Water park worries after rumor goes viral

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) -- The owner of Knight's Action Water Park is worried a rumor on Facebook will affect business. The post claimed the park is home to a bacterial outbreak.

It's getting negative attention from all over after being shared more than 2,000 times. It's since been taken down and the account which posted it is deactivated, but the after effects of the rumor for a small business owner could hurt his customer base.

"It's going to be very devastating to my business."

Knight's Action Park has been around since the 1930's. In the 80's, it added a water park to bring more people to the attraction. People who've been coming for years say it's a decades-old family tradition.

"It's a nice place, great place, great for the family. We've been coming here for a long time. It's always clean and nice."

But, owner Doug Knight says the family-friendly atmosphere was shattered when a woman's post on Facebook went viral claiming a toddler was near death in a hospital from a flesh-eating bacteria after visiting the park.

"The health department never called me, 'Hey, you got a problem?' Those would be the first people out here trying to see what's going on and take a water sample and shut me down. None of that's happening."

Once Knight was aware of the post, he called all area hospitals to check if it was possible. It turns out what was described cannot happen in a chlorinated pool and is mostly found in the Amazon and Africa.

"It's kind of a scary thought, especially when kids come here on a daily basis."

"I think it's pretty dumb, to be honest with you. I've been coming here for 20-plus years. I think it's just somebody trying to get a little publicity or just make rumors."

A rumor Knight is considering taking legal action over if it hurts his business. Since opening, he says they've never experienced a waterborne illness.

"We maintain our water. Our filtrations run 24-hours a day. Our chemical systems are computer-controlled and we manually verify that they're doing exactly what we want them to do."

Knight's Action Park is up and running. Since the post was taken down, a woman did call the owner to apologize. She says she was misinformed after hearing it from other people.

The good news is everyone says it won't stop them from coming back.

It seems Illinois isn't the only place handling a bacterial rumor. Indiana's state park posted on its Facebook there's a false post about a child dying from a blue-green algae after visiting one of its parks. 


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