Tennessee Aquarium Sued For $1.5 Million Over Capsized Waverunner

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The operator and passenger of a 2004 Yamaha Wave Runner are suing the Tennessee Aquarium for $1.5 million, saying they suffered serious injuries when capsized by a wake from the Aquarium's River Gorge Explorer.

William Lloyd Graham and Rebekah Ann Condra filed the complaint in Circuit Court against the Aquarium and River Gorge Explorer pilot Kyle Payne.

They said they were on the Wave Runner near Williams Island last Aug. 21 prior to sunset when the River Gorge Explorer approached "at an extreme high rate of speed.


The suit says, "The size and weight of the catamaran and the speed in which it was traveling, created an enormous wake. Despite this wake, Payne traveled in a direction that was in direct proximity of the plaintiff's vessel, causing the plaintiff's small vessel to capsize. . . with such force as to cause severe injuries to both plaintiffs."

The suit says the River Gorge Explorer knew the Wave Runner had capsized, but did not stop.

Mr. Graham said he missed 11 weeks of work due to the accident and has permanent damage to his hip.

The suit, filed by attorney Thomas Austin of Dunlap, asks $500,000 compensatory damage and $1 million punitive damage.



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