2002 NEWS ARCHIVE

JANUARY

  • VertiGo ride tower collapses at Cedar Point Park (1/14/02)
  • Carnival worker charged with manslaughter (1/24/02)

    FEBRUARY

  • Disney settles Roger Rabbit case (2/2/02)
  • Mechanical failure blamed for Chaos collapse at Michigan's Adventure (2/6/02)
  • Six Flags to pay $4 million in Roaring Rapids death (2/22/02)

    MARCH

  • Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm to remove S&S VertiGo rides (3/6/02)
  • S&S Power announces VertiGo engineering review (3/6/02)
  • OSHA: Perilous Plunge restraints "clearly not adequate" (3/19/02)
  • Six Flags to shut down or modify all Rotor rides (3/28/02)
  • Coaster car malfunctions in Nevada (3/29/02)

    APRIL

  • Woman thrown from Octopus ride (4/15/02)

    MAY

  • Bungee jump accident kills 2 in Italy (5/1/02)
  • Roller coaster strands riders at Six Flags Great America (5/5/02)
  • Report: list of documented brain injuries on thrill rides triples (5/7/02)
  • Boy injured in fall from Ferris wheel (5/20/02)
  • Employee killed in roller coaster accident at Six Flags Over Georgia (5/26/02)
  • Man killed in fall from ride at Six Flags Elitch Gardens (5/27/02)
  • Girl, 5, falls from Ferris wheel in Utah (5/27/02)
  • Six Flags Worlds of Adventure employee injured in fall from ride (5/28/02)
  • Boy struck by roller coaster at Alton Towers (5/30/02)
  • One killed, dozens injured in Kennywood ride collapse (5/31/02)

    JUNE

  • Gravitron malfunctions at Virginia carnival (6/1/02)
  • Girl, 4, injured in fall from ride at Six Flags Marine World (6/8/02)
  • Ejection Seat cable snaps at Oregon carnival (6/9/02)
  • Ride malfunctions at New Jersey carnival; several injured (7/12/02)
  • Ride malfunctions at fair; 4 injured (6/15/02)
  • Amusement ride fire kills two (6/23/02)
  • Ferris wheel malfunctions, strands riders for hours (6/28/02)
  • Chairlift malfunctions, strands riders for hours in North Carolina (6/30/02)
  • Twenty people treated for illnesses after water rides at Wyandot Lake (6/30/02)

    JULY

  • Lake Compounce sued in Boulder Dash death (7/5/02)
  • Man dies in boat ride accident (7/11/02)
  • Poor maintenance to blame for deadly amusement ride fire (7/14/02)
  • Girl dies after fall from Ferris wheel (7/15/02)
  • Ride walkway collapses at Silver Dollar City; 21 injured (7/15/02)
  • Empty roller coaster train crashes into truck at Kings Island; no injuries (7/16/02)
  • Ghost Town in the Sky chairlift malfunctions again, strands riders (7/20/02)
  • Log flume cars collide in Cedar Point accident (7/20/02)
  • Girl, 9, injured in fall from Sizzler ride at New York carnival (7/26/02)

    AUGUST

  • Fairground worker killed in Slingshot accident (8/4/02)
  • Slingshot ride cable snaps at Ohio State Fair, stranding riders (8/5/02)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 12 children injured (8/8/02)
  • Ferris wheel malfunction strands riders (8/8/02)
  • Knott's Berry Farm sued in death of roller coaster rider (8/9/02)
  • Seat flies off ride at Ohio State Fair; 2 injured (8/15/02)
  • Eleven stranded atop roller coaster after electrical malfunction (8/15/02)
  • Boy falls from ride at California fair (8/19/02)
  • Wyandot Lake chlorine cloud caused by human error, says state (8/24/02)
  • Five injured on Tilt-A-Whirl at fair (8/25/02)
  • OSHA blames operator, training for Marine World Starfish accident (8/26/02)
  • Man killed in 180-foot fall after bungee cord disengages (8/26/02)

    SEPTEMBER

  • Swing ride collapses at fair; 6 injured (9/8/02)
  • Carnival ride operator arrested, charged with working while intoxicated (9/25/02)

