Published on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

English-only signs at theme park 'contributed to death'

A lawsuit claims the lack of foreign language signage at US-theme park Universal Orlando was a contributory factor in the death of a theme park visitor.

Jose Calderon Arana, aged just 38, suffered a fatal heart attack after riding the 'Skull Island: Reign of Kong' ride.

A lawsuit filed by his family said there was a warning in English that those with heart conditions should not go on the ride, but this was not repeated in his mother tongue, Spanish. Calderon Arana had a history of heart problems.

"Universal was aware of the great number of tourists on their premises who do not speak English," the lawsuit said.

Calderon Arana complained of feeling unwell after the ride and then collapsed and died later.

The family's attorney said it was 'actually quite basic in this day and age' for signs to be in foreign languages. 

"You [Universal] are asking for international travellers. This is a mecca for tourism. This is a very basic thing that should be thought of for the safety of patrons," he said.

He said the theme park should have ride warning signs in at least English, Spanish and French.

More than six million overseas visitors went to Orlando in 2017, nearly 900,000 from the Spanish-speaking countries of Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Also, according to census figures, more than 25% of Florida residents speak a foreign language at home.


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  • Where does it stop

    Agree with Paul, the statement "warning signs in at least English, Spanish and French" so the other foreigners who don't speak those languages either will also sue. Of course it's very sad this gentleman died but as he had a history of heart problems then why for god's sake did he go on a fast scary ride. It always has to be someone else's fault, what happened to people making their own responsible decisions?

    By Keith Standen, Thursday, January 3, 2019

  • Other languages ?

    So what about Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Russian etc ? Where do you stop ? There are plenty of tourists who are unfamiliar with the National language of the country which they visit - and in some cases live in. True, Spanish is spoken more widely around the world than any other language, but surely the onus is upon the traveller to understand obvious safety warnings.

    By Paul Tucker, Thursday, January 3, 2019

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