California park loses $5.4 million in Ferris wheel judgment
(Saturday, December 28, 2002) - A California Superior Court judge has ordered Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom Adventure Park in
Redlands, California to pay nearly $5 million to a 37-year-old man who was seriously injured in an accident on the park's
Ferris wheel last year. The man fell 35 feet from his car on February 3, 2001, after his lap bar failed. The man's lower leg,
ankle and heel were crushed in the fall.
The judge ruled the accident a result of park negligence and found that the ride operator failed to ensure that the man's safety
bar was properly latched, that the lap bar mechanism itself was poorly maintained, and that it appeared to be functioning when
it was not.
The attorney representing the park called the decision a "travesty of justice."
The attorney representing the victim said he hoped the case would bring attention to what he called a lack of oversight
in the amusement park industry.
The park will pay $4.9 million to the victim and another $500,000 to his son, who witnessed the accident from his own seat
on the ride.
Ride inspector guilty of manslaughter in Super Trooper death case
(Tuesday, November 26, 2002) - A British jury has found a ride inspector guilty of manslaughter in connection with the death of
two people at a fair in west London in May, 2000. The inspector, a 52-year-old man, was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter
and two breaches of health and safety laws. He was accused of criminal negligence, having failed to notice cracks and rust in an
18-year-old Super Trooper ride when he inspected it on May 5, 2000. A few weeks later, on May 27, a car carrying two people
detached from the ride, flew through the air and crashed into a toy stall, killing a 28-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man.
Another passenger was seriously injured.
Investigators found that the frame of the victims' car was cracked, rusty and fatigued. They also found similar cracks around
several other seats on the ride, as well as several other "disastrous defects," including cracks and rust in the ride's turret and
The owner of the ride has been charged with a breach of health and safety laws.
One dead, two injured after car flies off Super Trooper ride at fair (5/27/00)
Human Catapult rider misses net, killed
(Sunday, November 24, 2002) - At Middle Moor Water Park in Somerset, England, a 19-year-old man was killed after he was flung
from a catapult device 100 feet through the air and fell short of a safety net. The machine, a replica of a medieval trebuchet, is owned
and operated by a group known as the Human Catapult Club.
The device was not subject to any independent safety check, and its owners were allowed to operate it without any kind of license.
However, a spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive says that the machine does fall under health and safety legislation and
operators had a duty to ensure that it was safe.
The victim paid the machine's owners 20 pounds to ride.
Avon and Somerset Police and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating, and criminal charges are possible.
The Dangerous Sports Club
Six Flags Over Texas settles Roaring Rapids lawsuit for $1.4 million
(Saturday, November 16, 2002) - Six Flags Over Texas has settled a lawsuit brought against it by a family that nearly drowned
in a 1999 accident on the park's Roaring Rapids ride. The family received $1.49 million from Six Flags and Canyon Manufacturing,
the company responsible for the part of the ride that was faulted in the accident.
The lawyer for the family complained that it took the park three years to come to an agreement. The park says it worked as
quickly as possible to settle with the family.
The accident happened on the park's Roaring Rapids ride on March 21, 1999. A raft capsized, spilling its riders into the water.
One woman was killed in the accident, and ten others were seriously injured. The park has now settled all of the lawsuits which
victims and their families had brought against it.
Six Flags is now suing Canyon Manufacturing, blaming the company for the malfunction which led to the accident.
Boy, 8, to blame for roller coaster accident, says state
(Wednesday, November 6, 2002) - The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety says that a boy's injury on a roller coaster
at a fair in Topsfield last month was the result of his behavior and not the result of a mechanical problem. The child, 8, was injured
on the Grand Prix roller coaster at the Topsfield Fair on October 9. According to the report, the child was in a "crouching or
semi-standing position during the ride," and was grabbing for steel support bars that border the ride's track. As a result, his body
was eventually pulled from his car and struck one of the supports. He sustained lacerations, a skull fracture and facial fractures,
and remained hospitalized for three days.
The Grand Prix is owned and operated by Fiesta Shows of Seabrook, New Hampshire. The company says it is unaware of any
other accidents involving Grand Prix roller coasters.
The ride operates without any seat belts or restraint bars, as there are no industry or government regulations that call for their
use on the ride.
Boy, 8, injured on roller coaster at Massachusetts fair (10/9/02)
Zipper ride injures 2 at fair
(Sunday, October 13, 2002) - At California's Tehama County Fair, two boys were injured in an accident involving a Zipper ride.