    OCTOBER

  • CPSC: 8,300 amusement ride injuries in 2001 (10/1/02)
  • Boy, 8, injured on roller coaster at Massachusetts fair (10/9/02)
  • Re-Mix accident blamed on design flaw (10/9/02)
  • Carnival worker struck by Zipper ride (10/9/02)
  • Zipper ride injures 2 at fair (10/13/02)
  • Top Scan ride malfunctions, stranding riders for hours (10/14/02)
  • Accident at fair injures five (10/15/02)
  • Carnival worker injured in fall from roller coaster (10/17/02)
  • Carnival worker struck by ride, killed (10/24/02)

    NOVEMBER

  • Boy, 8, to blame for roller coaster accident, says state (11/6/02)
  • Six Flags Over Texas settles Roaring Rapids lawsuit for $1.4 million (11/16/02)
  • Teen seriously injured after "completely safe" free fall ride fails (11/22/02)
  • Human Catapult rider misses net, killed (11/24/02)
  • Ride inspector guilty of manslaughter in Super Trooper death case (11/26/02)

    DECEMBER

  • Roller coaster car derails; ride was closed for maintenance (12/12/02)
  • California park loses $5.4 million in Ferris wheel judgment (12/28/02)


  • 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.


    Roller coaster car derails; ride was closed for maintenance

    (Thursday, December 12, 2002) - At Brighton Pier in Brighton, England, a roller coaster train rushed to a quick stop after a ride operator mistakenly allowed people to board a roller coaster that had a section of its steel track removed for maintenance. As the train neared the end of the ride where the track was incomplete, the operator noticed the gap in the track and engaged the ride's emergency stop brakes. The brakes stopped the train just in time, leaving the front car hanging off the edge of the track. Apparently, the operator did not have clearance to operate the ride and failed to test the ride before passengers were allowed to board.

    The looping roller coaster, called Turbo, had twelve people aboard at the time of the incident. None of the passengers was injured. Riders scoffed at the park's offer to compensate them with a free ride on the Turbo when it reopens.

    The Health and Safety Executive is investigating.


    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 chassis.

    The owner of the ride has been charged with a breach of health and safety laws.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • 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.

    RELATED LINKS:

  • The Dangerous Sports Club
  • Extreme Dreams


    Teen seriously injured after "completely safe" free fall ride fails

    (Friday, November 22, 2002) - At the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, a 13-year-old boy was seriously injured on a free fall-type amusement ride called SCAD Dive. The boy sustained a broken leg and a broken hip after falling 30-40 feet and landing on a 4-inch-thick mattress lying on the floor. The accident happened because a net, which catches riders before they hit the air bag, failed to move into position when the boy jumped. The manufacturer of the ride, Montic Fischer of Germany, says that signal lights had incorrectly indicated to the ride's operators that the net was in position to catch the jumper.

    The ride was shut down, and authorities are investigating.

    The company's website says that the ride is "completely safe."


    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.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    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.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Boy, 8, injured on roller coaster at Massachusetts fair (10/9/02)


    Carnival worker struck by ride, killed

    (Thursday, October 24, 2002) - At the North Carolina State Fair, a carnival worker was struck by an amusement ride and killed. The ride, called Banzai, is a pendulum-style swinging ride. It struck the man in the head after he stepped from the boarding platform into the ride's path to retrieve something. Witnesses say the man was thrown over the top of an adjacent ride and landed near a concession stand. Officials say that the ride should not have been operating with the man standing on the boarding platform.

    A 15-year-old girl was also injured when her footrest struck the man. She was sent to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries, including bruises to her right leg.

    The man worked for Amusements of America, the midway operator of the fair.

    The ride has been shut down as local authorities and safety officials investigate.


    Carnival worker injured in fall from roller coaster

    (Thursday, October 17, 2002) - A 38-year-old carnival worker was injured in an accident at the Orangeburg County Fair in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The man, an employee of Carr Amusement Company, was climbing the ride's framework to inspect a car that had stopped when he slipped and fell 20-25 feet. He suffered a fractured arm and cheekbone.


    Accident at fair injures five

    (Tuesday, October 15, 2002) - At the Hull Fair in Hull, England, four people were rescued by firefighters after being trapped atop a ride called The Bomber. They were treated for hypothermia. Another woman somehow suffered severe head injuries and was hospitalized in critical condition. Officials say they have not determined how the woman sustained her injuries or whether she was on the ride or on the ground.

    The ride was ordered closed along with several others and the Health and Safety Executive is investigating.


