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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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The First Hurricane Victim Of 2006 – A 13 Year Old Boy

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The hurricane season is not yet upon us, but a hurricane of a different sort has injured a young boy at Cypress Gardens. The parents of a 13-old boy who fell from a roller coaster ride at Cypress Gardens Adventure Park are suing the amusement theme park for negligence. On Feb. 25, 2006, Martin Llamas fell off the Triple Hurricane — a $2 million wooden roller coaster in operation since December 2004.

Among the allegations in the lawsuit, Publio Junco and Maria Cota — identified as the boy’s parents — claim Cypress Gardens failed to ensure the ride was safe, and failed to maintain and inspect the ride to prevent injury.

The lawsuit also claims the park failed to repair or correct “a dangerous condition that a reasonable inspection would have revealed.”

Cypress Gardens officials could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

Llamas remains hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa.

According to investigators, Llamas was facing the cars behind him as the ride approached a sharp right turn.

Because he was turned around, the lap bar was not secure across his legs, Polk County Sheriff’s officials said. The force of the ride propelled him over the side and out of the car.

Cypress Gardens officials said witnesses told them Llamas was standing up when he fell out. Llamas’ parents dispute this.

An inspector with the Florida State Bureau of Fair Ride Inspection concluded there was no malfunction with the ride and that the boy was properly restrained by the coaster’s lap restraint.

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How can a properly restrained rider end up falling out of an amusement ride?