Student, 19 Whose Legs Were Crushed on Log Flume Ride Receives $26,000 Compensation

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
April 13, 2019 Updated: April 13, 2019

A student in the United Kingdom who suffered from five years of pain after her legs were crushed on a Long Flume Ride by the weight of her own family received $26,000 (£20,000) as compensation.

Leah Napolitano, 19 from the town of Colchester near London, was on a family holiday at the Thorpe Park and was 14 at the time, reported the Daily Mail.

She was at the front end of the carriage when her legs got trapped under the metal bar and the weight of her entire family fell on her legs in April 2014.

“My legs were completely trapped. I couldn’t move them for the whole way round. I got to the end and couldn’t get out,” she told the Daily Mail.

“The boat was still moving and a staff member tried to yank me out. I was completely trapped under the metal bar at the front,” said Napolitano.

The teen had excitedly jumped on the front seat of the ride and was in pain from the very beginning. Her mother Sharon, 45, sister, Jodie, 22, Jodie’s boyfriend Jordan Hilliard, 23, and her school friend, Mia Smith, 19, were all “crammed” in behind her.

She had no time to speak up before the ride started while her knees were being painfully crushed underneath a bar.

“I was sat at the front and my mum was sat directly behind me. I sat down and stretched my legs out and they felt really squashed. It was really painful and it made me teary. I remember being scared for my safety. The best way to describe it was I was wedged under the bar,” she said.

Her mother had to raise her voice to get the operator to stop the ride.

“I was in a lot of pain and went straight to the toilet. I pulled my jeans down and my knee looked grazed. It had already become swollen just above my knee cap. It was already double the size it was before,” she said.

Napolitano didn’t go to the hospital immediately and thought the swelling would disappear on its own. She consulted a doctor only when it became worse after a few days.

The pain and swelling only intensified further and walking became difficult. It was no longer possible to wear jeans and she had to spend the rest of her school year at home.

Napolitano had to attend many physiotherapy sessions to desensitize herself to the pain. Her condition was diagnosed as “hypersensitive knee with deconditioning” and her legs and knees never looked the same again. She still experiences sharp pain and burning sensations.

“The pain is life changing. It’s a stupid injury that has ruined my teenage years. It has left me absolutely devastated and still affects my life now,” she said.

Napolitano was playing competitive football in school at the time, but couldn’t return back to the field. She couldn’t do all that she wanted to do as a teen and suffered from chronic anxiety, PTSD and depression.

“I was such a happy kid at school and I loved being active. I used to play sport four or five times a week. I have lost all of my sporting ability. It was my world.

“I gained weight and lost a lot of confidence. I begged my mum not to take me to school because I hated how I looked,” she said.

Napolitano said she didn’t want to leave the house and ended up not having a social life. “It has been awful for me. I have no idea if it will ever get better,” she said.

She said her nerves are exceptionally damaged and now suffers from life-long trauma because of being crushed.

The family complained to the Thorpe park two weeks after the incident and had to deal with the park’s legal team. Napolitano declined the park’s first offer of $16,350 (£12,500) but accepted when they came back with $26,000 (£20,000).

“My doctor said I may never get back to normal. The pain has been hideous since day one. It’s there 24/7. I never expected it to impact on my life like it has. I’m scared of public transport now out of fear of entrapment,” she said.

Thorpe Park’s first opened Logger’s Leap in 1989 and closed in down in November 2015. The park’s spokesperson told Daily Mail that the compensation accepted by Napolitano is the full and final settlement.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya
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