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Remembering When: Boy’s Foot Was Crushed on E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios Florida

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According to a lawsuit filed by his mother in 2019, an 11-year-old Brazilian boy had his leg and foot crushed while he rode E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios Florida in late January 2019. 

For the record, Roberta Perez sued in Orange Circuit Court in late February. She’s seeking at least $15,000 in damages for the incident which happened on the 31st January. The lawsuit is “pending”, according to the Orange County Clerk Court Records. 

According to Orlando Sentinel (via Perez’s Orlando-based attorney Edmund Normand*), Tiago Perez’s left foot became stuck between the ride vehicle and cement offloading area at the end of the iconic attraction. 

Tiago’s foot was crushed and his shoe fell off, according to the established outlet. He broke multiple bones in his leg, foot and toes in what Normand described as a “bloody scene.” 

“Prior to this incident, [Universal] had knowledge that the design, manufacture, testing and construction, and/or operation of the E.T. Adventure ride, created an unreasonably dangerous ride resulting in injuries to guests, but [Universal] continued to market the ride as safe to the unsuspecting public,” the lawsuit stated. 

At the time, Universal declined to comment to Orlando Sentinel request. 

Tiago wasn’t doing anything wrong – “He was just being a normal kid, a normal rider,” Normand said. 

Normand said Tiago’s feet weren’t on the pedals of the bike, but naturally dangled and were inside the ride vehicle as required. At the time of this being incident reported, The Orlando-based attorney was seeking to obtain the video of what happened. 

Tiago’s family were witnesses. His mother was seated in the same row and other family members were behind Tiago, who was in the last seat in the middle row. 

Tiago, who was under the treatment of an orthopaedic surgeon in Brazil, did not return to School weeks after the incident. Normand said the Perez family worries about how the injury will affect the child as he grows up.

“It’s nonsensical,” Normand said for the injury to happen on a kid-friendly attraction like E.T., which has a height requirement of just 34 inches.

The lawsuit noted that the child, including his mother, did not speak English and could not read any warning signs . 

Records show that the Orlando Fire Department responded to an injury just before 6:00pm on the 31st January, 2019 at Universal Studios. However, the city wouldn’t provide detailed information on what happened because it was a medical call. 

Here’s what Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said in a statement on the 1st February: 

“There was an incident last night but we are confident the attraction was operating normally at the time. The ride is temporarily closed as part of our own safety and review procedures.” 

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder

One afternoon, the ride vehicle stopped momentarily as it neared the exit. A Universal Studios Florida Team Member checked to make sure that riders’ arms and legs were inside the vehicle – which the Perez’s attorneys said is a new safety check they noticed when they researched the attraction. 

Normand also suggested Universal should add netting to protect people’s feet, just like on Men in Black: Alien Attack.  

“Why not do the same methods they have on their other rides?” Normand said.

This isn’t the first time a child has been hurt on the ride. In March 2002, a 13-year-old boy injured his right foot on the ride. Universal reported the incident to the state. 

Stay tuned to Orlando Theme Park Zone for further updates.

*According to the Orange County Clerk Court Records, Edmund Normand’s Alex Couch is acting on behalf of the plaintiff. 

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