The two, ages 10 and 13, were thrown 10-12 feet to the ground when the ride jerked forward and began to move as they exited
their car. Both of the boys suffered cuts and bruises and one of them fractured his wrist.
The ride is owned and operated by Midway of Fun of Oroville, California.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.
Two years ago, a similar accident injured two women at a Minnesota carnival. As they were being let off a Zipper ride, the
ride jerked forward, throwing the two to the ground. One woman was hospitalized.
Two women fall from Zipper ride at Minnesota carnival (8/3/00)
Re-Mix accident blamed on design flaw
(Wednesday, October 9, 2002) - A report released by the Ohio Department of Agriculture says a faulty ride design caused
an arm to fly off an amusement ride at the Ohio State Fair in August, injuring two riders. Investigators say they found multiple
cracks in the ride's welds, which appeared to be rusting from the inside out.
The Re-Mix features six arms which hold three pairs of seats at their ends. During the ride, the arms lift and rotate, while the
seats tilt outward as they spin around.
The ride's manufacturer, Tivoli of England, has been notified of the problem. The ride's owner, Wood Entertainment of San
Antonio, Texas, agreed with the findings of the report.
Seat flies off ride at Ohio State Fair; 2 injured (8/15/02)
CPSC: 8,300 amusement ride injuries in 2001
(Tuesday, October 1, 2002) - A new report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there
were 8,313 non-occupational amusement ride injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2001, down from an estimated
10,000 injuries in 2000. Out of the estimated 8,313 injuries, 6,704 were attributed to fixed-site rides, and 1,609 were attributed
to mobile rides.
The most significant item reported by the Commission was the increased number of inflatable ride accidents and injuries:
nearly 2,000 injuries were attributed to inflatable rides in 2001. The Commission also noted a significant increase in the total
number of fixed-site ride injuries, and a significant decrease in the total number of mobile ride injuries.
The number of amusement ride fatalities has not changed significantly. From 1987 to 2000, there were an estimated 62
non-occupational amusement ride deaths, representing an average of 4.4 fatalities per year. More than two-thirds of the
fatalities occurred at fixed sites.
Carnival ride operator arrested, charged with working while intoxicated
(Wednesday, September 25, 2002) - A carnival ride operator was arrested at the South Plains Fair in Lubbock, Texas, after he
failed three sobriety tests. Local police officers say that they were called over to the ride the man had been operating by a patron
who thought that the operator might have been drunk. The worker, a 47-year-old employee of Reed Exposition Midways, was
arrested and now faces a charge of operating an amusement ride while intoxicated, a crime which carries with it a maximum
penalty of 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
The owner of Reed Exposition says that a ride supervisor noticed that the man was drunk and that the supervisor called the police
over to the ride. He also says that all of his rides are safe, that alcoholism among carnival workers is rare, and that carnival ride
operators are well-trained and well-qualified. However, speaking to KCBD News of Texas, one ride operator said, "You don't
fill out nothing. You just give them your ID and Social Security Number and they take your name and they put you on the ride
you want to work."
The operator is not alone in his criticism of carnival worker training and standards. In a 2001 court case in West Virginia, an
employee of a carnival operator named Shaw and Sons Carnival told a judge that he never completed an application for his job
as a carnival ride operator, and that he had never been interviewed about his qualifications or whether he had any disabilities or
drug or alcohol problems. He also told the judge that the only thing he had to do to get hired was show identification. The man
had been operating a kiddie roller coaster when a 7-year-old girl was seriously injured. Attorneys for the victim argued that he was
mentally retarded. The carnival company ultimately settled the case.
Family sues carnival ride operator (8/15/01)
Carnival operator settles suit (8/16/01)
Ride worker says training, standards lax (8/16/01)
OSHA blames operator, training for Marine World Starfish accident
(Monday, August 26, 2002) - California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has concluded its investigation
into the June 8 Starfish accident at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California by ordering the park to modify the ride's restraint
system and re-train the ride's operators. In its report, OSHA said that the accident, which left a 4-year-old girl seriously injured,
could have been avoided had the ride operator made sure that the girl was seated properly. The girl, who was riding with her
mother, was seated on the outside of the car where her mother -- the larger passenger -- should have been seated, according to
the manufacturer's specifications.
