David Cross is a veteran who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was his final tour in Iraq when Cross was hit by a large IED. Multiple large pieces of shrapnel were launched into his leg.
“I went six years with chronic pain and I had heard about elective amputation.”
Rather than living with constant chronic pain, Cross decided to have his leg amputated.
He said, “It was an easy decision, but I knew it was big, because for a while, until I got my leg, I couldn’t do anything.”
His children refer to his new prosthetic as his "robot" leg.
After all he had been through, Cross was ready to settle back into a normal routine.
This is exactly what he and his family were trying to do when they visited Darien Lake Amusement Park.
However when Cross attempted to go on "Shipwreck" he ran into some trouble. "Shipwreck" is a popular water ride at the park.
Cross said, “The worker came up to me and said, I can’t go on, and they said why, and they told me it was a balance issue for my prosthetic.”
Workers also explicitly told Cross that if he did indeed want to get on the ride, he would need to remove his prosthetic.
This isn't the first incident that brought the amusement park into national headlines.
Sergeant James Hackemer was killed after being flung from one of the amusement park's roller coasters.
Hackemer had lost both of his legs to an IED attack during his time in service.
Officials reported that Mr. Hackemer was traveling at 50 miles per hour in the front row of the ride when he was ejected. Many reports also indicated that the lap restraint on the ride failed to protect Hackemer.
Cross is fully aware of this tragedy. However Cross presses that the horrible tragedy was unique.
“I literally almost have a full leg, I’m here. I should have no questions asked.”
The general manager of Darien Lake publically stated,
"At Darien Lake, the safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. We adhere to all ride manufacturers' individual guidelines as well as New York State's Department of Labor operating standards and procedures, for both rider requirements and inspections and maintenance".
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