2005 NEWS ARCHIVE

JANUARY

  • Second ride inspector sentenced in bumper car death case (1/10/05)
  • Teen injured in fall from roller coaster (1/10/05)
  • Riders stranded aboard roller coaster (1/14/05)
  • Bumper car death case settled for $2 million (1/25/05)
  • Inners Shows settles with woman hurt in ride collapse (1/26/05)
  • Hulk stalls at Universal Studios Orlando (1/28/05)

    FEBRUARY

  • $750,000 settlement for woman in Six Flags water slide injury case (2/25/05)

    MARCH

  • Boy, 4, severs thumb on Disneyland ride (3/17/05)
  • Two injured on flume at Florida fair (3/19/05)
  • Camp Snoopy ride strands 30 (3/21/05)
  • Trains collide on new Powder Keg roller coaster (3/22/05)
  • Worker injured in roller coaster accident (3/27/05)

    APRIL

  • Boy, 6, injured at Yuma County Fair (4/2/05)
  • Ride strands 30 at El Paso carnival (4/3/05)
  • Inflatable ride blows away with children inside (4/9/05)
  • Flying Swinger collapses at zoo; 18 injured (4/9/05)
  • Man killed in fall from skydiving simulator (4/18/05)
  • 'Insanity' strands riders atop Stratosphere (4/20/05)
  • Skydiving ride death "our mistake," says Sega; park closed (4/20/05)

    MAY

  • Roller coaster accident injures 25 (5/1/05)
  • Castles N' Coasters 'Sky Diver' drop tower malfunctions; riders evacuated (5/1/05)
  • Lawsuit filed in 2003 Holiday World death (5/6/05)
  • Rockin' Raceway manager guilty of reckless homicide in 'Hawk' death (5/16/05)
  • Worker injured in fall from Six Flags roller coaster (5/19/05)
  • Markey re-introduces the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act to Congress (5/19/05)
  • Teen injured in fall from carnival ride (5/19/05)
  • Roller coaster car derails, strands six (5/21/05)
  • Carnival worker struck, killed by ride (5/22/05)
  • Woman, 24, dead after fall from inflatable climbing wall (5/25/05)
  • Carnival worker struck by ride (5/27/05)
  • Girl loses consciousness on Sizzler ride, dies (5/28/05)
  • Congressmen seek investigation into Colorado Sizzler death (5/31/05)

    JUNE

  • Inflatable rides go flying; 12 children injured (6/4/05)
  • Kingda Ka malfunctions during testing (6/8/05)
  • Boy, 4, dead after 'Mission: Space' ride at Disney World (6/13/05)
  • Carnival ride supervisor charged with manslaughter in Sizzler death (6/17/05)
  • 'Chaos' ride restraint opens, ejecting rider in Nebraska (6/17/05)
  • Report: 'Chaos' ride restraint opens, injuring rider in New Jersey (6/18/05)
  • Boy nearly drowns at Six Flags water park (6/18/05)
  • Man in critical condition after log flume accident (6/18/05)
  • Two injured on Kamikaze ride at carnival (6/19/05)
  • Ride collapses, injures 2 (6/19/05)

    JULY

  • Boy, 9, falls to death from carnival ride (7/1/05)
  • Ride mechanic dies after servicing ride (7/2/05)
  • Another inflatable ride blows away; children injured (7/3/05)
  • Indiana carnival ride falls apart (7/4/05)
  • Carnival ride spins out of control (7/7/05)
  • Ride not to blame for boy's death, say investigators (7/7/05)
  • Girl collapses after riding Disney World's 'Tower Of Terror' (7/12/05)
  • Bungee cord snaps; rider hospitalized (7/12/05)
  • Riders trapped aboard roller coaster (7/13/05)
  • Rider blames lap bar failure for Ferris wheel fall (7/14/05)
  • Ride supervisor pleads innocent in Sizzler death, continues work with traveling carnival (7/14/05)
  • Ride operator injured in 'Springshot' mishap (7/16/05)
  • Carnival ride breaks apart; two children injured (7/16/05)
  • Girl injured in fall from Ferris wheel at carnival (7/20/05)
  • .114: Carnival worker arrested, charged with operating Ferris wheel while drunk (7/21/05)
  • Another bungee ride malfunctions (7/24/05)
  • Rockin' Raceway manager gets probation in Hawk death (7/26/05)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 6 children injured (7/28/05)
  • Coaster collision injures riders at Disney park (7/29/05)
  • Roller coaster cars collide, derail; four injured (7/31/05)
  • Boy, 3, crushed to death on carousel (7/31/05)

