LIONWOOD, Texas (Reuters) – Jade Mountain is a place of deep, dark, lush green grassland surrounded by a lake and an icy white rock canyon.
But it’s also home to a massive waterpark.
It’s the scene of a violent, high-profile collision between the water park and the city of Lubbock that has left at least 11 people injured and a state investigation is underway.
More than 1,500 people crowded into a crowded hotel lobby on Sunday night to watch a live video feed of the incident on a popular internet service, while another 500 streamed it online from nearby homes.
A woman who identified herself as Jade’s mother sat on a couch in the hotel’s lobby.
She said the park was in lockdown for the duration of the emergency.
“We’ve had people calling us to come up to the hotel,” she said.
“I feel so sorry for the children, but we need them to be safe.”
“There’s nothing that could be done to stop this.
We’re all helpless.”
Lubbock police said on Twitter that it was not possible to provide a statement from the resort because the building was under construction.
The park’s website states that the park is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southern Texas, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Lumberton.
The park’s name is based on a reference to a river that flows into the Colorado River, which flows into Lake Lubbocks.
A statement from Jade Mountain’s parent company, Blue Ridge Water Resort, said on Sunday it was aware of the damage to the resort but would not comment further.
“At this time, it is impossible to comment on the cause of the accident,” the company said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said on Saturday it was investigating the incident and was working with the city and Lubboo to determine whether the waterpark violated safety regulations.
“As we have previously said, the safety of the public and the park residents is our highest priority,” the agency said in a statement.
Lubbocks Mayor Larry Smith told the local news channel KXAN that Jade Mountain “has been a priority of our city” and that the incident had “made our job as citizens of Laco even harder.”
The Associated Press news agency reported on Sunday that the water parks website says Jade Mountain Water Park is a 50-minute drive (80 km) northwest of Lecompton, Texas.
It also said that Jade Water Park, which opened in 2016, has a capacity of 4,500 patrons.
It is not clear whether Jade Mountain has been fined or received any compensation for the incident.
The Associated American Press