Man who sliced ankle on hotel waterslide shocked at 2nd case of same injury
Josh Crabb, CTV Winnipeg
Published Friday, February 19, 2016 6:20PM CST
Last Updated Friday, February 19, 2016 6:53PM CST
A former Winnipegger says he’s shocked to hear another person cut the back of their ankle on a waterslide the same way he did, at the same hotel, more than a decade ago.
Zachary McLeod, 27, reached out to CTV News after he saw the story aired earlier this week. A Manitoba man had suffered a severed Achilles tendon at the top of a waterslide at the Canad Inns Fort Garry hotel.
McLeod, who now lives in Medicine Hat, Alta., said he suffered the exact the same injury 16 years ago and wanted to speak out because he believes it’s a matter of public safety.
He hasn’t been on a waterslide since the incident, which happened during a team hockey party when McLeod was 11 years old.
“It was definitely a traumatic incident,” he said.
McLeod said he was seated facing forward at the top of the slide; when he went to push himself off, he cut his foot on a sharp edge inside the left water jet at the top of the slide.
“I just felt a searing pain almost immediately after going down the slide,” said McLeod. “When I got to the bottom of the pool, it just hit me like a bag of bricks – it’s the most extreme pain that I’ve ever felt in my life.”
He said it happened in April 2000 at the Canad Inns Fort Garry hotel.
It's the same hotel where earlier this month, in a separate incident, a different man named Zachary Thomas from Sagkeeng First Nation severed his Achilles tendon when his ankle clipped a water jet at the top of the slide.
McLeod said his jaw dropped when he heard the CTV News report about what happened to Thomas.
“The first thing I thought was someone needs to be held accountable for this,” said McLeod.
"Who's holding Canad Inns– or whatever hotel may have a slide – who's holding them accountable and making sure that they're meeting proper standards, everything's safe and the public won't be endangered?"
Manitoba swimming pool regulations don’t specifically cover waterslides; however, since 2009, public health inspectors have the authority to look into issues with waterslides that might be putting the public at risk.
The province said inspectors visit pools unannounced at least twice annually and will also go if they receive a complaint from the public.
The Lifesaving Society of Manitoba is calling for even higher standards.
Its operations manager, Kevin Tordiffe, said the society offers its own safety audits to aquatic facilities.
Tordiffe said the audits aren’t mandatory, but can help make a facility safer.
"We would like to see any aquatic facility that is semi-public or public have to go through audit systems,” said Tordiffe. “It's essentially a safety review by lifeguarding experts."
Tordiffe said while waterslides can be fun, they can also become dangerous. He noted equipment needs to be used according to the rules and maintained on a regular basis.
"Waterslides in particular can be a challenge because they are a fiberglass product,” said Tordiffe.“The edging on the fiberglass can become very sharp and should be guarded particularly where the fiberglass contacts the water at any of those parts of the facility."
On Thursday, a department spokesperson for Manitoba Health and Healthy Living said an inspector visited Canad Inns Fort Garry and found no safety concerns as long as the waterslide is being used according to guidelines posted in two locations in the pool area.
The province said the hotel shut down the waterslide on its own and is designing structural improvements to the equipment to further prevent possible injuries.
Canada Inns declined further comment because the matter is now before legal counsel.