    Top Scan ride malfunctions, stranding riders for hours

    (Monday, October 14, 2002) - At Lagoon Park in Farmington, Utah, a Top Scan ride called the Samurai malfunctioned, leaving 28 riders stranded. Park officials blame the mishap on a computer glitch. Employees spent two hours trying to fix the problem, but ultimately used ladders and a bucket truck to rescue the riders, who were locked in their seats about 10 feet off the ground.

    A park spokesman suggested that the evacuation procedure should be implemented much sooner should a similar incident take place and that the ride's contingency plan is under review.

    None of the riders was injured.


    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.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Two women fall from Zipper ride at Minnesota carnival (8/3/00)


    Carnival worker struck by Zipper ride

    (Wednesday, October 9, 2002) - At the Fairfield County Fair in Lancaster, Ohio, a ride operator was struck by a Zipper ride as he walked in its path. The victim is a 35-year-old employee of Bates Amusement of Wintersville, Ohio. He suffered severe head trauma and lacerations and is hospitalized in fair condition.

    Witnesses say that the man was walking around the running ride picking up change which had fallen from people's pockets.


    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.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Seat flies off ride at Ohio State Fair; 2 injured (8/15/02)


    Boy, 8, injured on roller coaster at Massachusetts fair

    (Wednesday, October 9, 2002) - At the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts, an 8-year-old boy was seriously injured in a roller coaster accident. During the ride, the boy somehow sustained cuts to his face and head. Witnesses say the boy was bleeding profusely and covered in blood when the ride stopped.

    The boy was taken to a local hospital where he was reported to be in fair but stable condition.

    The ride, called the Grand Prix, is owned and operated by Fiesta Shows of Seabrook, New Hampshire.

    The accident is under investigation.


    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.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    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.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Family sues carnival ride operator (8/15/01)
  • Carnival operator settles suit (8/16/01)
  • Ride worker says training, standards lax (8/16/01)


    Swing ride collapses at fair; 6 injured

    (Sunday, September 8, 2002) - At the Powhatan County Fair in Powhatan, Virginia, a swing ride collapsed, injuring 9 people. Five of the victims were taken to local hospitals with neck and back injuries. None of the victims' injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

    The ride, called Way Out, has been shut down while the state investigates.


    Man killed in 180-foot fall after bungee cord disengages

    (Monday, August 26, 2002) - At a charity event in Swansea, South Wales, a 22-year-old man attempting a bungee jump was fatally injured when his harness disengaged. The man jumped from the top of 180-foot tall crane and landed in a parking lot. Witnesses say that the harness either snapped or slipped from the man's ankles. The victim suffered head and spinal injuries, and was rushed to a hospital where he died shortly afterward.

    The bungee equipment, which is owned by a company called Freefall Bungee Wales, has been seized by police. The Health and Safety Executive is also investigating.

    Since 1986, at least 18 people have died from bungee jumping accidents worldwide.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    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 outside."

    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.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • 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)


    Five injured on Tilt-A-Whirl at fair

    (Sunday, August 25, 2002) - Five people were injured after a stripped bolt caused a Tilt-A-Whirl car to derail at the Centre County Grange Fair in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. One rider was struck by a section of a metal seat which broke loose during the accident, however none of the riders was seriously injured.

    On Friday, the ride passed one inspection by its operator, Garbick Amusements, and another inspection by Pennsylvania's Bureau of Amusement Rides and Safety Standards.

    The ride has been repaired and reopened.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Tilt-A-Whirl car derails (7/26/01)


    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.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • 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)


    Boy falls from ride at California fair

    (Monday, August 19, 2002) - A 3-year-old boy suffered minor injuries in a fall from a ride called the Kite Flyer at the California State Fair in Sacramento. Investigators believe that the boy left his restraints, however, the accident, which was captured on videotape, is under investigation. The ride, manufactured by Zamperla of Italy, is owned and operated by Ray Cammack Shows of Laveen, Arizona, and may have been operating at the California State Fair with a 36-inch height requirement, as opposed to the 42-inch height requirement specified by its manufacturer.


    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.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Slingshot ride cable snaps at Ohio State Fair, stranding riders (8/5/02)


    Eleven stranded atop roller coaster after electrical malfunction

    (Thursday, August 15, 2002) - Eleven people were left stranded atop a roller coaster at M&D's Scotland's Theme Park in Motherwell, Scotland after an electrical malfunction halted the ride. Firefighters were called to the scene to rescue the trapped riders, two of whom suffered minor injuries.

