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4 Are Hurt by Fluid Leak on ‘Jurassic Park’ Ride

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Just over a week after it made its highly touted debut, the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios malfunctioned and sprayed more than 100 guests with hydraulic fluid, sending four people to the hospital with minor injuries.

The accident occurred Saturday morning as several boats, filled with up to 150 guests, made their way through the final leg of the ride, said Jim Yeager, a spokesman for MCA Inc., which owns and operates the theme park.

While strapped in their seats, the guests were doused with an unknown quantity of hydraulic fluid, which is used to drive some of the machinery that powers the ride, Yeager said.

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Four visitors complained of skin and eye irritations and were taken to Mullikin Medical Center in Burbank, where they were treated and released.

Laura Dayton, 38, of Costa Mesa was riding with her mother when “quite a bit” of hydraulic fuel fell on top of them. “I am so upset,” she said. “I have open sores on my head right now.”

Dayton’s mother, Barbara McNair, 61, of Sherman Oaks said she got fluid in her hair and her right eye.

“My eye still hurts and I can’t get the stuff out of my hair,” McNair said in an interview Sunday.

After the accident, the enormously popular attraction was shut down for 90 minutes until the leak was located in a building near the end of the ride, Yeager said.

The other thrill-seekers were unscathed, though some complained that their clothes were stained by the warm hydraulic fluid. Yeager said Universal put some of the guests in hotels and bought them new clothes.

“A lot of them came back and spent the rest of the day at the park,” Yeager said. The ride was up and running Sunday, he added.

McNair said those taken to the hospital didn’t get the same treatment. “We didn’t get food all day,” she said.

Saturday was not the first time the $110-million ride has been shut down. When it opened June 21, the attraction suffered mechanical problems that prompted its temporary closure.

Despite the setbacks, a record number of riders waited on line up to three hours to make Jurassic Park--The Ride the most successful attraction ever to debut at Universal Studios Hollywood. More than 20,000 people went through the ride on opening day.


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