The Starfish, more commonly known as the Trabant, or Wipeout, features cars which surround a platform which lifts and tilts
while it rotates. The girl, who was thrown from her car as it passed the highest point of the ride, spent a week in a hospital
suffering from internal head injuries, spleen laceration, and multiple broken bones, but was expected to recover.
The ride operator reported to the park that he believed the two were seated properly, but that he was "not 100 percent sure."
"If the operator was properly trained to identify the situation, the accident could have been prevented," said a spokesman for
OSHA's Department of Industrial Relations.
"The bottom line here is the position of the passengers was totally incorrect."
OSHA reported that the girl and her mother were both unaware of the seating requirements for the ride, and that the operator "failed
to notice and correct the seating position for them when he made his lap bar check before starting the ride."
"The operator walked around and checked the lap bars without saying anything regarding their seating positions."
OSHA also found other problems that may have contributed to the accident.
"The posted safety signage at the entrance to the ride did not inform the passengers that the larger person must sit in the
outside position. Decals that are supposed to be posted on the outside of the tub regarding the seating location of passengers
were missing. The operator's instructions to the passengers...did not include the requirement of the larger person sitting on the
OSHA says that the ride's existing restraint system "is not adequate to secure passengers in the seat," and has ordered
the ride to remain closed until the park designs a new restraint system.
A spokesman for the park disputes the state's findings, but has agreed to keep the ride closed.
Last May, a 41-year-old woman fell from the same ride and suffered minor injuries. She is suing the park and the
ride's manufacturer, Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas.
Accident at Six Flags Marine World injures woman (5/12/01)
Girl, 4, injured in fall from ride at Six Flags Marine World (6/8/02)
Wyandot Lake chlorine cloud caused by human error, says state
(Saturday, August 24, 2002) - The Ohio Department of Agriculture has completed its investigation into a chlorine cloud
which sickened guests at Wyandot Lake theme park in Powell, Ohio in June, citing "human error" as the cause of the
problem. More than twenty people were treated for respiratory problems and vomiting after spending time in a wave pool
at the park on June 30. Witnesses reported seeing a green cloud above the waters of the pool.
The state tested the pool's waterlines and equipment and found them to be working properly. Investigators believe that
the computer settings which control the flow of water, chlorine and hydrochloric acid had been set improperly.
The park denies any responsibility, but has not suggested any other possible causes of the cloud. A spokesman says that
the park "stands by" the quality of its water.
Wyandot Lake is owned and operated by Six Flags of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Seven hospitalized after chlorine spill at Six Flags Fiesta Texas (7/8/00)
Eight riders treated for inhaling chlorine fumes at Paramount's Carowinds (6/9/01)
Twenty people treated for illnesses after water rides at Wyandot Lake (6/30/02)
Seat flies off ride at Ohio State Fair; 2 injured
(Thursday, August 15, 2002) - At the Ohio State Fair in Colombus, Ohio, two men were injured while riding an amusement ride
called the Re-Mix when their seat flew off the ride and sent them flying 15 feet through the air. The men, who were strapped and
locked into their seats, were flung over the ride's guard rails into a trailer, and ultimately landed face-first on the ground near a
stage. The two were rushed to hospital where they were treated and later released, having escaped serious injury.
The Re-Mix is owned and operated by Wood Entertainment of San Antonio, Texas. It features six arms which hold three pairs
of seats at their ends. During the ride, the arms lift and rotate, while the seats tilt outward as they spin around.
Investigators say that the accident was a result of a welding break.
The ride passed a state inspection on Tuesday, and had also passed several daily inspections by Wood Entertainment and
Amusements of America, the company which operates most of the fair's midway rides.
The Re-Mix has been banned from operating anywhere in the state of Ohio until it is fixed and passes a state inspection,
and until its manufacturer, Tivoli Rides of England, addresses possible structural problems. At least one other Re-Mix ride,
operating in New York, has also been shut down.
A spokeswoman for the Ohio State Fair maintains that there have been no accidents at the fair in the past 10 years,
however, the fair's records would not even include the Re-Mix accident because only accidents which involve overnight stays
at hospitals are counted by the fair as accidents. Using that standard, the fair also would not consider last Monday's malfunction
on the Big Sling ride an accident. Two people were trapped on the Big Sling 100 feet in the air for about 20 minutes after a cable
snapped. Those riders were not injured.
