NewsPasco County


3 people injured, including a child, due to accident at Snowcat Ridge

1 person was seriously injured, PCFR says
Posted at 3:59 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-25 00:23:27-05

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — One person was flown to the hospital with serious injuries following an accident at Snowcat Ridge Friday afternoon.

Pasco Fire Rescue said firefighters are treating three people following an accident involving a snow raft.

One adult was flown to a hospital with serious injuries, and another adult and child have minor injuries, PCFR said.

"At Snowcat Ridge, the safety of our guests is always a top priority. Our onsite safety and security team will continue to work closely with the Pasco Fire Rescue," said Jon Pianki, Snowcat Ridge Marketing Director.

But an Okeechobee mom says the injuries didn't stop there. Geri Yates says her family of four was on the snow raft with the three others that have been hospitalized.

"We were all smiling we were all excited and what was it? Maybe 30 to 45 seconds later we're all in a panic and scrambling and my heart just goes out to them," she said.

Yates tells ABC Action News that shortly after they took off, the raft hit a patch of carpet and flipped over, instead of slowing down to a stop. She's not sure why it happened, but she describes the moments after the flip as "terrifying."

"I know I had felt something hit my head. I had felt something hit my face. And as soon as I got my bearings and sat up, my first thought was 'where is my daughter?'" she said.

That woman says she could hear her young daughter crying. But thankfully, she adds that her family walked away with some aches, pains, and some bruising.

Safety is something the park's team says it worked hard to address, following a series of code violations and a nearly year-long closure. The park re-opened last month after addressing those safety concerns. Pianki told ABC Actions News at the time, that they'd also invested 5 million dollars in improvements.

"It wasn't that we underestimated how difficult it would be. I think the challenges just hit us harder than we expected. It's one of those things, you don't know what you don't know," he said in November.

At this point, there is no word on if Friday's accident was connected to any safety violations.

This is a developing story, refresh for the latest updates on ABC Action News