Waco: Cable park attempted cover-up after man’s death, lawyer claims

(Photo by Royden Ogletree)
(Photo by Royden Ogletree)(KWTX)
Published: Sep. 20, 2019 at 3:12 PM CDT
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A lawyer for the family of a New Jersey surfer who died after contracting a brain-eating amoeba at the BSR Cable Park and Surf Resort outside of Waco alleges the park’s owners “hyper-chlorinat(ed)” the surf pool just before a federal health agency launched an investigation into the death.

Fabrizio Stabile, 29, died on Sept. 21, 2018 from an infection that occurs after the amoeba enters the body through the nose.

Houston attorney Richard Fass said Rita and Vincenzo Stabile, the surfer’s parents, are seeking more than $1 million from BSR Surf Resort, Parsons Barefoot Ski Ranch and BSR Cable Park in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in April in Judge Vicky Menard’s 414th District Court.

The issue heard Thursday was a motion to compel the defendants to provide certain information sought by the plaintiffs, Fass said.

“We consider this a very significant case,” Fass said Friday by telephone from his Houston-area office.

Stabile and several of his friends traveled from New Jersey on Sept. 8, 2018, the lawsuit says, and while swimming and surfing there, “Naegleria fowleri amoebae from BSR’s toxic water entered into Fabrizio Stabile’s nose and migrated into his brain.

“Once there, the amoeba fed on brain and other cells, causing horrific says.

In contention are certain records Fass is seeking that can confirm his claim, but Parsons has not turned those records over.

Parsons’ attorney, who declined to speak to the media after Wednesday’s hearing, said during the issue Parson could not provide the data because it had been stored on his cellphone, which he dropped accidentally into Lake Whitney some time ago.

“He has to be the only Verizon customer in the history of the world whose data is not backed up in the cloud,” Fass told Menard.

Mendard has set a Jan. 27, 2020 trial date for the lawsuit.

Parsons confirmed this week the sale of the water park is pending.

He has denied that conditions at the park contributed to Stabile’s death.

Testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Waco-McLennan County Health District and the Texas Department of State Health Services found evidence of the amoeba at the park, the health district said on Oct. 12, 2018

"Epidemiologic and environmental assessment indicate that exposure likely occurred at this facility," the health district said.

The amoeba “was identified in the Cable Park, but not specifically found “in the Surf Resort, Lazy River, or the Royal Flush on the day of sampling,” although test findings indicated “conditions favorable for N. fowleri growth,” the health district said.

In response Parsons hired a North Carolina firm to install “a state-of-the-art filtration system to make our water in the surf, on lazy river, and at the Royal Flush slide is as clear and clean as humanly possible…working very closely with local, state and CDC.”

The park’s wave pool, which covers an area the size of three football fields, has attracted surfers from around the U.S. and beyond.

PerfectSwell technology created by the California based company American Wave Machines allows operators to produce ocean-like waves hundreds of miles from any coastline.

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