    AUGUST

  • Carnival worker falls to death while setting up ride (8/1/05)
  • Bungee jumper nearly strangled (8/1/05)
  • Child dies at Rye Playland (8/3/05)
  • Boy falls from Roll-O-Plane at carnival (8/5/05)
  • Children trapped upside-down in kiddie Ferris wheel (8/6/05)
  • Boy drowns in theme park wave pool (8/7/05)
  • Woman injured in fall from portable climbing wall (8/13/05)
  • Carnival worker injured (8/16/05)
  • Boy, 11, falls out of Zipper ride (8/20/05)
  • Carnival worker killed while setting up ride (8/23/05)
  • Kiddie ride falls apart at carnival, injuring girl (8/26/05)
  • Maintenance worker injured while repairing roller coaster (8/28/05)
  • Ride operator dead after roller coaster accident (8/31/05)

    SEPTEMBER

  • Woman killed in fall from Top Scan at Adventureland (9/1/05)
  • Teen drowns at Gillian's water park (9/4/05)
  • Ride attendant seriously injured on roller coaster (9/4/05)
  • Report: accident -- not "routine maintenance" -- shut down Coney Island Cyclone (9/12/05)

    OCTOBER

  • Report blames faulty braking system for California Screamin' accident (10/13/05)
  • Carnival worker struck by roller coaster, killed (10/14/05)
  • Worker injured at Adventureland (10/14/05)

    NOVEMBER

  • Rye Playland cleared in mill ride death (11/11/05)
  • Boy who died after riding Disney's "Mission: Space" had heart condition (11/18/05)

    DECEMBER

  • Two girls injured in fall from roller coaster (12/2/05)
  • Disney admits liability in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad death (12/2/05)
  • Inflatable rental company cited in rock wall death (12/2/05)
  • Girl, 8, thrown from ride at Miami carnival; 8 others also injured (12/3/05)
  • Girl, 9, killed in fall from Sizzler ride at Texas carnival (12/18/05)


  • Girl, 9, killed in fall from Sizzler ride at Texas carnival

    (Sunday, December 18, 2005) - At a carnival in Austin, Texas, a 9-year-old girl suffered fatal head injuries when she fell out of a Sizzler ride.

    The ride is owned and operated by Crabtree Amusements. The company's owner says that the girl exceeded the ride's minimum height requirement for passengers. He says that the girl probably either slipped or slid underneath the safety bar and fell only a few feet, and that she may have been hit in the head by another car.

    The accident is under investigation.

    RELATED STORIES -- SIZZLER RIDES:

  • Girl, 3, killed in fall from Sizzler ride (2/22/97)
  • Sizzler ride collapses at Australian fair; 2 injured (12/3/00)
  • Girl, 9, injured in fall from Sizzler ride at New York carnival (7/26/02)
  • Girl, 6, thrown from Sizzler, injured (1/10/04)
  • Woman injured on Sizzler ride at carnival (8/14/04)
  • Sizzler breaks apart at Massachusetts carnival; 1 killed (9/19/04)
  • CPSC, Wisdom announce revised safety inspection program for Sizzlers (10/18/04)
  • Girl loses consciousness on Sizzler ride, dies (5/28/05)
  • Congressmen seek investigation into Colorado Sizzler death (5/31/05)


    Girl, 8, thrown from ride at Miami carnival; 8 others also injured

    (Saturday, December 3, 2005) - At a carnival in Miami, Florida, an eight-year-old girl was injured in a 20-foot fall from a carnival ride after she was ejected from her seat. Witnesses said it appeared as if the ride started to wobble, and that the girl's restraint may have loosened. The operator activated the emergency stop button, but not before the girl fell 20 feet. Eight other people were injured, including one woman who was taken to a hospital.

