PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — The family of a man who drowned at Hawaiian Falls Water Park in 2014 has filed suit against the company, court records show.
The son and daughter of Irudayam Yeddanapalli, 83, who drowned at Hawaiian Falls on Aug. 9, 2014, are suing for more than $100,000. The lawsuit claims the park opened early in May 2014 under financial pressure, before it could be adequately staffed with lifeguards and was safe for customers.
Yeddanapalli was at the bottom of the wading pool, staffed by only two lifeguards, for two to three minutes before other swimmers alerted lifeguards to his presence, the suit continues.
The suit contends a 2-year-old deaf girl almost drowned the same day in the same wading pool. “The pool is oddly shaped… making it impossible for only two lifeguards to effectively and safety scan the entire premises.” The suit says the two lifeguards didn’t see Yeddanapalli drowning until other customers notified them.
“[The family] really want to hold Hawaiian Falls accountable to make sure this doesn’t happen to some other family. It’s happened twice the same day in August and we don’t know how many times it’s happened since then”, said the family’s Austin-based attorney, Scott Hendler.
The lawsuit also points to complaints made online that cite overcrowding on the day of the drowning. The day of Yeddanapalli’s drowning, the park was hosting a Champions Day for children with disabilities.
The Travis County Medical Examiner determined Yeddanapalli died as a result of drowning with contributing factors of hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and mixed drug toxicity.
This past March, Hawaiian Falls partnered with a professional lifeguard training firm, according to its website. The park is set to open daily this Friday, June 3.
“Lifeguards will undergo rigorous training before the Hawaiian Falls season begins Memorial Day weekend, with continual training, as well as unannounced auditing by E & A, occurring throughout the summer. The parks close Labor Day for the year,” a release shows.
In a statement, Hawaiian Falls says they “look forward to the legal process and to the facts coming out in this case. Safety remains our No. 1 priority, and we’re confident in our safety record at all six of our parks.”