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Universal Studios Hollywood stunt performer hospitalized after ‘Waterworld’ incident

A stunt performer does a high dive while on fire during a theme-park live-action show
A stunt performer at Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Waterworld” attraction — photographed in 2014 — suffered cardiac arrest Monday during a live-action show.
(Dan Porges / Getty Images)
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A stunt performer at Universal Studios Hollywood was hospitalized Monday after an incident during the theme park’s “Waterworld” show, authorities said.

Paramedics were called to the USH attraction at 2:09 p.m. Monday for a cardiac arrest emergency, said Henry Narvaez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

When paramedics arrived, others were already performing CPR on the performer. The EMTs then transported him to a nearby hospital, Narvaez said.

“We can confirm a performer with one of our long-standing show vendors was transported to the hospital following a stunt during an afternoon performance yesterday, and our thoughts are with him as he receives care,” a Universal Studios Hollywood spokesperson said Tuesday, declining to give details on how the incident unfolded or about the man’s condition. “Details surrounding the event are being reviewed.”

Los Angeles County firefighters rescued 11 people who were stranded on the “Transformers” ride, authorities confirmed.

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Daisy Anguiano, a theme park guest who was in the audience, told KABC7-TV that she saw cast members pull the unconscious performer from the water.

She said the incident occurred sometime after the man had fallen from a tower and into the water while lit on fire, as a part of the show’s finale.

“Everyone in the staff and the crew is doing this together not letting this person die,” said Anguiano, who also recorded the incident on her phone. “He was unconscious while dragging him from the water.”

She said the show was canceled and guests were escorted out.

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The long-running “Waterworld” stunt show — based on the 1995 post-apocalyptic film of the same name — opened months after the movie’s release and remains among the park’s most popular attractions.

It features jet ski chase scenes, fiery explosions, a crash-landing airplane and a collapsing tower.

A 2014 Los Angeles Times investigation into amusement-park injuries found that more than 90 visitors at Universal Studios Hollywood reported injuries from 2007 to 2012. Injuries ranged from joint pains, chipped teeth and lacerations to dizziness and seizures. Data for injured performers or theme park employees were not included.

In 2011, a small fire broke out in the now-defunct earthquake simulation, possibly due to faulty electrical wiring. And last April, firefighters had to rescue 11 patrons who got stranded in the park’s “Transformers” ride during a power outage.

Monday’s incident comes several weeks before the opening of USH’s Super Nintendo World, which promises to be the most interactive theme park land ever created. The attraction’s debut hit a snag earlier this month when its online presale system crashed, temporarily leaving annual pass holders in the dark.


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