Boy's Foot, Leg Crushed on Universal Studios' E.T. Ride, Lawsuit Claims


An 11-year-old boy's foot and leg were crushed while riding the E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial ride at Universal Studios Florida in January, according to a lawsuit filed by his mother.

Roberta Perez sued the theme park in late February, seeking at least $15,000 in damages for her son's injuries, reports the Orlando Sentinel. According to the lawsuit, Perez's son Tiago's left foot got stuck between the ride and the offloading area on Jan. 31.

Perez's Orlando-based attorney, Edmund Normand, said the boy's foot was crushed and his shoe fell off. Normand said described it as a "bloody scene," adding that Tiago broke multiple bones in his toes, foot and leg.

“Prior to this incident, [Universal] had knowledge that the design, manufacture, testing, construction, and/or operation of the E.T. Adventure ride, created an unreasonably dangerous ride resulting in injuries to guests, but [Universal] continued to market the ride as safe to the unsuspecting public,” the lawsuit reads.

“He eventually was able to pull his leg out,” Normand told PEOPLE. “His family tried to help. People were screaming. There was blood everywhere. It was a horrible scene.”

Normand said his family witnessed the incident and his mother was sitting in the same row with other family members behind him.

Fire department officials did respond to the scene and took Tiago to the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. He had leg surgery in the U.S. and is still recovering in Brazil. Normand said Tiago's medical expenses have reached more than $100,000.

The lawsuit accused Universal of knowing the design and operation of the ride "created an unreasonably dangerous ride" and that Tiago did not understand the caution signs because he does not read English. Normand said the signs are still placed in areas not easily visible to riders.

The E.T. ride is one of the last remaining opening day attractions at Universal Studios Florida. The ride vehicles are designed like large bicycles and recreates the climactic scene from the 1982 film. According to Normand, Tiago's feet were dangling from the ride and not on the bike pedals. The attraction has a height requirement of 34 inches.

Universal has not commented on the lawsuit, but the company did issue a statement on Feb. 1 about an incident.

"There was an incident last night — but we are confident the attraction was operating normally at the time. The ride is temporarily closed as part of our own safety and review procedures," the statement read.

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Back in 2002, a 13-year-old boy injured his right foot on the ride, but more detail of the incident was not released.

Photo credit: Preston C. Mack/Getty Images