    The incident occured on a new spinning roller coaster called Jammin.

    Park directors and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating while the ride remains closed.


    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 health hazards.

    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.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • 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)


    Ferris wheel malfunction strands riders

    (Thursday, August 8, 2002) - At York's Wild Kingdom, a zoo and amusement park in York Beach, Maine, 50 people were left stranded on a Ferris wheel ride after a malfunction caused the ride to stop. Firefighters brought the passengers to safety, and no one was injured.

    The ride has been shut down, pending a state inspection.


    Another inflatable ride collapses; 12 children injured

    (Thursday, August 8, 2002) - In Brooklyn, New York, as many as 12 children were injured when an inflatable slide collapsed without warning. Some witnesses say that a gust of wind tipped the slide over, spilling the children onto the ground.

    The accident happened at a day camp for children. Six children were taken to local hospitals, but none of them was seriously injured.

    Employees of the company which owns the ride later packed up the ride and left town, refusing to answer reporters' questions.

    Local police are investigating.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Slingshot ride cable snaps at Ohio State Fair, stranding riders

    (Monday, August 5, 2002) - Two riders were trapped 100 feet in the air for about 20 minutes at the Ohio State Fair after a cable snapped on a slingshot ride called the Big Sling. The ride uses wire rope and a spring pack to propel the cage skyward to heights of up to 180 feet.

    The ride passed its daily inspection prior to the accident.

    The Ohio Department of Agriculture is investigating.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Fairground worker killed in Slingshot accident

    (Sunday, August 4, 2002) - In Waterford, Ireland, a 16-year-old fairground worker died from head injuries he received in an accident involving a Slingshot amusement ride. The Slingshot is an "inverted accelerator" bungee ride which consists of two steel towers with a bungee cord connected to the center of each tower. The cords are stretched toward the ground where they are attached to a steel cage in which two people are seated. The cage is then released, sending the riders on a high-speed vertical launch into mid-air. The bungee cords bounce the riders to a stop, at which time the cage is lowered back down to the loading area.

    The boy, who worked in the loading area, was struck by a part of the ride.

    The accident is under investigation. The ride has been shut down.

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    Girl, 9, injured in fall from Sizzler ride at New York carnival

    (Friday, July 26, 2002) - At a carnival in West Islip, New York, a 9-year-old girl was injured when she fell from a Sizzler ride. The girl's family alleges that the safety bar may not have been closed properly, however the owner of the carnival, Gargano Amusements, claims that the girl "repeatedly tried to stand up in her seat while the ride was in motion," and that the girl had been warned several times by the ride operator to remain seated.

    The girl suffered a lacerated kidney, an inflammed pancreas, and a broken leg.

    The ride had cleared a state inspection prior to the accident.


    Log flume cars collide in Cedar Point accident

    (Saturday, July 20, 2002) - At Cedar Point theme park in Sandusky, Ohio, three of the park's White Water Landing log flume cars were involved in a low-speed collision at a junction where two chutes merge into one. Six people were taken to an area hospital where they were treated and released. No one suffered any serious injuries.

    The ride was scheduled to reopen on Sunday.

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    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.

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    Empty roller coaster train crashes into truck at Kings Island

    (Tuesday, July 16, 2002) - At Paramount's Kings Island theme park in Cincinnati, Ohio, a roller coaster train crashed into a parked maintenance truck during a test run before the park opened. There were no passengers in either the truck or the roller coaster, and no one was injured.

    The accident happened on the Top Gun roller coaster, a suspended coaster whose trains feature cars that hang below the track. An employee mistakenly parked the maintenance truck in the path of the ride, causing the accident. The damaged train was removed from the track and the ride was later reopened with its other train running.


    Ride walkway collapses at Silver Dollar City; 21 injured

    (Monday, July 15, 2002) - At Silver Dollar City amusement park in Branson, Missouri, a 25-foot section of a queue line walkway collapsed, injuring 21 people. The accident happened as patrons waited in line for the Lost River of the Ozarks ride, a river rapids ride. Most of the injuries were minor. Twenty of those who were hurt in the accident were treated at a local hospital and have been released. One woman who sustained at least one broken leg remains hospitalized.

    The concrete walkway was suspended about two feet above an area of water which was about four feet deep.

