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Response to Questions Regarding Compliance and Safety Issues; Call for Action and Increased Regulation

On July 22, 2021, Land of Illusion hired an independent investigator to undertake an assessment and gap analysis of the park’s health and safety policies, procedures and programs following the July 20 drowning of a young girl at its Aqua Adventure Park. The investigation indicated that, “Land of Illusion follows all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations and in many areas has policies, practices and procedures that exceed the requirements of those regulations. My investigation also revealed no violations of law or regulations with respect to the tragic July 20, 2021, drowning accident.” At the request of the park owner Brett Oakley, the report offers recommendations for how it can go even further to ensure the health and safety of its visitors and employees.

A Statement from Park Owner Brett Oakley

The tragedy on July 20 at the Land of Illusion Aqua Adventure Park has been devastating for a family, their friends and our entire community, including our guests, team of employees and the first responders who were there that afternoon.

The park has been in the spotlight for weeks, and we’ve limited our engagement with the public discussions and media as we know the anguish we’re feeling does not match the devastation felt by the family over the loss of their child. We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to evaluate the events of that day and cooperate with all state and local officials who are investigating it. We have never experienced a tragedy like this at Aqua Adventures and, of course, are committed to doing all we can to ensure we never experience this again.

We hired veteran investigator, Dan Wood of Industrial Safety Services of Ohio, to perform a comprehensive review of our health and safety policies, procedures and programs. The findings revealed that we comply with all applicable local and state rules and regulations and that there were no violations of law or regulations with respect to the tragic July 20, 2021, drowning accident. This is no surprise to us. We’ve always prioritized safety and have worked with the appropriate regulatory bodies to go above and beyond what is required. The report confirms that.

We are challenging ourselves to go even further.

We are innovators at Land of Illusion. There are few parks like ours in Ohio, but the numbers are growing. Our destination provides multiple experiences for families throughout the year. The Aqua Adventures experience was added in 2018. While these types of water parks are newer, they exist and are growing throughout the state. Additional regulation is needed by state and local authorities. Land of Illusion not only welcomes additional oversight, we pledge to be champions for it. It is in our guests’ best interest. It is in our best interest.

Land of Illusion is part of the fabric of Middletown, Madison Township and Butler County. I was a volunteer firefighter for 27 years in Madison Township and the health and safety of our guests and employees is my highest priority. I take great pride in my team and the popular destination we’ve built in our community. We have invested nearly $18 million in this unique destination and are one of the largest businesses in Madison Township. And despite how some local officials have portrayed Land of Illusion this last month, we run a tight ship. We invest in state-of-the-art facilities, continually ensure we have updated, quality equipment – including health and safety equipment we are not even required to have – and follow all of the rules and regulations in place to make sure we’re operating in the safest and best way possible.

We will continue to cooperate with all state and local officials who are investigating the tragic event on July 20. We encourage them to complete their investigations and share the results of them with the citizens of our community and state. We welcome the scrutiny and oversight of all appropriate state and local authorities. We want to ensure there are robust and consistent health and safety rules and regulations in place throughout the State of Ohio for parks like Land of Illusion.

About the Independent Investigation

Dan Wood has been a health and safety consultant for 16 years working with companies and organizations to assess and improve their overall health and safety policies, procedures and programs. His extensive training includes training in water rescue, dive operations, incident command, EMS and accident investigation. He has worked closely with the Department of Labor (OSHA) and is an OSHA Authorized Outreach trainer and holds an OSHA 500 accident/incident investigation certification. He also holds OSHA 501, 502, 511, and 30 certifications. He is a certified CPR instructor and is certified through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for emergency action planning. Since 1989, he has responded to 911 calls for service. He also serves as a member of the Warren County Technical Rescue Team.

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