Arvada Man Drowns At Water World

First Drowning In Park's 30-Year History

Preliminary findings indicate a 48-year-old Arvada man drowned while swimming at Water World Tuesday afternoon.

The Adams County Coroner's Office identified the man Thursday as Mikhail Valov, 48. The final determination of his cause of death won't be made until toxicology tests are completed, the coroner's office said.

The water theme park has not had a drowning in its 30-year history, a park spokeswoman said.

Valov was pulled from the Captain Jack wave pool Tuesday afternoon after a lifeguard noticed he wasn't moving, even though his head was above water.

After he was was pulled out, a Water World paramedic tried to revive him. Other paramedics continued life-saving measures to no avail.

Toxicology tests from the post mortem should be available in a few weeks.

The Federal Heights Fire Department said it has at least one paramedic on site at Water World at all times.

In the summer 2008, 28 people were transported to the hospital via ambulance and 31 total ambulance calls were made from Water World, the Federal Heights Fire Department said.

So far in 2009, 14 people have been transported with 19 total ambulance calls.

The ambulance calls cover everything from allergic reactions, to chest pains, to accidents on the rides, the Federal Heights Fire Department said. The ambulance is called on the recommendation of the on-site paramedic but patients, at times, refuse ambulance rides even though one has been called.

Water World appears self-regulated. The Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety -- which oversees amusement parks in Colorado -- does not oversee water parks or water slides. This is not true in all states.

According to, 73 percent of customers who visit America's top 15 water parks -- approximately 9 million people -- are riding on self-regulated water rides, which means that there are no government ride inspections or investigations of serious accidents, not even when a customer dies.

The following is a list of the 15 largest water parks in the country, and whether they are regulated by a government agency.

  1. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon in Florida -- attendance of 2 million -- no govt. audits or investigations
  2. Disney's Blizzard Beach in Florida -- attendance of 1.9 million -- no govt. audits or investigations
  3. Universal Wet 'n Wild in Florida -- attendance of 1.37 million -- no govt. audits or investigations
  4. Schlitterbahn in Texas -- attendance of 865,000 -- no govt. audits or investigations
  5. Busch Water Country USA in Virginia -- attendance of 773,000.
  6. Palace Raging Waters in California -- attendance of 650,000.
  7. Busch Adventure Island in Tampa Florida -- attendance of 615,000 -- no govt. audits or investigations
  8. Gantz Family Noah's Ark in Wisconsin -- attendance of 561,000.
  9. Water World in Colorado -- attendance of 558,000 -- no govt. audits or investigations
  10. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island in Texas -- attendance of 550,000 -- no govt. audits or investigations
  11. Herschend Family Dollywood's Splash Country in Tennessee -- attendance of 491,000 -- no govt. audits or investigations
  12. Palace Wet 'n Wild Emerald Point in North Carolina -- attendance in 470,000.
  13. Six Flags White Water in Georgia -- attendance of 469,000.
  14. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Texas -- attendance of 435,000 -- no govt. audits or investigations
  15. Palace Splish Splash in New York -- attendance of 425,000
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