The family of a New Jersey man who died last year from a rare, brain-eating amoeba after surfing at a water park have filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $1 million from the attraction's owners.
Rita and Vincenco Stabile, the parents of 29-year-old Fabrizio Stabile, filed the suit last week in Texas, where BSR Surf Resort is located.
The suit says "BSR's blue-green dyed waves masked a pathogen soup in which Naegleria fowleri amoeba — 'the brain-eating amoeba' — could thrive."
Stabile and several friends had trekked from New Jersey to the park on a surfing trip in September.
“While he was surfing and in the water at BSR Surf Park, Naegleria fowleri amoebae from BSR’s toxic water entered into Fabrizio Stabile’s nose and migrated into his brain,” the suit claims.
“Once there, the amoeba fed on brain and other cells, causing horrific injury and pain, and ultimately Fabrizio Stabile’s death on Sept. 21, 2018," the suit says.
Stuart Parsons Jr., owner of the water park, said in a statement Wednesday his heart goes out to the Stabile family. "Only God knows where he got the amoeba," Parsons said.
The facility has installed a $2 million, "state-of-the-art" filtration system since Stabile's death. The Texas Department of State Health Services and Waco-McLennan county health officials have approved the water-cleansing process, Parsons said.
“When they saw what we did, their jaws literally dropped,” Parsons said. "I don’t want a chance of it even happening. I let my 2-year-old twins get in all of our water at BSR and our ski lakes. They play in the water and drink it, it splashes in their face and could get up in their nose. No parent should ever bury their kid, and my heart goes out to their family,” he said.
State, local and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials took water samples at the water park. The results "are a powerful indictment of BSR," the suit alleges.
The testing discovered Naegleria floweri at one of the park's attractions, but it wasn't detected at the Surf Resort, the agencies' report said. But the man-made surf park contained cloudy water that bore feces organisms, low chlorine levels and conditions favorable to growing the brain-eating amoeba, the report said.
"When we find out that, you know, there was a chance that he could have got the, you know, the amoeba in our water, it really, you know, it shocked us," Parsons told ABC News in an interview that aired Thursday on "Good Morning America."
"It's something that can happen anywhere," he said. "I just wanted to make sure that we were, you know, that we were covered."