    The ride has been shut down while investigators inspect the area.


    Girl dies after fall from Ferris wheel

    (Monday, July 15, 2002) - A 15-year-old girl who suffered severe head injuries in a 30-foot-fall from a Ferris wheel at Gulliver's World theme park in Warrington, England on Saturday has died from her injuries. Authorities say they have not yet made any conclusions about how the girl, who had Down's Syndrome, fell out of her car, or whether the safety bar of her car had opened.

    Chesire police and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating.


    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.

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  • Amusement ride fire kills two (6/23/02)


    Man dies in boat ride accident

    (Thursday, July 11, 2002) - A man who is believed to be the operator of the Sea Aquarium boat ride at Fantasy Island park in Lincolnshire, England, died after an apparent drowning. Members of the park's security staff found the man in the water and had him rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

    The ride has been closed and the Health and Safety Executive is investigating.


    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.

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    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.

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    Chairlift malfunctions, strands riders for hours in North Carolina

    (Sunday, June 30, 2002) - At Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, 42 people were left stranded after a mountain-side chairlift ride malfunctioned. It took workers four hours to rescue all of the passengers.

    The chairlift transports passengers to the top of a mountain where the park is located.

    Three people suffered minor injuries.


    Ferris wheel malfunctions, strands riders for hours

    (Friday, June 28, 2002) - At Boomers! amusement park in Escondido, California, a Ferris wheel ride malfunctioned, leaving 23 people stranded for up to two hours. Firefighters were called in to rescue the riders, many of whom were children.

    A spokesman for the park says that a cable is to blame for the mishap.

    The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating while the ride remains shut down.


    Amusement ride fire kills two

    (Sunday, June 23, 2002) - An 8-year-old girl and her 6-year-old cousin were burned to death when a short circuit caused an amusement ride car to catch fire. The accident happened on a skytrain ride at Fashion Island amusement park, an indoor facility located at a shopping center in Ban Chan, Thailand.

    The fire quickly engulfed the front passenger car in which the girls were riding. Two others were injured in the accident.

    The manager of the park and the operator of the ride have been charged with negligence resulting in death and injury. Police continue their investigation and say that more charges are possible.


    Ride malfunctions at fair; 4 injured

    (Saturday, June 15, 2002) - At a fair in Buckinghamshire, England, four people suffered minor injuries after an amusement ride jolted to a sudden stop, leaving 15 riders stranded in cars 50 feet in the air. Firefighters took about a half hour to free them. Most of those injured complained of whiplash, and none of the injuries was serious. Four people were treated at an area hospital, all of whom were treated and released.

    The ride, called the Whirlybird wheel, features a hydraulic system which lifts and tilts a rotating wheel which carries passenger cars. Reports indicate that the ride's hydraulic system failed, but the Health and Safety Executive begins a full investigation on Sunday.


    Ride malfunctions at New Jersey carnival; several injured

    (Wednesday, June 12, 2002) - At a carnival in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, an amusement ride called Spin Out stranded 17 passengers upside-down in mid-air after bolts sheared off the ride and landed in the gears, jamming them. Some riders were locked in their seats for an hour and a half before they were freed.

    Fire departments from five towns were called to the scene. Firefighters used ladders and a cherry picker to rescue the riders, most of whom were teenagers. Five of the passengers were hospitalized with minor injuries including heat exhaustion and dizziness; 12 others were treated at the scene. One firefighter was also treated for heat exhaustion.

    The ride passed an inspection on Monday.

    The Spin Out is operated by Amusements of America.


    Ejection Seat cable snaps at Oregon carnival

    (Sunday, June 9, 2002) - A cable connecting a bungee cord to an Ejection Seat gondola broke at a carnival in Portland, Oregon, leaving one rider complaining of back pain. The ride, a reverse-bungee catapult ride, consists of two 120-foot-high steel towers with a bungee cord connected to each. The cords are stretched toward the ground where they are attached to a caged steel vehicle in which riders are seated. The cords are then released, sending the riders on a high-speed vertical launch into midair. The cable snapped just before the vehicle was released.

    The ride is operated by Amusement Management International of Carrollton, Texas.

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    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 it rotates.

    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 ride.

    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.

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    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 shut down.

    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."


