Hong Kong’s Ocean Park has closed one of its Halloween-themed haunted houses after a 21-year-old man died inside it.
Police received the alert from the amusement park at 2.06pm Saturday and confirmed a man surnamed Cheung had been pronounced dead at Ruttonjee Hospital.
Cheung was a friend of an employee of a Swire Group company. The group’s staff association had arranged a visit to the park from 1 to 11pm Saturday for an annual staff event.
Ocean Park CEO Matthias Li Sing-chung said Cheung was found passed out five minutes after he had entered the haunted house. The area where he was found was supposed to be “a place for our staff to carry out some maintenance work”, according to Eva Au Yeung Yee-wah, the park’s director of events and entertainment.
Called Buried Alive, the attraction consists of a slide and haunted house. Guests take the slide to enter the haunted house alone as part of a “single-player” experience.
A park spokeswoman said Cheung ventured “by mistake” into a backstage area open only to staff after he had finished the slide and entered the haunted house.
Greg Wong Chak-yan, a registered structural engineer, said such an area should normally be locked to prevent guests from inadvertently entering it.
“A haunted house should be designed to offer a single way out for visitors,” the former MTR staff member said. “If an emergency exit is required, a sign should be posted.”
Li said medics at the park had performed first aid on Cheung and called an ambulance as soon as they found him.
The death marked the first fatal accident at the attraction since it was introduced in 2001.
The park has closed the attraction to aid an investigation into the incident by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.
The department believed Cheung was hit by “moving parts of the slide” in an area normally closed off to visitors and that the accident did not involve mechanical failure.
The slide, measuring 4.5 metres long and 2.5 metres high, was approved by the department on Thursday after passing a comprehensive examination by independent inspectors, it added.
The park is not allowed to reopen the attraction until the department lifts its suspension order.