    The girl suffered a broken arm, head wounds, cuts, and bruises. She was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

    The ride, called Gee Wizz, was manufactured by Wisdom Industries and is operated by Midwest Midways of Chicago. It has been shut down pending an investigation by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

    In 2003, the Tornado, another Wisdom ride operated by Midwest Midways, collapsed in Lehigh Acres, Florida, injuring 4 people.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Tornado ride collapses at carnival; 4 injured (3/29/03)


    Inflatable rental company cited in rock wall death

    (Friday, December 2, 2005) - A Massachusetts amusement rental company and one of its employees have been cited in connection with the death of a woman who fell from an inflatable rock climbing wall in May. The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety reported that the company, Just For Fun Rentals of Danvers, failed to get licenses and permits for the structure, failed to train employees to use it properly, and failed to give those employees the users manual. State officials say that the employee who was guiding the victim as she scaled the wall failed to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Woman, 24, dead after fall from inflatable climbing wall (5/25/05)


    Disney admits liability in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad death

    (Friday, December 2, 2005) - In a settlement reached between the Walt Disney Company and the family of a man who was killed on a Disneyland roller coaster in 2003, Disney admitted that the victim's death was caused by maintenance and mechanical failures. The admission was a condition of the settlement. A 2003 investigation by California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration blamed mechanical failure and poorly trained mechanics and ride operators for the accident.

    The accident happened on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The victim, 22, was killed and another man was injured when their car crashed into another car that had derailed.

    Disney also settled a lawsuit brought by the victim's friend.

    During the past six years, one other Disneyland visitor has died and three others have been injured seriously enough to require hospitalization. Those lawsuits were settled on the condition that the settlement terms be kept secret.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • One killed, 10 injured in Disneyland roller coaster malfunction (9/5/03)
  • Disneyland faulted for poor training, poor maintenance in coaster death (11/26/03)
  • Thunder Mountain Railroad crashes -- again; ride operators faulted -- again (4/4/04)
  • OSHA report faults 2 workers in latest Disneyland coaster crash (4/13/04)
  • Another collision on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; 3 injured (7/8/04)
  • State closes Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (7/9/04)
  • Disneyland faulted for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad collision -- again (8/27/04)
  • Boy, 4, severs thumb on Disneyland ride (3/17/05)


    Two girls injured in fall from roller coaster

    (Friday, December 2, 2005) - At the Escape Theme Park in Pasir Ris, Singapore, a 9-year-old girl and her 11-year-old sister fell about 10 feet from the Alpha-8 indoor roller coaster. They suffered serious back injuries and were hospitalized in critical but stable condition. A man sitting in the seat behind them remained in the car safely. He told investigators that he was unable to see what happened because the ride is enclosed in a dark area.

    The ride passed an inspection in August. Park officials say they also inspected the ride on Friday.

    The ride was shut down pending an investigation.


    Boy who died after riding Disney's "Mission: Space" had heart condition

    (Wednesday, November 16, 2005) - The 4-year-old boy who died after riding Disney World's "Mission: Space" ride in June had a pre-existing heart condition, according to his autopsy report. The report, released by the Orange County Medical Examiner's Office, concludes that the boy died as a result of the condition, which affected his heart's left ventricle. The boy's family was unaware of the boy's condition.

    'Mission: Space' is a $100 million thrill ride that simulates a rocket launch. It is billed by Disney as the "ultimate interactive thrill-packed adventure [that] is as close as you can get to blasting off into space without leaving Earth." The park's website warns riders that they "should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure." Signs posted near the attraction post similar warnings, and advise guests to see the ride attendant for "further cautionary information."


    Rye Playland cleared in mill ride death

    (Friday, November 11, 2005) - In Westchester County, New York, the Department of Public Safety issued its findings in the investigation of the death of a 7-year-old boy who was killed inside Rye Playland's "Ye Olde Mill" ride in August. The report says that there were three witnesses who had been riding in the boat behind the victim's boat. They told investigators that they saw the boy standing in the water, and that he appeared to be wet from the waist down. The witnesses, all of them young girls, said that after they passed the boy, they heard a loud splash, but none of them reported what they had seen or heard to anyone when the got off the ride.

    The medical examiner concluded that there is no evidence that any water had entered the boy's lungs, and that the cause of the boy's death was blunt trauma to the head. This leads investigators to conclude that the victim had climbed out of his boat onto a ledge that runs along the edge of the water, and that he probably slipped and fell after trying to climb back into another boat.

