Mother sues after zip line harness rope tangles around her neck at Bloomingdale amusement park

BLOOMINGDALE, Ill. (WLS) -- It was supposed to be a fun filled celebration but turned in to a terrifying time in the air.

A zip line harness that was supposed to be secured around the rider's waist ended up around a young mother's neck. She said she thought she was going to die as her family looked on.

"I couldn't breathe. I was gasping for air. All I can do was grab onto the rope," said Evelyn Rapier.

Rapier threw a birthday party for her three-year-old daughter at Urban Air Adventure Park in Bloomingdale in the fall of 2021. She and her sister tried park's zip line ride, but things didn't go as planned.

Video shows her in the air struggling and trying to pull herself up.

"For some reason the rope was around my neck instead of around my stomach. I don't know how it got around my neck. All I can remember is I can't breathe. I'm going to die. I felt blood going through my face. My eyeballs," Rapier said. "I was moving around, thinking about my kids, thinking about my husband, what's going to happen? Like, no, I'm gonna die. This is it. Like this is this is my last moment and it's going to be on my three-year-old's birthday party."

According to the lawsuit filed by Rapier in April, the ride was unsafe and that defendants "should have known of the dangerous condition created by allowing an unsecured harness to be placed in service and used by patrons."

"It appears that the people working there are not properly trained to put on the equipment and maybe even that the equipment that they're providing people is faulty," said Marc McCallister, Rapier's attorney. "If the harness is not properly fastened around the customer, or not fitted properly, it can ride up, cinch or become restricted around different parts of the body."

The ABC 7 I-Team reached out to Urban Air Adventure Park. They responded in a statement, saying, "The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is Urban Air's highest priority in everything we do. One injury is one too many, but what's important to remember is ride safety is a shared partnership between the park and their guests and it's essential they follow posted and verbal guidelines and instructions. Out of an abundance of caution, all staff members were retrained after the event on November 19, 2021."

They said they couldn't go into details about Rapier's incident because of the pending lawsuit.

Rapier and her attorney said she didn't sign a waiver before getting on the ride. She was treated at an emergency room immediately afterwards and suffered from rope burns on her neck.

The 24-year-old mother of two said she's traumatized and will never be the same.

"I'm experiencing memory loss and problems with my speech," she said.

Rapier's attorney has not yet said the amount of money they are suing for as the lawsuit is in the beginning stages.
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