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A Tram Ride Turned Tragedy

Posted on: June 24, 2015

In beautiful Prince George’s County there sits a 690-acre park. The park is located in Clinton, Maryland and boasts campgrounds, undeveloped land, and recreational parkland. There are areas designated for boating and a lovely little boathouse situated on the water. Patrons can rent paddleboats or stay on dry land and travel via Cosca tram. It is no wonder that the park sees so many visitors once the warmer weather settles in. Although there is no doubt that the activities in the park are entertaining, recent news has left the public wondering how safe they are. This month one of the trams that runs throughout the park left many patrons making their way to the emergency room.

The Cosca Transit

The park offer rides for patrons through a tractor-trailer drawn tram that travels through the developed lands. The tram is comprised of a series of trailers pulled by a tractor that is decorated to look like a train engine. On Sunday, June 14th about two-dozen people boarded one such tram to explore and navigate their way through the park. At about 4:15 p.m. the tram approached a hill and started to travel downwards. The tram lost control and tipped over. The cars that were attached to the tractor-trailer, where the passengers were seated, detached leaving the passengers without steering or an engine. According to Mark Brady, spokesman for Prince George’s County Fire and Rescue Service, the trailers where the passengers were seated did not tip over but the passengers were tossed about as the tractor detached and the trailers came to a stop. Investigators still have not discovered the cause of the incident. Twenty-one people, including the driver of the tractor, were taken to various hospitals after the accident.

Summer Safety

Unfortunately, accidents such as this are not avoidable by park patrons who have little to no control over these rides, and these types of accidents are not uncommon. The premises owner has a duty of reasonable care to inspect and maintain the premises in a reasonable manner to be sure that it is safe for invitees. The Tram was likely under the exclusive control of the Park and/or the County at the time of the accident. The summer season causes many people to look to the outdoors in an attempt to shake off the cabin fever wrought by long winters. Parks and pools, by their nature, are hot spots for outdoor gatherings. Exercising caution while outdoors will help you and those around you avoid spending your summer in the emergency room. Remember to always keep an eye on children, especially around water. It doesn’t take much for a child to fall into a pool and have a hard time reaching the surface. In parks, be wary of playground equipment (or trams) that appear unsafe. Theme parks can be just as hazardous when equipment fails to operate correctly and results in a passenger’s injury. If you see missing screws, rust, or loose equipment that make you question your safety, use your better judgment.

Justin Katz is a personal injury lawyer who represents injury victims in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC
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