The family of Tiago Perez recently filed a lawsuit against Universal Studios after the 11-year-old boy’s foot was crushed on the E.T. Adventure ride.
When most people visit Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, they do so with the hope that many happy family memories will be made. Unfortunately for the family of an 11-year-old Brazilian boy, a visit to the theme park took a devastating turn and resulted in a lawsuit filed by the boy’s family. According to the suit, the boy, Tiago Perez and his family were on the E.T. Ride in late January when his left foot allegedly became “stuck between the ride vehicle and cement offloading area at the end of the ride.” As a result, his “foot was crushed and his shoe fell off,” breaking many of the bones in his toes, foot, and leg.
According to the family’s attorney, Edmund Normand, the suit was filed in February and is seeking at least $15,000 in damages. The suit states:
“Prior to this incident, [Universal] had knowledge that the design, manufacture, testing, construction, and/or operation of the E.T. Adventure ride, created an unreasonably dangerous ride resulting in injuries to guests, but [Universal] continued to market the ride as safe to the unsuspecting public.”
The E.T. Adventure ride is one of the park’s most well-known rides and is one of the few remaining original rides to the park, which opened in 1990. During the ride, riders are taken “up in the air on flying bicycles past re-created scenes from the movie and then to a surreal Green Planet.”
When commenting on the incident, Normand said Tiago “wasn’t doing anything wrong…He was just being a normal kid, a normal rider.” He added that, while on the ride, “Tiago’s feet weren’t on the pedals of the bike, but naturally dangled and were inside the vehicle as required.” He is currently attempting to obtain video evidence of the incident. At the moment, Tiago’s family are the only witnesses. According to his mother, she was sitting in the same row as Tiago while other family members were seated in the row behind them.
Currently, Tiago is under the care of an orthopedic surgeon in Brazil and still has yet to return to school. Prior to the incident, he enjoyed playing soccer. However, his injuries require him to keep his foot elevated as it heals and his family is concerned his injuries may affect him as he grows older.
Normand added that the injury never should have happened. He said the injury never should “have occurred on a kid-friendly attraction like E.T., which has a height requirement of just 34 inches.” The suit further noted that Tiago, along with his mother, “did not speak English and could not read any warning signs.”
Shortly after the incident occurred, the Orlando Fire Department responded to an injury report shortly after 6 p.m. on January 31, “but the city would not provide detailed information on what happened because it was a medical call.” In response to the incident, a spokesman for the theme park issued the following statement:
“There was an incident last night — but we are confident the attraction was operating normally at the time. The ride is temporarily closed as part of our own safety and review procedures.”
So far, Universal Studios has yet to respond to the lawsuit.