Investigation continues into drowning death of teen at Livingston Parish water park

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Stephen Rastanis recalls his visit to Cajun Lagoon Water Park last week with his three grandchildren.

"There's just a mass of kids everywhere. It was just utter chaos out there, it was utter chaos," said Rastanis.

The park according to its website features a series of inflatable mazes, slides and obstacles that float on the man-made lagoon. The layout is a set-up that Rastanis says was extremely difficult to navigate.

"The rest of it all the way around the perimeter there's nothing to grab, so if you're in the water and you get in trouble there's nothing to grab and then if you're near part where kids are trying to climb up nothing stops you from getting shoved up underneath these floats and getting trapped down there," said Rastanis.

On Tuesday, 14 year old Nicholas Kissner drowned in Cajun Lagoon. A spokesman for the park, who declined to go on camera, said on that day five certified life-guards were on duty.

Rastanis believes the park would have benefited from a heavier life guard presence, at least when he visited last week.

"I noticed a couple chairs back there and kept looking to see if there were life guards back there and never saw a life guard back there, never saw anyone back there. Just the one person we saw when we initially got there and never saw anybody again," added Rastanis.

Brant Thompson is Deputy Chief for the State Fire Marshal and says his office was one of the agencies that responded to the scene. However Thompson adds his agents determined the state fire marshal had no jurisdiction.

"What we have are a number of structures connected together that float atop this water body and none of it fits within the criteria and within statutory mandate to regulate amusement attractions," said Thompson.

Kissner was at Cajun Lagoon with members of a youth church group and had just been at his brother's wedding two weeks before. His family was too distraught to speak to us on camera but they like Rastanis, also question if Cajun Lagoon is adequately staffed for the amount of swimmers in the water.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office says its investigation is ongoing.

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