Slingshot ride cable snaps at Ohio State Fair, stranding riders (8/5/02)
Knott's Berry Farm sued in death of roller coaster rider
(Friday, August 9, 2002) - The family of the woman who died of a ruptured brain aneurysm after riding the Montezuma's
Revenge roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm last summer is suing the park for an unspecified amount of money. The
20-year-old woman had a pre-existing brain aneurysm which burst, causing her to collapse during her ride on the roller
coaster. She was taken to a local hospital where she died hours later.
The lawsuit claims that Knott's Berry Farm was negligent because it failed to adequately warn people of the ride's potential
An investigation by California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded that the woman's injury was not
caused by the ride.
The park has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
Woman, 20, dies from ruptured brain aneurysm after roller coaster ride (9/1/01)
Montezuma's Revenge not to blame for woman's death, says state (9/5/01)
Ghost Town in the Sky chairlift malfunctions again, strands riders
(Saturday, July 20, 2002) - At Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, 26 people were left
stranded after the park's mountain-side chairlift ride broke down. It took workers two hours to rescue the passengers, five of
whom were slightly injured.
The chairlift transports passengers to the top of a mountain where the park is located.
The same ride malfunctioned on June 30, leaving 42 people stranded for up to four hours. Three people received minor injuries.
The North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating.
Chairlift malfunctions, strands riders for hours in North Carolina (6/30/02)
Poor maintenance to blame for deadly amusement ride fire
(Sunday, July 14, 2002) - Investigators in Thailand have concluded that last month's amusement ride fire which killed two
children was sparked by a faulty ventilation fan. The accident happened on a skytrain ride at Fashion Island amusement park,
an indoor facility at a shopping center in Ban Chan, Thailand.
The fan, which was located at the top of the car in which the children were riding, overheated, resulting in the deadly fire.
Two other children who jumped from the ride were also injured.
A police chief who led the investigation said that the fan was old and in poor condition before the accident.
"Investigators concluded the fire was due to the recklessness of the individuals responsible for the upkeep of the ride.
They failed to to regularly examine the condition of the ride and keep it in good condition."
The manager of the park, the owner of the ride and those responsible for its maintenance face criminal charges.
Amusement ride fire kills two (6/23/02)
Lake Compounce sued in Boulder Dash death
(Friday, July 5, 2002) - The family of the employee who was killed in a roller coaster accident at Lake Compounce last year is
suing the park for negligence. The employee, a 23-year-old groundskeeper, was killed while trimming weeds underneath the
track of the park's Boulder Dash roller coaster last June. He was wearing plugs in his ears to protect them from the loud noise
of the weed-cutting equipment he was using at the time, and was unable to hear an oncoming train rolling toward him. He was
struck by the train and died instantly. The train was on a test run before the ride opened.
Last December, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the park for ten safety violations
in connection with the accident, and fined Lake Compounce $14,500.
The fatality was the park's third in just two years. On July 1, 2000, a 6-year-old boy fell off his inner tube while riding the park's
Lake Plunge water slide. Lifeguards found him a half-hour later, curled up in a fetal position at the bottom of the lake,
15 feet below the surface of the water. He never regained consciousness, and died one week later. A police investigation later
concluded that the park was partly to blame for the death. On August 21, 1999, a 16-year-old park employee died from injuries
he suffered from an accident on the park's Tornado ride a day earlier. He was struck by the ride and dragged underneath it. That
incident led OSHA to fine the park $7,000 for safety violations, saying that its management failed to use "feasible and acceptable
methods" to prevent employees from entering the area of ride rotation. The citation also said that Lake Compounce "did not furnish
employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards and that were causing or likely to cause death
or serious physical harm to employees."
The Boulder Dash lawsuit says that the park's safety procedures did not comply with industry and federal safety guidelines.
It says that the park failed to implement a safety "lock-out system," which would have prevented anyone from operating the ride
while workers were on or around it. It also faults the park for failing to train park mechanics to avoid conducting test runs with
workers underneath the tracks, or to check with groundskeepers by way of two-way radios to be sure that the area is clear.
Those guidelines are standards of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
The park mechanic who dispatched the train which struck the victim said that there was no park protocol to determine whether
there were any maintenance workers in the area around the ride. Other employees who worked with the victim said that they were
never told to leave the area, and that none of the groundskeepers were given safety training before they began working at the park.
The attorney representing the victim's estate told reporters that it was hard to believe that "there were still safety violations
going on" despite the fact that there had been two fatalities in the park's previous two years of operation.
"When you have a situation where you have a death in your park, then another death, you would hope somebody would
conduct a generalized inquiry into all safety procedures and make sure employees are well trained."
