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An Arizona man who was seemingly trying to beat the heat snuck onto a waterslide in a closed aquatic center in the early hours of Tuesday morning ended up getting stuck and eventually died as a result. Rescuers discovered the man while he was still alive but the process of freeing him was so complex that he, unfortunately, passed away before police could get to him.
Scottsdale, AZ police identified the man as 31-year-old Ryan Kelly who was believed to be a transient. An officer patrolling a quarter-mile from the Eldorado Aquatic & Fitness Center heard what he believed were muffled cries for help and began investigating. It seems that being inside the waterslide may have amplified the man's cries, which may have made him easier to hear. However, they also made the sounds difficult to localize, which meant that it took some time for police to find the man. First responders were able to converse with the man for about an hour, but eventually, he stopped responding and the incident turned from a rescue to a recovery effort.
Officer Kevin Watts told AZFamily.com that the pipe where Kelly was found was part of the superstructure of the waterslide, meaning it had to be dismantled in order to get the man out and a crane was required. It's not exactly clear from the initial report how the man actually got stuck. It seems the slide must have had something that held him in place inside rather than letting him slide down. It's also unclear how much water was flowing, or was stagnant, within the tube. The cause of death is currently undetermined but the Maricopa County Medical Examiner is now investigating.
It's unclear exactly why Mr. Kelly ended up in the waterslide to begin with. Getting into the aquatic center after hours was reportedly no simple task, requiring him to scale a fence and then climb the tube in order to lower himself into the slide. A quick look at the weather report shows that, like much of the west, it's been incredibly hot, with overnight temperatures not dropping any lower than the high 80s. At midnight it could have still been 100 degrees outside, and so it seems likely the man was just trying to get cool.
Needless to say, waterslides are something that requires fairly strong supervision at the best of times, and certainly aren't meant to be used when there's nobody else around. Universal Orlando Resort is currently dealing with a lawsuit regarding one of its waterslides and, while the one in this aquatic center was likely of a much less complex design, that doesn't it make any less potentially dangerous.
This time of year waterslides certainly can feel like the perfect escape from the heat but that should only be considered during operating hours.