Watch CBS News

Family sues Navy Pier after son injured in climbing wall fall

Family sues Navy Pier after boy is injured in climbing wall fall
Family sues Navy Pier after boy is injured in climbing wall fall 02:11

CHICAGO (CBS)-- The parents of an 8-year-old boy are suing Navy Pier, after he fell from a climbing wall there this summer and was seriously hurt. They're now accusing the popular tourist spot of negligence.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the parents of 8-year-old George Brewer say Navy Pier didn't follow safety protocols, leading to their son's fall.

George Brewer and his family at Navy Pier Levin & Perconti

The terrifying incident was caught on camera.

Lawyers for Erin and Gideon Brewer provided video of their son climbing the wall at the pier on July 27. George's family cheered him on as he made his way to the top.

The lawsuit says he fell 24 feet down to the concrete, causing serious injuries, and that no one came to help.

The suit also claims that there wasn't a safety net in place as attorneys say is recommended by the federal government; and that the attendant put the harness on him, but did not properly attach the safety rope, causing the fall.

"It was horrifying, and I did not keep it together," said Erin Brewer. "I was absolutely hysterical."

Family sues Navy Pier after son falls from climbing wall 02:20

George's mother said the event traumatized their entire family, who saw George fall.

"It felt like our life was over. We thought we lost George," Erin Brewer said. "It was myself, my husband, and our two other sons that all witnessed this."

She said everyone, including George himself, thought he was secure when he started climbing.

George Brewer in hospital bed
George Brewer in his hospital bed after falling from a climbing wall at Navy Pier Levin & Perconti

George suffered serious injuries all over his body from his face to his ankles. Pictures provided show the 8-year-old in the days after the fall at Lurie Children's Hospital.

His parents say he's had four surgeries since, and another one is scheduled for January. He is also undergoing continuing physical therapy.

He was confined to a wheelchair for several months, and he can only now walk with a walker.

George Brewer in wheelchair
George Brewer in a wheelchair after falling from a climbing wall at Navy Pier. Levin & Perconti

The family said they want others to be aware of what happened, and for Navy Pier to make safety changes.

"It was 100 percent preventable. This was, it was  horrible, and I would hate for somebody else to go through this, and I would like to see changes made," Erin Brewer said.

"We want to make sure that Navy Pier hears us loud and clear that child safety has to be their number one priority if they're going to offer amusement rides like this," family attorney Megan O'Connor said.

Lawsuit says Navy Pier failed to take basic safety precautions before boy fell from climbing wall 02:01

The Brewer family is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is suing for George's medical expenses and other damages, but so far don't have a specific figure on how much money that would come to.

A Navy Pier spokesperson released the following statement: "We have not seen a lawsuit. It is our standard practice not to comment on litigation."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.