    The report did outline a number of problems with the ride and its operation, including an insufficient number of ride operators on duty at the ride, and operators' inability to drain the ride in case of an emergency, but concluded that none of the problems had contributed to the boy's death.

    A lawyer for the boy's family called the report "self-serving and outrageous."

    As a result of the accident, park officials announced their plans to post warnings and distribute brochures alerting parents that Ye Olde Mill and two other dark, enclosed rides inside the park might frighten some children. In addition, park policy will change to allow for an adult to ride with nervous or scared children at no cost, and a surveillance camera will be mounted inside the ride.


    Another child injured on inflatable attraction

    (Saturday, October 15, 2005) - A 9-year-old boy was treated at a hospital for a leg injury he suffered in a bounce house-type inflatable attraction at a fair in Clearwater, Florida.


    Worker injured at Adventureland

    (Friday, October 14, 2005) - At Adventureland park in Farmingdale, New York, a 30-year-old park worker was injured while dismantling a ride. The man was loading a large panel onto a truck when a gust of wind caused the weight of the panel to shift suddenly. The man fell underneath the panel and was pinned against the truck. He was rushed to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his chest and neck.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

    On August 31, an 18-year-old Adventureland worker was struck by a roller coaster train and killed. The following day, a 45-year-old woman was thrown from the park's Top Scan ride and killed.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Ride operator dead after roller coaster accident (8/31/05)
  • Woman killed in fall from Top Scan at Adventureland (9/1/05)


    Carnival worker struck by roller coaster, killed

    (Friday, October 14, 2005) - At the Global Carnival in Shanghai, China, an electrician was killed when he was struck by a roller coaster car then fell about 20 feet to the ground. The accident happened on the Euro Star roller coaster, which is owned and operated by Freiji Entertainment. Witnesses said that the man had climbed onto a maintenance platform and may have been inspecting the ride when his jacket got jammed underneath a passing car. The car struck him, knocking him off the platform. He died immediately. No one else was injured.

    The electrician was hired by Freig International Investment, the carnival's foreign investor, to inspect the ride.

    A spokesman for the carnival said that the man was not authorized to be in the area where he was struck. Investigators say that the accident was caused solely by the worker's error in judgment.


    Disney heeds orders -- and then some
    - Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2005

    Report blames faulty braking system for California Screamin' accident

    (Thursday, October 13, 2005) - A report issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health says that air leaks in the braking system of the California Screamin' roller coaster at Disney's California Adventure theme park caused two of the ride's trains to collide in a July accident. A total of 33 people suffered minor injuries when one train failed to stop completely and slammed into another train that was stopped near the passenger platform.

    OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said that park officials were aware of leaks.

    "We've asked them to review their inspection process," Fryer said.

    "They had done some inspections and were aware of some leaks."

    The report indicates that the ride control system detected a problem and issued a "dispatch inhibit," which prevents a train from leaving the station and results in the trains on the track beginning to stop one by one. The cars came to a stop, but one car had insufficient air pressure. The system initiated an emergency stop, but it did not occur in sufficient time to prevent the collision.

    OSHA advised Disneyland officials to review their inspection procedures. The ride, which has been closed since the accident, is expected to reopen.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Coaster collision injures riders at Disney park (7/29/05)


    Report: accident -- not "routine maintenance" -- shut down Coney Island Cyclone

    (Monday, September 12, 2005) - According to a New York Post report, the New York City Department of Buildings has revealed that several people were injured on the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island's Astroland park on September 3. The paper cites a statement by Department of Buildings spokeswoman Jennifer Givner, who said that the accident happened shortly after a roller coaster train had begun its initial drop from the top of the 85-foot-tall ride. As the train reached its top speed of 60 miles per hour, it struck a segment of "misaligned track" and came to a dead stop. Four riders complained of whiplash injuries and were taken to a hospital for treatment. The ride was ordered shut down by city officials.

    The New York Post reports that the operators of the roller coaster initially stated that the ride had been closed for "routine maintenance" as a result of "heavy usage." Astroland spokesman Joseph Carella has since admitted that an accident had taken place, but told the New York Post that the ride is safe.