    Six Flags Worlds of Adventure employee injured in fall from ride

    (Tuesday, May 28, 2002) - At Six Flags Worlds of Adventure theme park in Aurora, Ohio, an employee was injured while performing a routine inspection of the park's X-Flight roller coaster. The man fell from the ride and was airlifted to a local hospital. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.


    Girl, 5, falls from Ferris wheel in Utah

    (Monday, May 27, 2002) - At Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, a 5-year-old girl was injured in an 8-foot-fall from a Ferris wheel. The ride is operated by Amusement Alliance. The company says it plans to add seat belts and new safety bars to the 70-year-old ride.

    In 1997, two children were injured when they fell from the same ride.


    Man killed in fall from ride at Six Flags Elitch Gardens

    (Monday, May 27, 2002) - At Six Flags Elitch Gardens in Denver, Colorado, a 24-year-old man was killed in a fall from the park's Rainbow ride after he unlatched his seat belt, slid from underneath his safety restraint and fell to the ground. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

    Park officials say that the man was part of a group outing for "mentally challenged" individuals.

    The Rainbow features a passenger platform that is attached to a vertical arm which rotates 360 degrees through the air.


    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.


    Boy injured in fall from Ferris wheel

    (Monday, May 20, 2002) - A nine-year-old boy was injured in a 25-foot fall from a Ferris wheel at Wicksteed Park in Kettering, England after his safety bar somehow opened. The boy was hospitalized with minor injuries. His 14-year-old brother also fell from the ride, but managed to cling to the side of the car until he was safely brought to the ground.

    Officials have not yet determined what caused the bar to open.


    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 1990.

    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.

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    Roller coaster strands riders at Six Flags Great America

    (Sunday, May 5, 2002) - A "power interruption" left 32 people locked in their seats for up to three hours on a roller coaster at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, says a park spokeswoman. None of the passengers was injured. The ride, a new boomerang-type coaster called Deja Vu, has been closed pending an investigation of what led to the problem.


    Bungee jump accident kills 2 in Italy

    (Wednesday, May 1, 2002) - A 25-year-old man and his 26-year-old fiance were killed in a bungee jumping accident in Italy. The two jumped together from a 300-foot high bridge which spanned a river gorge.

    Investigators believe that the devices which attached the bungee cords to the bridge failed.

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    Woman thrown from Octopus ride

    (Monday, April 15, 2002) - At a carnival in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, a woman was ejected from an Octopus ride. She told reporters that she "came up off the seat, went flying and hit the ground."

    The woman suffered bruises and scrapes, but no broken bones. Paramedics said the fall could have easily killed her.

    The ride was shut down and the accident is being investigated.


    Coaster car malfunctions in Nevada

    (Friday, March 29, 2002) - At Buffalo Bill's Hotel and Casino in Primm, Nevada, six people received minor injuries while riding the Desperado roller coaster. A wheel came off the second car of one of the ride's trains, causing the train to stop abruptly at a braking area.

    The ride has been shut down pending an investigation.


    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 seriously injured.

    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.

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    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 water ride."

    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 bar.

    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.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    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 amusement parks.

    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 phenomenon.

    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.

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    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 feet.

    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.

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    Six Flags to pay $4 million in Roaring Rapids death

    (Friday, February 22, 2002) - Six Flags says that it will pay $4 million to the family of the woman who drowned when a river raft capsized on the Roaring Rapids ride at Six Flags Over Texas in 1998. In return for the payment, the family will drop a wrongful death lawsuit which it filed against the park chain in 1999.

    Six Flags, which denies any responsibility for the accident, says that it plans to recover the $4 million by joining the victim's family in a lawsuit against Canyon Manufacturing, the company that made the parts of the ride which were blamed for the accident.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    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 a wrench.

    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 lab report.

    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.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • 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 to it.

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    Carnival worker charged with manslaughter

    (Thursday, January 24, 2002) - The London Metropolitan Police Authority has charged a British carnival worker with manslaughter in connection with a May, 2000 carnival ride accident in West London, England which left two people dead. The victims, a 28-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, died from injuries they sustained when their car detatched from a Super Trooper ride, flew through the air, and crashed into a concession stand.

    The worker, a 52-year-old man, is the ride's overseer. He has been released on bail.

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  • One dead, two injured after car flies off Super Trooper ride at fair (5/27/00)


    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.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Cedar Point roller coaster malfunctions; no injuries (8/26/99)
  • Cedar Point's Millenium Force strands passengers; ride closed (9/2/01)

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