Lake Compounce denies all the allegations of the lawsuit and all responsibility for the accident.
"It is our intention to vigorously defend our position," said Richard Bisi, a park spokesman.
Twenty people treated for illnesses after water rides at Wyandot Lake
(Sunday, June 30, 2002) - Twenty people have been treated at a hospital for illnesses including respiratory problems and
vomiting after spending time on water rides at Wyandot Lake park in Powell, Ohio. Eighteen of those were treated and
released while two children remain hospitalized in poor condition.
The cause of the sicknesses has not yet been confirmed, however witnesses reported seeing a green cloud above the waters
of the wave pool.
The wave pool and water rides were evacuated and shut down and the incident is under investigation.
Wyandot Lake is owned and operated by Six Flags of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Seven hospitalized after chlorine spill at Six Flags Fiesta Texas (7/8/00)
Eight riders treated for inhaling chlorine fumes at Paramount's Carowinds (6/9/01)
Girl, 4, injured in fall from ride at Six Flags Marine World
(Saturday, June 8, 2002) - At Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California, a four-year-old girl was seriously injured when she fell
from the Starfish amusement ride. The girl, who met the ride's minimum height requirement, was riding with her mother at the time
of the accident. She was hospitalized in critical condition with internal head injuries.
The Starfish, more commonly known as the Trabant, or Wipeout, features cars which surround a platform which lifts and tilts while
The ride had recently passed an inspection by California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is now closed,
pending an OSHA investigation.
Park officials say that the girl's safety restraints were closed and locked, and they have not yet determined how she fell from the
Last May, a 41-year-old woman fell from the same ride and suffered minor injuries. She is suing the park and the ride's
manufacturer, Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas.
Accident at Six Flags Marine World injures woman (5/12/01)
Gravitron malfunctions at Virginia carnival
(Saturday, June 1, 2002) - At a carnival in Springfield, Virginia, a Gravitron amusement ride malfunctioned and failed to stop for
nearly 20 minutes, sending 6 people to the hospital and leaving 16 others complaining of dizziness, nausea, and headaches.
Another person fainted before the ride finally stopped.
The Gravitron consists of an enclosed cylinder which spins at high speeds, using centrifugal force to hold riders to their seats
as the seats rise, giving the illusion that the floor is dropping out.
Investigators ordered the Gravitron shut down. Another ride operating at the carnival -- a kiddie boat ride -- was also ordered
The carnival is owned and operated by World Wide Entertainment Group of Chesapeake, Virginia.
The carnival manager declined to speak to a news reporter from WTOP radio in Washington, however the reporter did get this
response from an employee: "So why do you have to come out here? This is none of your business."
One killed, dozens injured in Kennywood ride collapse
(Friday, May 31, 2002) - At Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a severe storm caused the roof of an amusement ride
called The Whip to collapse, killing a 30-year-old woman and injuring as many as 50 people. The woman, who had just left the
line for the ride, was walking toward another building when winds suddenly lifted the ride's roof and moved it about 20 feet until
it crashed to the ground, pinning the victim against an iron fence. She was crushed and died at the scene. As many as 100
people may have been trapped underneath the roof. Most of the injuries suffered as a result of the storm were not serious.
The storm's strong winds also uprooted trees, downed power lines and damaged several other buildings in or near the park,
sending branches and other debris flying about the area.
The park was shut down after the accident and park officials have not said when it will reopen.
The Whip, one of the park's oldest rides, features 16 cars which spin as they rotate about an oblong track. It originally opened in
1918 but had been relocated to its current building in 1995.
The collapse happened during a tornado warning which had been issued for Allegheny County, where the park is located.
Boy struck by roller coaster at Alton Towers
(Thursday, May 30, 2002) - At Alton Towers in North Staffs, England, a boy was seriously injured after he entered a restricted
area underneath the Nemesis roller coaster and struck by a car. Park officials say that the operators of the ride had shouted
warnings to the boy and activated the ride's emergency stop system, but could not prevent the collision.
The boy suffered lacerations to his head and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Investigators from the Health and Safety Executive allowed the park to continue operation of the ride.
On Sunday, a man was killed in a similar accident at Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia. A 56-year-old employee was
struck by the leg of a passenger on the Batman The Ride roller coaster and killed. Park officials say that the man was in a
restricted area underneath the track of the ride when the accident happened. The rider, who was seated in the ride's front car,
sustained a leg injury and was treated at a local hospital.
