Christmas Eve brought unexpected tragedy at Artegon Marketplace’s Sky Trail attraction. Robert Belvoir was attempting the ropes course when his harness disconnected from the safety track and he fell to his death on the concrete floor below. His daughter, Penelope, had just finished the course when she turned to see her father fall 30 feet to his death. Now she is fighting back with a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner and management company of Artegon Marketplace along with the manufacturer and operator of the ropes course.
Mark Nation, the attorney representing Penelope Belvoir, said, “She saw him and watched him fall to his death. It was awful. That shouldn’t happen… These rides are supposed to give the illusion of danger while being perfectly safe.”
Belvoir died during a zip line ride that is part of the Sky Rail course. Orlando Police are working with the Florida Consumer Services Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection to investigate the death. Jim Ligget is the owner of Ropes Courses Inc. that manufactured the attraction. He told reporters that the company currently has 600 courses around the world and 10 of those courses feature the Sky Rails attraction. He said all of those were closed after this accident. “We’re going to inspect every single one of them and make sure everyone is safe and this can’t happen again.”
When asked about the cause for the accident, Liggett acknowledged that they believe they know what happened, but he would not share details. “We were able to isolate this… It’s just a weird bunch of circumstances all happened and we have got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
An estimated 10 million people participate in the company’s ropes course attractions every year. “We’ve been building ropes courses for 26 years and this is the first accident we’ve ever had like this,” Ligget said. “It affected our company from the ground up. Everybody thought it was their fault and we’re all just a mess.”
People who witnessed the incident were also very shaken up. At a nearby Subway in the mall, employee James Walton said he can remember sudden panic. “We had a couple of people in line, and all of a the sudden we just heard everyone screaming in the mall,” he said. Witnesses said paramedics attempted to administer CPR before rushing Belvoir away on a stretcher, leaving a pool of his blood behind.
“This kind of senseless tragedy is upsetting to the whole community,” said Tampa wrongful death attorney Christopher Ligori. “When a man climbs onto an attraction like this with his daughter, he shouldn’t worry that this will be his last few moments alive. The family is well within their rights to file a lawsuit and push for answers.”
The Artegon Sky Trail issued a public statement on the day after the accident. “We express our deepest condolences to the family of Robert Belvoir. We are cooperating with all investigations of the incident that place yesterday evening.”