Home » The Waterworld Tragedy In Concord – 25 Years Ago This Month

The Waterworld Tragedy In Concord – 25 Years Ago This Month


25-years-ago this month, one person died and over 30 were seriously injured after a waterslide collapsed at Waterworld in Concord on June 2, 1997.

The slide ripped apart after several students on a field trip from Napa High School attempted to pack the attraction to see how many kids could slide down at once.


18-year-old Napa High student Quimby Ghilotti died about 45-minutes after falling 40-feet. The cause of death was blunt force head injury, according to the Contra Costa County Coroner’s report.

QUESTION: Were you at Waterworld during the tragedy? If so, tell us what you experienced that day.


Dawg June 13, 2022 - 4:26 PM - 4:26 PM

I wasn’t there, but I remember the incident. It’s always tragic when innocent kids are badly injured or killed. They were kids, doing what kids do…clowning around and enjoying themselves. Of all the stupid things I did as a kid, it’s a miracle that I’ve never been seriously hurt.
Condolences to the family.

Tod June 13, 2022 - 5:03 PM - 5:03 PM

If DA Diana Becton did her damned job correctly…

J June 13, 2022 - 6:49 PM - 6:49 PM

What prosecute the surviving kids? That sounds harsh, and I’m not for that at all.

Yaz June 13, 2022 - 7:51 PM - 7:51 PM

The DA in 1997 was Gary T. Yancey, but okay…

Tod June 14, 2022 - 10:19 AM - 10:19 AM


TTD June 13, 2022 - 8:20 PM - 8:20 PM

I wasn’t at Waterworld at the time of the incident; however, I drove by as all the emergency vehicles were racing to Waterworld. I can’t believe the insensitive and political comments that are being made as this was an incredibly sad situation.

CS June 13, 2022 - 9:01 PM - 9:01 PM

I wasn’t there but I was at work across the street at the Hungry Hunter when it happened. All the employees were looking out the windows trying to figure out why there were so many police and ambulance sirens. It wasn’t until we saw it on the news in the bar that we found it what was happening. So tragic!

Old Timer June 13, 2022 - 9:21 PM - 9:21 PM

Why bring this up.We have enough bad news to deal with.People don’t need to be reminded of these kind of tragedis.

Dr. Jellyfinger June 14, 2022 - 6:42 AM - 6:42 AM

It’s one thing to note a somber anniversary but some of you people are just plain ghoulish.

Reasonable June 14, 2022 - 7:44 AM - 7:44 AM

I agree, More out of respect for the families and ones involved.

DONK June 14, 2022 - 12:24 PM - 12:24 PM

hey this article could save a childs life. Hey kids dont be stupid. Take calculated risks only. This was not calculated and a little girl was killed by her and her friends’ absolute stupidity. Should have done it on the bigger tube riding slides not the bareback. Well probably shouldnt have done it at all. I was a teen when this happened with a season pass. I did some stupid stuff there but I would have NEVER been stupid enough to do this.

JR June 13, 2022 - 9:51 PM - 9:51 PM

I worked about 1/2 mile from Waterford. My co-workers and I heard all the sirens and saw several helicopters. We set up a TV to find out what was going on. So heartbreaking. We were all in tears.

TraumaRx June 13, 2022 - 10:02 PM - 10:02 PM

Reminder seatbelts saves lives. Always buckle up pls.

Lol what June 14, 2022 - 7:22 AM - 7:22 AM

Mind sharing some insight on how to plan to buckle up for a collapsing water slide?

Michelle June 14, 2022 - 5:21 AM - 5:21 AM

I remember how hot it was that day. We were living in Concord in our first home off of Clayton Road and Bable ln. We were outside in our backyard with our two toddlers as they were swimming in their kiddie pool. There was a loud boom, followed by sirens like I had never heard before. My husband and I knew something awful had happened but It took until the evening news until we knew what had happened. It was devastating. My husband and I never allowed for our children to go to Water World because if this accident.. Today, everytime I am at Home Depot, and I look over at the big slide structures, my memory goes back to that day and how awful it was. My heart goes out to the family who lost this child, and all of the children who were involved in this tragedy.

Silva June 14, 2022 - 11:56 AM - 11:56 AM

I’m no expert, but it seems like a far distance to hear the failure of a big piece of plastic. Sound travel can be very odd and unexpected though.

Bs June 15, 2022 - 7:18 AM - 7:18 AM

Please Note: Users who use multiple names will be deleted. Please choose ONE name so others can easily chat with you.

sam malone June 14, 2022 - 7:08 AM - 7:08 AM

Anticipated slow news day? Why bring this up for the family and friends that have to relive this everyday?

Jana June 14, 2022 - 7:49 AM - 7:49 AM

I worked at the old AAA office that was next to DMV. From our 2nd floor office window we had a clear view of the slide. We could see the broken pieces hanging from what was left of the slide.

American Citizen June 14, 2022 - 10:16 AM - 10:16 AM

I was a Contra Costa Co. Paramedic and we were dispatched to this call as multiple units responded. However we were cancelled en-route by dispatch.

Why is this being brought up? It is like pouring salt into old wounds.

anon June 14, 2022 - 11:11 AM - 11:11 AM

Please Note: Users who use multiple names will be deleted. Please choose ONE name so others can easily chat with you.

Two Wheeler June 14, 2022 - 11:15 AM - 11:15 AM

As one of the primary first responders who went to Waterworld that day, it was an incredibly horrible event. To this day, I still recall what I did while on scene, and I have never forgotten Quimby’s name.
A sad day.

Steven Powers June 14, 2022 - 3:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Two Wheeler. I remember that as well. Probably never forget either

Silva June 14, 2022 - 12:12 PM - 12:12 PM

You ask why this is being brought up again, after all this time? IMHO, many parents will appreciate this as an opportunity for a good teaching moment about the value of rules, and why we have them. And this quote from George Santayana from his work entitled “The Life of Reason” applies to a great multitude of situations, including this one; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”.

DONK June 14, 2022 - 12:27 PM - 12:27 PM

take this as a lesson for parents and their children. PLAY STUPID PRANKS AND YOU CAN END UP DEAD.

Gr8scot June 14, 2022 - 11:23 PM - 11:23 PM

Wow. How can people comment on this when they can’t even read/comprehend the question.
“QUESTION: Were you at Waterworld during the tragedy? If so, tell us what you experienced that day.”
Please fully read before commenting. JHC
AT! Not Close to.

Cowellian June 15, 2022 - 10:49 AM - 10:49 AM

Were you actually AT Waterworld that day, or should we assume that your response was totally irrelevant?

Bluebird June 15, 2022 - 9:36 AM - 9:36 AM

I was working on the 9th floor of the Gateway Building on Willow Pass Road watching in horror with my co-workers from the balcony. Such a terrible tragedy for all involved.

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