Batman The Ride and Nemesis are inverted, looping roller coasters. Trains travel beneath an overhead track, allowing
riders' legs to dangle below the trains.
In a statement released by Alton Towers, park officials said that the immediate reaction of the staff "resulted in less serious injuries
than might otherwise have been sustained."
"Alton Towers very much regrets this incident and will of course continue to monitor the boy’s condition."
Employee killed in roller coaster accident at Six Flags Over Georgia
(Sunday, May 26, 2002) - At Six Flags Over Georgia, a 56-year-old employee was struck by the leg of a passenger on the
Batman The Ride roller coaster and killed. Park officials say that the man was in a restricted area underneath the track of the
ride when the accident happened. The rider, who was seated in the ride's front car, sustained a leg injury and was treated at a local
hospital. There were 27 other people on board the ride at the time of the accident, none of whom were injured.
Batman The Ride is an inverted, looping roller coaster which reaches speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Inverted roller coaster
trains travel beneath an overhead track, allowing riders' legs to dangle below the trains.
In August, 1995, a similar accident happened at Morey's Piers amusement park in Wildwood, New Jersey. A 36-year-old
maintenance worker was killed after he was struck in the head by the foot of a passenger riding the Great Nor'Easter, an inverted
looping roller coaster. The passenger was also injured.
Report: list of documented brain injuries on thrill rides triples
(Tuesday, May 7, 2002) - Representative Edward Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, has released an inventory of brain trauma cases associated with rides on roller coasters and other thrill rides, a
problem that he has previously urged the theme park industry to address by placing limits on the gravitational forces ('g-forces')
associated with some poorly designed or overly powerful roller coasters. The list more than triples the number of known cases of
this type, where the injury to the brain occurs simply from the motion of the ride, not from any direct trauma, accident, or operator
error. Eight cases were fatal, all of them occurring since 1992.
"This is a rapidly growing problem that will soar out of control if the industry does not wake up to its responsibility to the riding
public," said Markey. "The average roller coaster riders are not graduates of astronaut training like John Glenn or Sally Ride, and
they surely should not be placed in a situation where the forces of the ride test the limits of human endurance."
The latest inventory includes 58 cases -- 22 published in the medical literature and 36 unpublished cases. Previously,
Representative Markey had released a list of 15 cases culled from the medical literature by the National Institutes of Neurological
Disease and Stroke (NINDS). At that time, Markey noted that 14 of the 15 cases had occurred in the 1990’s, which he noted
coincides with a building boom in the roller coaster industry that was leading to a sharp increase in the average speed and force
designed into the rides. Today’s updated list reveals a similar pattern, with 51 out of 58 cases, or 88 percent, occurring since
In the United States, 10 cases have occurred in California, 5 in Florida, 4 in Nevada, 4 in Ohio, 6 in Pennsylvania, 6 in Texas,
3 in Virginia, 2 in New Jersey, and 1 each in Colorado, Missouri, Tennessee, and Washington. The other 14 cases are from
outside the United States.
"The industry is playing a very dangerous game if it pretends that all is well on some of these rides," Markey continued. "We need
tough, tight, enforceable g-force standards, and we need them now."
Markey’s call for g-force standards may be answered first by the state of New Jersey, which is reportedly ready to publish
proposed g-force limits on rides in that state.
Six Flags to shut down or modify all Rotor rides
(Thursday, March 28, 2002) - In a settlement with the family of a girl who was injured on the Cajun Cliffhanger rotor ride at its
Gurnee, Illinois theme park in 2000, Six Flags has announced that it will remove or modify all similar amusement rides from its
parks throughout the country.
The Cajun Cliffhanger, more commonly known as the Rotor, was manufactured by Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas. It uses
centrifugal force to pin riders against a spinning circular wall. Once riders are clinging to the wall, the floor beneath them drops
from under their feet. The floor returns as the ride slows to a stop.
Witnesses of the accident say that the floor was raised at the wrong time, and that two girls were injured when their feet got caught
between the wall and the rising floor. The girl whose parents filed the lawsuit lost most of her right toe. The other girl was not
Six Flags says that it will add a rubber safety strip around the floor of the ride to prevent similar accidents.
According to park records, at least twelve other people have been injured on the Cajun Cliffhanger.
The park also agreed to pay the victim an undisclosed sum of money.
