In September of last year, a 29-year-old New Jersey surfer named Fabrizio Stabile tragically passed away from infection by Naegleria fowleri–a lethal single-celled organism referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba”–shortly after visiting the BSR wave pool in Waco, Texas. The news prompted the owner of the BSR Surf Resort to voluntarily shut down the artificial wave and its adjacent facilities while the Center for Disease Control inspected the water. The CDC couldn’t find the amoeba in the wave pool, but officials concluded the exposure to it likely occurred at the facility.
According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the parents of Stabile–Rita and Vincenzo Stabile–are now filing a wrongful death lawsuit against BSR Surf Resort, Parsons Barefoot Ski Ranch and BSR Cable Park. The lawsuit alleges "While he [Fabile] 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…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 plaintiffs are seeking more than $1 million in damages.
"BSR's blue-green dyed waves masked a pathogen soup in which Naegleria fowleri amoeba — 'the brain-eating amoeba' — could thrive," the suit states. After Stabile’s passing, Stuart Parsons, the owner of the BSR Surf Resort, invested a reported $2 million in a cutting-edge water filtration system and has since reopened the wave to the public.
Here’s more from the Waco Tribune-Herald:
“BSR owner Stuart E. Parsons Jr. said in a statement Wednesday that his heart goes out to the Stabile family, adding that ‘only God knows where he got the amoeba.’
Parsons said that since Stabile's death, BSR has installed a $2 million, "state-of-the-art" filtration system approved by Texas Department of State Health Services and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.
‘When they saw what we did, their jaws literally dropped,’ Parson said of the new system. ‘… 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.’
Michael Hensley, BSR filtration and maintenance director, said 3,000 gallons of water a minute run though the new turbo disc filter system from the 1.9 million gallons in the surf pool, the lazy river attraction and other water sources.
He said the park and the surf pool continue to attract surfers from around the world, including one from Russia who was there Wednesday morning.”