    "It's an old lady, and it requires a lot of maintenance, and the care that they put into this is extraordinary," said Carella.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Cyclone closed for maintenance, but will re-open by weekend (NY1 News, 9/6/05)
  • Cover-up by Coney Island Cy-clowns (New York Post, 9/10/05)
  • Cyclone cover up? Report charges Coney Island ride malfunctioned (NY1 News, 9/10/05)


    Ride attendant seriously injured on roller coaster

    (Sunday, September 4, 2005) - A ride attendant was seriously injured while working on the Cornball Express, a wooden roller coaster at Indiana Beach amusement park in Monticello, Indiana. He was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.



    Shot Gun Falls

    Teen drowns at Gillian's water park

    (Friday, September 2, 2005) - At Gillian's Wonderland Pier and Island Water Park in Ocean City, New Jersey, a 14-year-old girl drowned in a ten-foot-deep pool at the end of a water slide called Shot Gun Falls. She was unconscious when lifeguards pulled her from the water. Attempts to revive the girl were unsuccessful. The victim went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

    The edge of the slide is raised six feet above the surface of the pool. The park's website says that the ride is "for the more adventurous."

    Police are investigating.


    State leads probe into 2 park deaths
    - New York Daily News, September 3, 2005


    Adventureland's Top Scan

    Woman killed in fall from Top Scan at Adventureland

    Second fatal accident at park in 2 days

    (Thursday, September 1, 2005) - A 45-year-old woman was killed after she was ejected from an amusement ride at Adventureland park in Farmingdale, New York. The accident happened on the Top Scan, an intense, high-speed ride that spins passengers around and upside-down up to 65 feet in the air. Riders experience forces equal to that of four times the force of gravity. The victim was thrown out of her seat while the ride was in motion. She was thrown over a 20-foot wall and landed on the windshield of a car in an adjacent parking lot. She was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

    The woman was mentally disabled and boarded the ride with a chaperone. Police say that the victim's over-the-shoulder restraint was closed around her neck and chest, and a park employee says that the green light on the ride's control panel was lit, indicating that riders' harnesses were locked and the ride was ready to start.

    The ride operator activated the emergency stop system when he saw that the victim had been thrown out. The ride came to a stop leaving riders stranded in the air. The operator then panicked and ran from the ride, crying and shaking.

    Detectives say that there are no early indications that the victim or the ride operators had anything to do with the accident. The victim's harness was in the closed position after the accident.

    Park officials say that the ride passed its daily inspection Thursday morning.

    The ride has been shut down and was sealed off by police. Farmington Police, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the New York State Department of Labor are investigating.

    The accident is the park's second in two days. On Tuesday, an 18-year-old ride operator was struck by a roller coaster car on the park's Lady Bug roller coaster. That accident remains under investigation.



    Adventureland's Lady Bug coaster

    Ride operator dead after roller coaster accident

    (Wednesday, August 31, 2005) - An 18-year-old amusement ride operator died from injuries he suffered late Tuesday when he was struck by a kiddie roller coaster car at Adventureland park in Farmingdale, New York. The ride, called the Lady Bug coaster, was unoccupied. An employee who witnessed the accident told police that the victim was leaning over the ride's track when the front car of the train struck him. His upper torso became pinned underneath the car, leaving his body dangling about two feet off the ground. Park workers were able free the victim by lifting the car off his body. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died early Wednesday morning.

    Park officials say they don't know why the man was on track, or why he started the ride without any passengers.

    Farmington Police, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the New York State Department of Labor are investigating.


    Maintenance worker injured while repairing roller coaster

    (Sunday, August 28, 2005) - At Magic Springs theme park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a ride maintenance worker was seriously injured while he was working to repair a roller coaster. The man had been called to the Gauntlet, an inverted looping roller coaster, early in the afternoon, when the ride's computer sensors detected low air pressure in the brake system and activated the emergency brakes. The train, which consists of ten 2-passenger cars, stopped near the end of the ride short of the loading station, on a section of track that is 25-30 feet high. Park officials had to use a ground hoist to evacuate riders, all of whom were evacuated without incident. While the maintenance workers were assessing the problem, the train rolled forward, possibly after someone released the emergency brakes. The victim's legs got caught between the wheel assembly of a car and the tubular steel track of the ride. He was trapped for nearly two hours. Firefighters who responded to the scene used a metal cutting saw to cut away some of the wheels and the tubular track structure in order to free the man. The man remained conscious during the rescue, but reports indicate that he suffered severe trauma to his lower legs. He was airlifted to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.