Two girls injured on ride at Six Flags Great America (7/19/00)
OSHA: Perilous Plunge restraints "clearly not adequate"
(Tuesday, March 19, 2002) - An investigation by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into the fatal
September 21 accident on the Perilous Plunge water ride at Knott's Berry Farm has concluded that the ride's restraint system
was "clearly not adequate." OSHA says that the accident, in which a 40-year-old woman weighing close to 300 pounds was
ejected from her seat and killed after falling 100 feet to the ground, could have been avoided had the ride been equipped with a
better restraint system.
Perilious Plunge was manufactured by Intamin AG of Switzerland and opened in 2000 as the "world's tallest, steepest, and wettest
The OSHA report stated that: "While the possibility cannot be excluded that more optimal placement or adjustment of the seat belt
and/or lap bar could have been achieved so as to have prevented the accident or mitigated its outcome, the design of the restraint
system was clearly not adequate to protect against the type of event that resulted in the deceased's separation from her seat."
The report also says that while park employees did check to make sure that the passengers who were seated on the right side of
the victim's boat had been properly secured by lap bars, they may not have done so for passengers on the left side of the boat,
where the victim was seated. Ride operating procedures set forth by Intamin and Knott's state that ride operators must visually
check the seat belt, and that "lap bar restraints are to be checked by 'pushing down, then up.'" OSHA added, however, that there
is no evidence to suggest that a more thorough check of the left side would have resulted in any adjustment of the victim's lap
OSHA is calling for the ride's restraint system to be modified so that riders of all body sizes will be adequately secured, and says
that Knott's should sponsor another training program for its employees before they operate the ride again.
Knott's Berry Farm says it will work with Intamin to implement OSHA's recommendations.
S&S Power announces VertiGo engineering review
(Wednesday, March 6, 2002) - S&S Power has announced the findings of the independent engineering review of the VertiGo ride
at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. As previously reported, one of the tower legs of the VertiGo ride developed a
crack during the off-season, causing a portion of a tower leg to break. There were no injuries associated with the incident and there
have been no injuries during the thousands of cycles that the ride has been in operation at Cedar Point and at two other major
Internationally recognized engineering firms and experts were engaged to investigate independently the cause of the incident with
the VertiGo attraction at Cedar Point and to provide third-party recommendations for engineering modifications. The crack was
determined to be caused by a vortex-shedding phenomenon that resulted from the towers standing during the off-season without
the support of the attached passenger cart and cables or other support while the ride was not in use. Ultrasound inspection of the
two similar rides that were in operation at two other amusement parks at the time of the incident at Cedar Point show that those
rides have no evidence of vortex shedding, due to the continuous attachment of the passenger cart and cables. In conjunction with
the independent engineering firms, S&S has developed methods that eliminate the circumstances that can create a vortex-shedding
Separately, Cedar Fair, the owner of Cedar Point and Knott’s Berry Farm, at which a second VertiGo attraction is also located, has
indicated that, due to the publicity associated with the incident at Cedar Point, it will elect to remove the attractions from its parks
and will not allow S&S to make the proposed modifications.
Stan Checketts, founder and Chief Executive Officer of S&S, stated, “It is a shame that guests at these two parks will not have the
opportunity to enjoy the thrill of this ride in the upcoming season. Given the level and extent of outside engineering review performed
in recent months, in my opinion, it is the safest amusement ride in the industry today. The thousands of people who have ridden the
ride since it opened last year have expressed universal excitement, and there have been absolutely no incidents of rider safety
complaints. We have several new sites opening this season and are pleased that park guests who love the ride will still be able to
enjoy the experience.”
S&S Power has over 110 vertical rides in operation throughout the world.
VertiGo ride tower collapses at Cedar Point Park (1/14/02)
Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm to remove S&S VertiGo rides (3/6/02)
Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm to remove S&S VertiGo rides
(Wednesday, March 6, 2002) - Cedar Fair has announced that Cedar Point Park in Sandusky, Ohio and Knott's Berry Farm in
Buena Park, California will remove their new VertiGo thrill rides. The action comes in response to a January accident involving the
VertiGo ride at Cedar Point. One of the ride's 265-foot-tall steel support towers collapsed to the ground. The park was closed for
the season, and no one was in the area to witness the accident. The bottom 65-foot section of the tower remained intact, and the
collapse caused only minimal damage to the surrounding area.
VertiGo is manufactured by S&S Power of Logan, Utah. The ride is a slingshot-type ride which features a triangular carriage which
seats up to six passengers. Riders reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour as the carriage is launched to heights of up to 300
The rides were newly manufactured and opened at the parks last year.
