"...the park's 'blue-green dyed waves masked a pathogen soup in which Naegleria fowleri amoeba -- the 'brain-eating amoeba' -- could thrive.'"
One of last year’s greatest tragedies was the death of New Jersey surfer Fabrizio Stabile from brain-eating amoeba after visiting BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas. The headlines, clearly the sort that grab attention, threw a wrench into the park’s operation as testing was conducted. Afterward, the park was shut down for a new filtration system to be installed.
And even though testing found that Mr. Fabrizio’s exposure “likely occurred” at the pool, the ownership took it as as absolution.
Now, the surfer’s mother is suing the park for $1 million and let us turn to the Houston Chronicle for more.
BSR could have prevented her son’s death “had they exercised ordinary care in the operation of their water park,” alleges the civil suit, filed April 9 in McLennan County District Court.
Park owner Stuart Parsons wrote in an email Tuesday, “Our hearts go out to the family of Fab. Only God knows where he got the ameoba (sic).” Plaintiff’s attorney Brian Wunder declined to comment.
A new water filtration system was installed in the surf park after Stabile’s death, according to a video posted to the attraction’s Facebook page. And the park, which closed for the winter shortly after the incident, is now open to surfers.
The law requires that lagoons be maintained “in a sanitary condition,” but specific enforcement standards are still being finalized by the Department of State Health Services. The standards are expected to be published this summer.
Unbeknownst to Stabile, the suit says, the park’s “blue-green dyed waves masked a pathogen soup in which Naegleria fowleri amoeba — the ‘brain-eating amoeba’ — could thrive. “
Indeed, test results from health officials found his “exposure likely occurred” at the park. The report found conditions “favorable” for its growth.
The organism is commonly found in warm, fresh water but, according to the CDC, not in well-maintained pools.
Prior to installing the new filtration system, Litke said, the water at the surf park wasn’t treated — save for an occasional large dose of chlorine.
Parsons, the owner, wrote in his email that operators “put chemicals in the water to make it safe.” He noted that the amoeba, which rarely infects people, was not found in the surf park water. (It was found at another attraction at BSR.)
BSR invested significantly in the new water systems, Parsons wrote, and his 2-year-old twins play in the water. He said the surf was full daily.
“I don’t want a chance of it even happening,” Parsons wrote.
The lawsuit states the company owed it to its customers “to maintain the water in a safe condition.” It continues: “Defendants breached their duty to keep the water safe.”
The statement from the park’s owner “God only knows where he got the amoeba…” seems as suspect now as it did in the rosy assessment released directly after the health inspectors found exposure “likely occurred” at the park.
Has this whole incident changed your opinion about wave tanks or have you already forgotten?