A 16-year-old boy died Wednesday night after trying to sled down the snow covering a closed water slide with his brother and a friend in a Wisconsin Dells resort, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Tragically, the boy and his family were on a vacation from Florida to experience winter snow for the first time.
The Lake Delton Police Chief said during a news conference on Thursday that the kids were sledding at Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park in Lake Delton at around 10:30 Wednesday night when they decided to climb over a seven foot tall fence to reach an area where water slides had been closed for the season. The area of the resort is closed and is fenced off, with the gates locked.
The 16-year-old boy was from Florida and had never experienced winter cold and snow, his family said. He and his brother and a friend were sledding at the Wisconsin Dells resort just a few days short of Christmas when they decided to try to sled down the snow covered water slide in the closed section of the park.
Police say that the juveniles climbed up the superstructure of one of the water slides at the park, intending to slide down on the snow that was covering the slide. The 16-year-old victim, who was sledding in a plastic snow saucer, started sliding down the slide but got caught in the accumulated snow about halfway down and slipped off the slide when he tried to free himself, police said. The boy fell about 35 feet to another slide below, where he died nearly instantly.
Police didn’t say if the other juveniles also tried to slide down the snow covered slide.
Paramedics from Dells-Delton EMS tried to revive the 16-year-old victim, but they were unsuccessful; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chief Dan Hardman of the Lake Delton Police Department said that the department had found no evidence that the Wisconsin Dells water park had done anything that could have caused the tragedy, according to WSAW-TV, and they had taken all reasonable steps in order to keep people from getting into the area and being injured during the off season.
“With our preliminary investigation that we did, I think Mt. Olympus did everything they could to prevent people from doing it but like I said there is personal responsibility for making that decision at this age to enter into that park and take that risk,” he said.
The boy’s family, who were all staying at the Hotel Rome on the Mt. Olympus complex, were on the scene shortly after the incident, police say, but it was too late to save the teen.
Wisconsin Dells is a popular tourist destination in the summer because of their legendary water slides and theme parks, but the area has become a popular winter destination as well, with some of the country’s biggest and best family resorts. A website for the area, WisconsinDells.com, calls winter in Wisconsin Dells “a magical time of year” and promises “joy and good spirits” along with lots of cold weather activities, live entertainment, and events to enjoy. Visitors to the area frequently enjoy activities like skiing, snowboarding, or tubing at the local ski hills, in addition to hanging out at one of the area’s many indoor water parks.
The teen has not yet been identified and the Sauk County Coroner’s office is investigating the case. Authorities report that the Sauk County Coroner’s Office will be performing an autopsy.
No charges are expected to be filed in the boy’s death.
[Featured Image by Keith Homan/Shutterstock]