It was June 21, 2007, when Randy and Monique Lasitter had dropped their daughter off at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville for a day of fun. The plan was for Kaitlyn to hang out with some friends at the popular park, and at 13, Kaitlyn was being allowed to do some things on her own without her parents in tow.
Thus, the Lasitters weren't at the park when Kaitlyn and her friends climbed aboard the Superman Tower of Power, a ride that lifts passengers 177 feet into the air, followed by a stomach-churning drop at speeds reaching 50 miles per hour.
Theme Park Accidents happen, and everybody knows it. But on a bright June day, with summer beckoning and you're out with your friends, accidents are the last thing on your mind.
The girls rode the Tower of Power once, successfully. It wasn't a busy day and there was no lineup for the ride. The girls opted for a second ride??"a decision that would sadly result in a Horrific theme park accident and change Kaitlyn's life forever.
As the young Louisville teen described it later, on its second run the ride ascended to the top as normal. Then the chair in which they were riding began jerking around violently, and Kaitlyn smelled smoke. Unbeknownst to them, a cable had snapped??"a cable that would soon drop down on top of and over Kaitlyn, splitting her lip and coming to rest across her legs.
Then came the drop. As the Tower of Power car plummeted to the ground, the cable across Kaitlyn's legs tightened.
Both feet were cut off just above the ankle. Damage to her left foot was too extensive for reattachment??"doctors could not establish a consistent blood flow to the foot. But her right foot was cut cleanly, almost like it was sliced off with a guillotine.
The drama of the accident was caught in a CNN video which has since been removed due to respect for Kaitlyn. A year later Kaitlyn, still struggling, appeared in video shot by WLKY TV with her parents lobbying for Congressional oversight of the amusement park industry.
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This June marks the fourth anniversary of that tragic accident. On that day, June 21, 2011, Kaitlyn will be 17 and has adjusted well. It has been a long road. But at least she escaped with her life, as challenging as her life has become. Some have not been so lucky, and there have been Amusement Park Deaths. Until advocates like the Lasitters succeed in their quest for more oversight of the amusement park industry, theme park accidents will continue??"more often than not leading to an amusement parks injury lawyer.