GASTONIA, N.C. — Altitude Trampoline Park in Gastonia was closed Friday as representatives from the company flew to Charlotte from Texas to investigate the death of a 12-year-old boy.
According to a Lowell Police Department operations report, the boy “was not secured in harness and fell to the ground.”
The company is now reconsidering its policies after the incident.
NBC Charlotte learned an employee fits each child with a harness and shows them how to secure it to the climbing wall once, then kids are left to do it on their own.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and we are working very hard to figure out what happened and prevent this from happening moving forward,” said Courtney Wilde, executive vice president of global operations for Altitude Trampoline Park.
Cell phone video taken moments after the boy fell on Wednesday showed the rock wall he was climbing on. but it was difficult to see safety mats beneath the wall.
“It is a self-belay system so the regulations around that just qualify a 3-foot by 2-foot mat down at the bottom,” said Wilde.
She said the equipment is inspected every day, and employees are certified to properly fit customers into harnesses.
"We do know that the harness was fitted correctly based on our safety protocols,” she said.
But an employee doesn't check if the harness is locked in every time a child climbs one of the rock walls. They’re still trying to determine exactly what went wrong in this situation. They said they’ve never had this happen before.
The clip and climb attraction will stay closed for the foreseeable future.
According to several 911 callers, the boy fell off a climbing wall inside the park just after 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"A kid fell off the wall and hit the ground," a 911 caller told a dispatcher. "He is not moving."
Another 911 caller told dispatchers she was the boy's mother.
"He's laying on the floor!" the mother frantically told dispatchers.
One of the 911 callers told dispatchers she was an employee at the facility and described the climbing wall.
"It's a thing that we have where you latch him to a harness," the caller said. "He fell and collapsed on the wall. He fell off it and landed on the ground. He's unconscious right now."
Gaston County EMS confirmed paramedics took the boy to CaroMont Medical Center in Gastonia with life-threatening injuries. He was then flown to Levine Children's Hospital where he later died.
Wilde issued this statement shortly after the incident:
Yes, there was injury at our park involving a 12-year-old child. We’ve been in touch with a representative from the family. We are getting updates on his condition periodically, and are not in a position to speak for the family. As we get more information we will share it with you. In the meantime, we are taking every step necessary at the park. The rock climbing structure has been closed while we investigate exactly what happened.
The trampoline park was full of kids the day after the incident, though a manager told officers the wall was fenced off to preserve the investigation.
With school out, these facilities are likely a popular destination for families this summer. But it's important to know these facilities are not closely regulated, and annual inspections aren't required.
Lowell Police said after reviewing surveillance video, they would not be pursuing a criminal investigation.