SPOKANE, Wash. - The City of Spokane is doing damage control; issuing a public apology to the family of Lorae Sims, the skater who lost her life following an injury she sustained on the city's newest attraction, the ice ribbon.
City Spokesperson Brian Coddington said, “we do apologize for any confusion we created during this difficult time for them.”
On Friday afternoon, at about 3:15pm, Spokane Fire Engine Three was dispatched to the ice rink for an injured skater. On Saturday, the City released a statement, offering condolences stating the woman had died as a result of her injuries. Sunday, they apologized for that statement and said she was actually alive. Monday, the City would not comment on her condition. Sacred Heart Medical Center confirmed Sims had passed away.
“The confusion occurred because of information we received from unofficial channels and we didn't do enough to confirm that through official channels,” explained Coddington.
As they to investigate, changes are already occurring. Sunday they started offering free helmets to all skaters. Previously, they only recommended skaters bring them.
“That is really, honestly shocking to me. And it is actually horrible. I am glad they are offering helmets and I hope more people will be taking advantage of that while they are offered,” shared skater Dani Mohrbach.
Dani and her boyfriend had no idea about the tragic events from Friday when they hit the ice Monday afternoon, but she says it isn't enough to make her put on a helmet.
Mohrbach explained, “I think I am confident that I will stay clinging to the handrail, I'll be going at a slow enough speed that I will be going without a helmet.”
A second couple on the ice Monday also had no idea helmets were being offered for free but wasted no time picking them up when they learned why.
Skater Noelle Bates explained, “this kind of makes me nervous now, I mean so this is his first time so had I known that absolutely he should have a helmet.”
It was Noelle Bates and boyfriend John Sikora's first time on the ice ribbon. They say after an incident like that, there's no reason wearing these helmets shouldn't be made mandatory.
“Everyone has the idea that they are not going to fall. Even I came out here with the idea that it is pretty easy, in reference to like, just rollerblading but its a little different, it's a different feel,” said Sikora.
KXLY 4 News heard from another family this weekend who says their son suffered a concussion at the ice ribbon a few weeks ago. They said they called the city then, demanding helmets be offered, but it didn't happen. Monday, the Coddington did not comment on that incident in particular.
KXLY 4 News has requested copies of all injury reports and the surveillance video of this incident.
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