FORT MILL, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – An inspector whose hand was severed while inspecting the ride “Windseeker” at Carowinds in 2019 has sued Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, the parent company of the amusement park in Fort Mill.
According to a lawsuit filed in York County court last month, Michael Kalos lost his right hand while inspecting the wire rope on the Windseeker, a 301-foot-tall swing, on March 6, 2019.
The lawsuit alleges that the Cedar Fair employees that typically accompanied Kalos during the inspection were not available on that day. Two others were tasked with controlling the wire rope movement during the inspection process.
As part of the inspection, the inspector uses a gloved hand to do a “tactile inspection of the wire rope” as it moves through their hand while employees control the speed of the rope.
The lawsuit claims the employees operated the wire rope at a speed that caused Kalos’ hands to be pulled into a pulley which amputated his right hand.
A witness working inside Carowinds at the time told Queen City News in 2019 that he heard screaming and looked up.
“He said ‘my hand’s cut off. It’s bleeding everywhere. I’m scared. I need help real bad!’”
The worker told Queen City News that the inspector was alone at the top of the ride and was trapped for more than five minutes with his hand stuck in a rag.
Emergency workers lowered him to the ground and he was taken to the hospital.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the theme park $42,000 in November 2019 after the agency said it found six serious violations. The report did not detail what those violations were.
Following the OSHA fines, a park spokesperson said “at Carowinds nothing is more important than safety, as it is at the core of everything we do. We take these citations seriously and are responding accordingly to OSHA.”
The lawsuit claims Kalos’ was severed “due and proximately caused by the negligent and reckless conduct” of the theme park, including not following proper lock-out tag-out procedures and not properly training the employees assisting with the inspection.
The lawsuit said the loss of his hand has “severely and permanently caused pain, suffering, mental anguish and the loss of enjoyment of life.” It also said Kalos’ has lost income and the injury has severely damaged his earning capacity.
The inspector’s lawyers are asking Cedar Fair to pay for actual damaged and punitive damages, along with the cost of the lawsuit and any “further relief the Court may deem just and proper.”