A similar ride operates at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California as Thrill Shot. Six Flags has not yet decided whether it
will keep its version of the ride.
Cedar Point, S&S Power, and the state of Ohio continue their investigation of the January collapse.
VertiGo ride tower collapses at Cedar Point Park (1/14/02)
Mechanical failure blamed for Chaos collapse at Michigan's Adventure
(Wednesday, February 6, 2002) - Investigators from the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services' Bureau of
Commercial Services and the Michigan Carnival-Amusement Safety Board have concluded their investigation of the July 2001
collapse of the Chaos amusement ride at Michigan's Adventure theme park in Muskegon, Michigan. In a report released today,
state investigators say that bolts at the center of the ride loosened, bent, and ultimately broke, causing the ride platform to break
off its axle and crash to the ground.
The Chaos features eighteen cars which border a circular platform. The cars, each of which seat two riders, flip through 360
degrees as the platform lifts, tilts and rotates. It had been operating at Michigan's Adventure since 1996. Witnesses of the July 31
accident say they heard a cracking sound, then watched the platform stop and crash to the ground. Apparently, the ride was
spinning as it toppled over, and briefly rolled along the ground like a wheel until it came to rest. Rescue teams used cranes to
stabilize the ride, then worked to free the riders, who were trapped underneath locked over-the-shoulder restraints. Some riders
were trapped for nearly five hours. Thirty-one passengers, most of whom suffered minor injuries, were taken to local hospitals.
According to the report, Michigan's Adventure did not provide any evidence to the state that all required inspections of the ride were
performed and certified by "special commissioned inspectors," as the state requires, nor that the bolts had been inspected
according to the specifications of the ride's manufacturer, Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas. The state also says that the park
failed to provide documentation of regular monthly torque checks of the bolts as required by a service bulletin issued by Chance.
Investigators also say that park inspectors told them that the bolts were visually inspected most of the time, and not checked with
An outside metallurgical laboratory, which was brought into the investigation to examine the ride parts which broke and caused the
collapse, concluded that the parts "were of proper materials and of good workmanship," and that "the most likely cause of the
failure is loosening of the fasteners due to impact loads."
"This resulted in flexing, with subsequent fatigue fractures of the remaining bolts, and final catastrophic overload failure," says the
Michigan's Adventure has been ordered to keep the ride shut down pending a state inspection, however the park says it plans to
remove the ride altogether.
Ride collapses at Michigan's Adventure; 31 injured (7/30/01)
Parks shut down Chaos rides throughout country (7/31/01)
Chaos probe could take weeks, say investigators (8/3/01)
Disney settles Roger Rabbit case
(Saturday, February 2, 2002) - The Walt Disney Company has settled with the family of the boy who was injured in a fall from the
Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin ride at Disneyland in September, 2000. The terms of the settlement are being kept secret, but some
estimate that the amount of the settlement could be as high as $30 million or more.
The boy was 4 years old at the time of the accident. He fell out of his car, got hit by another car under which he became pinned for
some time. He suffered irreversible brain damage as well as serious injuries to his lung, liver, spleen, and pelvis. He was
hospitalized in a coma for several weeks following the accident and is now hospitalized at a rehabilitation facility. He cannot talk or
walk and is sustained through a feeding tube.
In December, 2000, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared the ride unsafe, blaming the
accident on a flawed ride design and operator error. The ride had been ordered closed until several safety modifications were made
VertiGo ride tower collapses at Cedar Point Park
(Monday, January 14, 2002) - At Cedar Point Park in Sandusky, Ohio, a 265-foot-tall steel tower, which is part of the support
structure for one of the park's newest thrill rides, collapsed to the ground. The park is closed for the season, and no one was in the
area to witness the accident. Park officials say that the bottom 65-foot section of the tower remains intact, and that the collapse
caused only minimal damage to the surrounding area.
VertiGo was manufactured by S&S Power of Logan, Utah and is the first if its kind to be installed at a park. It opened at Cedar
Point in August. The ride is a slingshot-type ride which features a triangular carriage which seats up to six passengers. Riders
reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour as the carriage is launched in between the towers to heights of up to 300 feet.
Cedar Point, S&S Power, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture are investigating the cause of the accident.
Cedar Point roller coaster malfunctions; no injuries (8/26/99)
Cedar Point's Millenium Force strands passengers; ride closed (9/2/01)