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Lawsuit Claims New York Man Paralysed after Riding Punga Racers at Universal’s Volcano Bay

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A New York man is suing Universal, claiming he was paralysed after going down a water slide at Universal’s Volcano Bay this summer, a lawsuit filed earlier this month claims.

47-year-old James Bowen, of Wappingers Falls, was visiting the water park on 11th July with his wife and their three daughters.

Bowen and his daughters decided to ride the Punga Racers water slide before leaving the park. The attraction has four different slides, where riders slide headfirst on their stomaches on mats, according to the lawsuit.

As the 47-year-old father reached the end of the water slide and entered the wading pool, “his face and head hit a wall of water that caused his head to snap back violently and unexpectedly”, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit claims Bowen lost sensation in his extremities as he floated face down in the wading pool water. Bowen’s wife ran over and tried to roller her husband over so he could get air.

Universal employees used a (spinal) board to move Bowen out of the wading pool until paramedics arrived, the lawsuit claims. Bowen was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he underwent a laminectomy for injuries to his spinal cord, the lawsuit claims.

The incident was also recorded in a state theme park injury report released this week. In the report, Universal said a 47-year-old man experienced “numbness” on Punga Racers.

Bowen, who has returned to New York, “can walk a short distance” after undergoing physical therapy, the lawsuit said. However, Bowen can no longer drive, tend to the yard or participate in family events that require walking or standing, the lawsuit said.

Point of view video of Punga Racers at Universal’s Volcano Bay.

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