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‘Tornado’ ride closed after near drowning at Kings Dominion

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DOSWELL, Va. – A water ride is temporarily closed at Kings Dominion amusement park in Doswell after a guest was injured on July 4.

Christina Orebaugh was visiting the park with her husband Steve on Tuesday. Her husband said they were riding on the Tornado water ride when their craft flipped over. His wife hit her head and he said that she “almost drowned” because she was unconscious.

The "Tornado" ride at Kings Dominion's Soak City.

The "Tornado" ride at Kings Dominion's Soak City.

She was transported to VCU Medical Center and admitted for overnight observation. Mr. Orebaugh said that his wife remains in a lot of pain.

Mrs. Oregbaugh was unconscious after hitting her head, her husband said and has been diagnosed with a concussion, broken toe, fractured shoulder, broken collarbone, and several staples in her head. The family is still waiting for other tests.

Christina Orebaugh was transported to VCU Medical after an injury at Kings Dominion. Photo used with permission by family.

Kings Dominion released the following statement:

On Tuesday July 4, around 2:00 pm, we received a report of a guest injury on the Tornado, a ride in the Soak City water park. Lifeguards who were at their posted positions in the water at the ride, as well as park medical staff, immediately responded. The guest was transported to the hospital.  The safety of our guests and staff is always our number one priority and the ride remains closed at this time while park officials conduct an investigation.

Mr. Orebaugh said he understands that accidents can happen, but felt the park lifeguards and first aid were not responsive enough as he held her head out of the water and yelled for help.

Other family members were at the park and had already gone through the ride. They waited in the pool area to watch the Orebaughs and witnessed her flip off the tube. They said they jumped into action to help.

Christina and Steve Orebaugh

Christina and Steve Orebaugh

Kings Dominion officials said they had three people positioned around the ride; one in the pool area, one roaming and one in a chair watching. They emphasized the lifeguards immediately responded.

"Based on my experience I think it is an unsafe ride," Orebaugh said. "Because if it happened to my wife, it could happen to a 12-year-old boy or girl."

The ride has been closed as part of an operational protocol while the incident is under investigation.

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