'Felt like a nightmare': Parents of boy, 8, who fell off 24ft tall climbing wall sue Navy Pier
According to the lawsuit, the employees at Navy Pier did not tie the safety rope to Geroge Brewer's harness and there was no safety net either
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: A family is suing Navy Pier after their eight-year-old old son fell from a climbing wall and got seriously injured, claiming employees' negligence caused the accident. George Brewer's parents, Erin and Gideon, filed a lawsuit alleging that Navy Pier employees did not follow basic safety protocols, resulting in the boy falling from the top of the 24ft tall climbing wall, in Chicago, Illinois, on Wednesday, July 27, reported CBS news.
Their attorneys released a video showing Brewer scaling the wall while being encouraged by his parents. According to the lawsuit, nobody heeded his cries for help when he fell.
The lawsuit stated that the employees did not fasten a safety rope to his harness. Towards the end of the video, Brewer was seen jumping from the wall but there was nothing to prevent him from falling. “He got to the top and he said to hit the button up at the top to stop the timer, and then he let go to repel which is what you’re supposed to do and he just dropped,” Erin said at a news conference alongside her attorneys on Wednesday, November 16. The lawsuit also stated that there was no safety net in place.
“It felt like a nightmare,” Erin said, as per CBS News, adding, “I kept thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is one of those times where I’m having a horrible dream and I’m going to wake up any second.’ And I did not and all I could do, all Gideon could do, we were just screaming for help.”
Brewer had a concussion in addition to breaking his femur and pelvis. His family reportedly said that that he had already undergone four surgeries, and a fifth was scheduled for January. He had spent months in a wheelchair, but he was now capable of using walking using a walker.
“We trusted Navy Pier to operate the climbing wall safely and care about our kids. It is a major tourist attraction and we thought it was reputable,” Gideon said in a statement. “Part of the reason we are filing this lawsuit is to warn other parents who take their children to Navy Pier to beware. Safety and concern for children are clearly not their priorities,” the statement added.
Erin said that the entire family was traumatized after helplessly watching Brewer fall. "It felt like our life was over. We thought we lost George," Erin said, adding, "It was myself, my husband, and our two other sons that all witnessed this." She said that everyone believed Brewer was safe when he started climbing.
The family expressed their wish for others to know what had happened and for Navy Pier to make better safety arrangements. "It was 100% preventable. This was, it was horrible, and I would hate for somebody else to go through this, and I would like to see changes made," Erin said. "We want to make sure that Navy Pier hears us loud and clear that child safety has to be their number one priority if they're going to offer amusement rides like this," their attorney Megan O'Connor said.
The Brewers, who are based in The Grand Rapids, Michigan, are suing for George's medical bills and other damages, but they do not know how much it would come to. A Navy Pier spokesperson released the following statement, "We have not seen a lawsuit. It is our standard practice not to comment on litigation."