated by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. ODA does not regulate any inflatables that are on water, a loophole that has been brought to light since the teenager’s death.
“The bottom line here is, there are, under Ohio law, certain amusements that are not susceptible of being licensed for safety,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
“We have to realize that not everything in modern life is safe and these sorts of water amusements are among those things that are just not regulated, and you’re literally using them at your own risk,” Yost said. “Here’s my tip, if they ask you to sign a waiver, that should be a clue that there is something there.”