Richmond trampoline park death a cautionary tale
As more details emerge about the man who died at an indoor trampoline facility in Richmond Tuesday, a personal injury expert is warning that the horrific accident is a cautionary tale for all families.
Jay Greenwood, a 46-year-old father from Oak Bay, was at Extreme Air Park with his two daughters on Jan. 20. Police say he was performing "acrobatic maneouvres" when something went wrong and he fell, sustained serious injuries and went into cardiac arrest.
Extreme Air Park says it's fully co-operating with the police investigation into the death.
The facility issued a statement to CTV Wednesday saying safety is the main focus at the park and that it undergoes a daily visual inspection and a weekly in-depth assessment.
It did not respond to further questions about who conducts those inspections, what kind of training they undergo, or why the facility, according to witnesses, remained open after the accident.
Personal injury lawyer J. Scott Stanley with Murphy Battista LLP says when he sees lawsuits filed against these parks the injures are always very serious.
In January 2017, an 18-year-old was paralyzed after a foam pit accident at a trampoline park near Edmonton. His family is currently suing the park, which is run by a different company.
Without commenting specifically on Greenwood’s death, Stanley reviewed the waiver that Extreme Air Parks requires all customers to sign before using its trampolines.
At the top, a line in all caps reads that customers who sign “understand that trampolining is an inherently dangerous activity.”
And then there’s the fine print.
"What it really means is if they screw up, no matter how badly, you cannot sue them," said Stanley.
Although Stanley said courts in other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom have intervened to make waivers unlawful, courts in B.C. have a history of upholding them.
"The problem you have these other industries popping up and piggybacking on what the ski hills have done," he said, comparing trampoline parks with an industry known to put a lot of resources into safety and oversight. "There's no regulatory incentive to make sure these activities are safe."
Lawyer J. Scott Stanley goes over the trampoline park's waiver.
When it comes to government oversight of trampoline parks, it appears there’s a regulatory gap.
Technical Safety BC, the agency charged with permitting and inspecting amusement park rides, some waterslides and ziplines as well as escalators and elevators, told CTV that there are “no specific regulations” for businesses like Extreme Air Park.
“We don’t … inspect trampoline parks … but in light of this incident, we will be reviewing the regulatory framework,” wrote spokesperson Lisa Duong.
City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend said the city “does not have a regulatory role in regards to safety at amusement parks.”
As police probe the death, the victim’s family and friends are remembering him as a man who was larger than life.
"Jay was just one of those guys—gregarious, every time I saw him he was smiling," said Deanna Young, who has known Greenwood for 15 years.
Greenwood lived in Victoria where he owned the Ginger Brother Burritos and worked as a contractor. He left his partner and two daughters, aged 11 and 13.
Jay Greenwood and his daughters when they were young.
"He just adored those little girls," Young said. "I'm just devastated for [them]—that they had to see that happen."
Karm Layeigh told CTV News she was at the trampoline park for a birthday party when the accident happened.
"As we were getting ready to go up to pay for the session a girl came running out, crying, saying that her dad's been hurt," she said. "[She said] her dad's not moving and he's not breathing and he needs help."
While Greenwood's friends and family grieve, another person will apparently get a second chance at living.
According to a Facebook post by Greenwood's sister, he was an organ donor and his heart was assigned to a recipient on Wednesday.
"I get goosebumps thinking that he saved someone's life," said Young.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's David Molko