Woman claims her finger was partially cut off on Universal ride

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Universal denied many of the lawsuit's allegations.

A Manatee County woman says she lost part of a finger in an accident when she rode Universal’s King Kong ride last year, according to court documents.

Courtney Delphey is suing Universal theme parks over what she says happened May 16, 2021 on the Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

“During one segment of the ride, the tram stopped for a 3D display,” her lawsuit said. “The tram shook violently as part of the experience. Courtney Delphey placed her hand against the metal bracing in front of her during this part of the experience. Two pieces of metal separated then came together causing a partial amputation of Courtney Delphey’s finger.”

Universal denied many of the lawsuit’s allegations and said in response in court documents, “Plaintiff’s injury was solely the result of her negligent failure to observe the subject condition.”

The lawsuit had originally been filed in Orange Circuit Court last month although new court documents were filed this week to move the case to U.S. District Court. Delphey said her medical expenses totaled $89,225 and is seeking more than $100,000 in damages, court documents showed.

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The Parrish woman’s lawsuit called the ride unsafe for “allowing metal supports to separate and close with such force to cause violent amputations.”

There was no mention of Delphey’s alleged incident in the quarterly theme park injury report published by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In Florida, theme parks self-report injuries when their visitors are hurt or sick on a ride and require at least 24 hours of hospitalization. The lawsuit does not say if Delphey received hospitalization or how much time she spent in the hospital. Her attorney did not respond to questions Friday. Universal also did not respond to an immediate request for comment Friday.

Based on the movie, the thrill ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure attractions first opened in 2016. The attraction takes visitors on an expedition on a tram and features simulated chases and 3D projections with the finale leading past a large Kong animatronic.

It’s not the first time a serious incident has been tied to the ride.

In 2018, a family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Universal after a 38-year-old Guatemalan tourist died from a heart attack in 2016 after he sat down on a bench to rest shortly after getting off the Kong ride. The family’s attorney told the media at the time the man had a prior heart condition. In 2020, the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount, according to Orange Circuit Court records.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is a journalist who covers theme parks and Florida tourism. She previously worked at the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Toledo Blade and the Kalamazoo Gazette. She graduated from Michigan State University.


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