A quadriplegic man trapped inside the Disneyland ride "It's a Small World" for over a half hour was awarded $8,000 in damages from the park. Jose Martinez became trapped in the ride and Disneyland workers did not call firefighters to help evacuate him.
When the ride broke down, Martinez, who is paralyzed and requires a wheelchair, was firmly trapped inside the ride. According to his lawyer, David Geffen, Martinez's blood pressure rose and he desperately needed to use the facilities. Unfortunately, it took Disneyland staffers over 30 minutes to fix the ride to get Martinez out.
Geffen maintained that his client should have been extracted from the ride by firefighters, but that no one called them to help. Martinez is prone to panic attacks, and being trapped with the music of "It's a Small World" continually blaring did not help the situation.
"He was half in the cave of the ride and half out. The music was blaring. They couldn't get it to go off," Geffen told The San Francisco Gate.
Once he was extracted from the ride, Martinez was taken to a first aid station, where it took nearly three hours for him to stabilize, Geffen said. Martinez filed suit against the park, stating that it did not properly take care of the situation and put him at risk.
Judge James Selna ruled in favor of Martinez and said that Disneyland did not properly notify disabled riders that if the ride broke down, they could be stuck. He added that Disneyland also did not properly attend to Martinez once he was trapped.
"This is a really important ruling not just for Martinez, but for anyone that rides the rides at Disneyland– because they do break down often and they do not tell people," Geffen explained. "The court's saying that this kind of injury is foreseeable and that Disneyland has a duty to warn people."