The massive water slide at Eagle Harbor continued to dangle unhinged from its support Friday, as the water park closed only a day after high school students crowded the slide to the point it collapsed.


Officials with The Crossings at Fleming Island and with the Fleming Island High School marching band did not answer questions about the Thursday night mishap that broke the slide.

A statement from the community organization said the water park “will remain closed until it is determined by proper authority that it can be re-opened to the community,” though the statement didn’t say who that authority is.

On Thursday night, the 110-foot slide at Eagle Harbor’s Swim Park split into a pond after about 15 teenagers rode it at the same time.

Lifeguards started immediately plucking the teens out of the water, according to 911 calls.

Ambulances took two teenagers to the hospital with minor injuries. Clay County Fire Rescue and the lifeguarding staff treated 11 other teenagers.

The hospitalized teenagers returned home by Friday, according to Clay County School Board member Janice Kerekes.

All of the teenagers, according to a Clay County Sheriff’s Office incident report, are part of the high school band. Most suffered only minor scratches.

The crowd using the slide violated the community’s regulations that say: “Only one slider is allowed at a time. No ‘chains’ of people may slide.”

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Mary Justino said she doesn’t know if Eagle Harbor kept a lifeguard at the top of the slide to oversee the slide’s operation.

The community would not respond to calls for comment.

At Nocatee Splash Water Park, lifeguards work at the top and bottom of the slides, strictly enforcing the one-rider-at-a-time rule, said operations manager Lee Hovis. The community water area employs 75 lifeguards.

“It’s pretty simple,” Hovis said. “We enforce our rule. The rule says one person on the slide at a time. We control our slide. We treat it like a theme park attraction.”

Hovis also said the slides are inspected by the St. Johns County Health Department for safety.

According to the Clay County Health Department, the department doesn’t inspect Eagle Harbor’s slide.

State Bureau of Fair Rides officials said they don’t inspect private slides like Eagle Harbor’s, but if they did, spokeswoman Erin Gillespie said, they would check the structure of the slide and the fasteners and joints.

Andrew Pantazi: (904) 359-4310