Universal admits electrical issues at Volcano Bay sent workers to hospitals

Volcano Bay closed early Sunday after workers taken to hospitals

The U.S. Department of Labor said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating Sunday's incident at Universal's Volcano Bay.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating Sunday's incident at Universal's Volcano Bay.

Volcano Bay closed early June 2 after four workers were taken to hospitals. Theme park officials said it was due to "technical issues."

Some guests and workers said they felt like they were being electrically shocked while walking around the park. 

Wendy Lee told News 6 on Sunday morning, she attended Universal Studio's Volcano Bay to celebrate her daughter graduating from middle school.

Lee said that while in the water, several life guards were shouting to her in the distance, but she couldn't make out what they were saying. 

"I said to him, 'What were those guys saying? And he said,'You need to get out at the next exit,'" said Lee. 

Lee said she saw another family climbing over a wall to exit the water.

"I felt prickles, tingles in my legs," said Lee. "Then all of a sudden, I felt buzzing in my ear and my head, and then I immediately knew it was electricity."

Lee said that Universal paramedics assessed her and administered an EKG because of her rapid heart rate.

"I'm just thankful. It could have been worse. I mean, obviously nobody was killed or electrocuted per say, but you don't know that when it's happening," said Lee.

Lee said she was shocked about seven hours before the park closed for the day.

"I was just shocked literally that they left the park open and just endangered all these people because everyone knows water and electricity don't go good together," said Lee. 

Universal said the workers were transported to area hospitals as a precautionary measure.

The workers were later released from the hospitals, according to Universal. 

According to Orlando Utilities Commission records, there was reportedly a problem with underground electrical cables at Volcano Bay.

Universal released a statement Wednesday night:

We know there are questions about the issues we’ve recently faced at Volcano Bay and we want to answer those questions.Here is what happened. On Sunday, several guests began to tell us they felt “shocks” or other similar sensations while in the park.  Some of our lifeguards also told us they felt something.Here is what we did. First, we began to care for our guests and team members. Our medical staff asked each guest if they wanted to go to the hospital.  All said no.  A small number of our lifeguards asked to go to the hospital. Fortunately, they were quickly released and are fine. It took us some time to understand exactly where these shocks were occurring.  As we identified specific areas, we quickly closed rides and other parts of those areas.  We eventually closed the entire park out of an abundance of caution. Our public statement used the phrase, “technical issues.”  We wanted to fully understand what was happening and to what degree – and then to fix it.  We have worked with OUC, outside electrical contractors and our own experts – and we now know the problem is specifically electrical.  We have spent the hours and days since Sunday testing and re-testing our electrical system across the entire park.  And we have made repairs and modifications to our electrical system.  We believe this has resolved the issue. Some attractions within Volcano Bay remain closed while we continue testing – just to make sure everything is ok.  We’ll open them as soon as we can. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been on site today.  We want the same thing they do – which is to make sure everyone is safe.  And so we are working closely with them.  We know it is disturbing to feel any level of shock in a water park.  We definitely understand and want you to know that the safety - and trust - of our guests and team members is vital to us.   Everything we do is motivated by their safety.  And that was the case on Sunday. We believe this problem is resolved and that our park is safe.


About the Authors:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.