DETROIT – The Belle Isle giant slide made international headlines after riders were seen going airborne on the way down, but why was it allowed to open when it posed an apparent safety risk?
The viral videos of the giant slide, which is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, showed riders being thrown and tossed on the way down. The videos were taken after the slide reopened to the public for the first time in years.
Many people laughed at the videos, but others asked, “How is the slide still open?” or “Who tested it for safety?”
The answers to those questions were found in newly released inspection reports obtained by Local 4.
State inspectors never actually watched anyone go down the slide during the inspection process, according to the report.
The July inspection passed, and the only requirement was to replace the vinyl side cover and fix holes on the perimeter fence.
The slide was cleared to open, but when the videos went viral, it was shut down hours later.
A follow-up inspection required a long list of safety changes, including staff training, slide testing, maintenance logs, and a warning. Sliders must go down in a controlled environment that doesn’t allow excessive speeds, and people can’t leave the sliding surface.
Officials with the state inspection office said the first inspection in July noted minor citations, but the Aug. 25 follow-up uncovered safety concerns that led to the temporary shutdown.
“When we received the August inspection report, we immediately made the necessary safety changes recommended,” a spokeswoman with the DNR said. “We have worked with state inspectors and our own staff to make sure the slide is safe for all.”