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Bill introduced to prevent accidental drownings after teen dies at Land of Illusion

Published By Local 12 on October 21, 2021
Thomas Hall In The News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Months after a teenage girl drowned at a local aqua park, changes are being proposed to prevent an accident like it from happening ever again.

The July drowning death of 14-year-old Mykiara Jones at Land of Illusion was ruled an accident, but it highlighted the lack of oversight at similar places. A new proposal is being introduced in the legislature with the hopes of preventing another tragedy like this from ever happening.

Jones would've been a freshman at Middletown High School this year.

State Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township) says he went to the visitation for her.

"I hope no family has to experience something like that. With this bill, we feel like it's a good step to ensure that there is jurisdiction, there is licensing, there are requirements that have to be followed to allow for more safety for the children, for the families that are enjoying these commercial enterprises," Hall said.

Hall promised Local 12 he would look into what could be done to prevent another tragic death like Jones'. After talking with local and state health department officials as well as the state Department of Agriculture, Hall drafted House Bill 457.

It would give the state Department of Health regulatory power over places like Land of Illusion. Because its Aqua Adventureland is not a pool or waterpark, it was in a black hole of no regulation.

Some of the new standards the bill sets out include ODH determining the number of lifeguards needed, first aid, CPR and any other training that will be required for lifeguards and other employees. They also include what safety equipment must be on site in case of emergency and anything else the Department of Health determines to be necessary.

"We want to try and work towards preventing anything of that nature to ever happen, not just at Land of Illusion, but any place in the state of Ohio, to protect kids and to make sure that businesses are doing the right things to ensure the safety for all families," Hall said.

Local 12 messaged and called Land of Illusion for comment regarding the proposed legislation. As of this writing, no one has returned that request.

Hall says he will check with Jones' family to see if they would like the law to be named after her.

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