Parents of a boy killed while under a tent at an Alabama air show have filed civil suit against the tent rental company that provided the tents and organizers of the air show. Five–year–old Josiah Miller was killed at the June 2008 air show when an air conditioning unit connected to a tent fell on the boy, who had sought shelter along with his father under the tent during a severe storm. When a microburst blew down the tent, the father was struck and cut on the hand and arm by a tent, and then the air conditioner, connected to the tent by ductwork, fell on the child.
The lawsuit alleges that the 20 tents set up at the show were anchored improperly and not according to manufacturer instructions.
According to the suit, Steve Whitman, owner and president of All Needz Rental, warned the other defendants, all associated with the air show, that water barrels would not sufficiently anchor the tents. He recommended staking the tents, but according to the suit, the defendants dismissed the recommendation as too costly.
The suit says that to save on labor costs, the air show organizers used prison labor instead of trained installers to set up the tents; that required inspections were not performed; and that air conditioning units and generators were set up closer to the public than allowed by local code.