Zoo remains open after train derailment

Lori Owens
Lori Owens
Howie Baker
Howie Baker

Posted By Mike Dever - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A state official says Kentucky regulators inspected the miniature open air train that derailed at the Louisville Zoo earlier this year, and zoo officials tell us the train passed its daily inspection hours before Monday's accident.

A total of 22 people were hospitalized after the train derailed late Monday afternoon, including 17 children. Two of those children - a 21-month old and 2-month old - stayed overnight.

The 21-month-old child was admitted to Kosair Hospital in critical condition Monday, but had improved to serious condition by Tuesday afternoon. The 2-month-old was set to be released on Tuesday.

Two adults were still being treated at University Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The zoo reopened at its normal time this morning, while state inspectors in charge of amusement rides examined the ground-level tracks. The train loops two miles around the zoo and went off the tracks while going around a bend behind the gorilla exhibit. Three cars and the engine derailed.

"Right now the train is closed until further notice," said Louisville Zoo spokeswoman Kara Bussabarger. "The Zoo is open though. Of course what we're going to do is we're going to wait until we get the full comprehensive report from the ride inspectors and we will make decisions at that time."

People we spoke with told us the accident doesn't change their plans to visit the zoo.

"I have a grandson, and I may go to the zoo this week," said Lori Owens. "It would not affect me one way or the other."

Howie Baker told us he's "not that worried about it as long as they fix it up, as long as there was no ill intent on their part, it's not a big deal - except for the people who got hurt. I would go back."

Ride inspectors from the Department of Agriculture tell us they inspected the ride on January 22. A law passed in 2008 requires rides to undergo daily inspections before they can be opened to the public, and officials say the train passed Monday's inspection with no apparent problems.

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