    The ride is now inoperable. Park officials say they don't know how long it will remain closed.


    Kiddie ride falls apart at carnival, injuring girl

    (Friday, August 26, 2005) - At the Piscataquis Valley Fair in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, a 7-year-old girl was injured when a kiddie boat ride called the Wave Runner malfunctioned. The ride consists of small boats attached to the ride's arms. The arms rotate, moving the boats around a circular track. Investigators say that the arm connected to the girl's boat became disconnected from the center of the ride. The victim's boat then stopped, but the boat behind hers kept moving. Officials say that the second boat collided with the victim's boat and nearly ran over it.

    The girl suffered a bruised hip and was treated by medical personnel at the scene.

    Coincidentally, the accident occurred as state inspectors were carrying out inspections of the rides operating at the carnival.

    The Bangor Daily News reports that five civil summons were issued to Larry Carr, owner of Carr Expositions of Melbourne, Florida, the midway operator, as a result of violations of traveling amusement ride regulations, and that the some of the violations were of the same as those identified while the company was operating recently at the Skowhegan State Fair, also in Maine.



    Strates Shows' Enterprise

    Carnival worker killed while setting up ride

    (Tuesday, August 23, 2005) - In Syracuse, New York, a 29-year-old carnival worker was crushed by an amusement ride he was working to assemble. The man was placing wooden stabilizing blocks underneath the structure of the Enterprise ride when the ride shifted and fell on top of him. Rescuers had to use a fork lift to free him. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died.

    The man worked for James E. Strates Shows of Florida. His death has been ruled an accident by state police. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun its own investigation.



    The Zipper

    Boy, 11, falls out of Zipper ride

    (Saturday, August 20, 2005) - At the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, Canada, an 11-year-old boy fell out of his car while riding the Zipper amusement ride. Witnesses say that the door of his car flew open as operators were loading other cars with passengers. The boy was left dangling 12-15 feet in the air, clinging to two padded bars attached to the inside of the door. Witnesses say they heard the boy screaming, "The door's open, the door's open!" He eventually fell, but his fall was broken by some fair workers. He suffered a chipped tooth and a scraped chin, and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

    Police say that the door of the child's car was not locked properly.

    The ride was closed temporarily. Police and safety officials are investigating.


    Carnival worker injured

    (Tuesday, August 16, 2005) - A carnival worker was seriously injured while setting up a carousel ride for the Martin County Fair in Fairmont, Minnesota. The accident happened as he was finishing the ride's assembly. While sitting on top of the carousel connecting some lights, he asked a co-worker to start the ride. As it started, one of his legs got caught. Both of the bones in his lower leg were broken.

    The man works for Gold Star Amusements. He was rushed to a hospital, where doctors were able to save his leg.


    Woman injured in fall from portable climbing wall

    (Saturday, August 13, 2005) - The 55-year-old owner of a portable climbing wall was injured when she fell 20 feet from the top of the attraction at a county fair in Princeton, Minnesota. Witnesses told police that it it appeared that the victim was climbing to the top of the attraction either to repair something or to retrieve some equipment. She lost her balance and fell to the ground. She was not wearing a climbing harness.

    An emergency helicopter transported the woman to a hospital where she was treated for serious injuries.


    Boy drowns in theme park wave pool

    (Sunday, August 7, 2005) - A 12-year-old boy drowned in a wave pool at the Magic Mountain water park in New Brunswick, Canada. He was found floating in the park's wave pool. Lifeguards pulled his body from the water, but were unable to revive him. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead several hours later.


    Children trapped upside-down in kiddie Ferris wheel

    (Saturday, August 6, 2005) - At a carnival in Northbrook, Illinois, a kiddie Ferris wheel malfunctioned, trapping eight children upside-down. The ride, designed for small children, consists of four gondolas which reach a height of about 12 feet. Apparently, the ride's leveling mechanism malfunctioned, causing two of the gondolas to flip upside-down. The cars were carrying children between the ages of 2 and 4.

    Ten firefighters, who were already at the festival, rushed to the ride. It took them about 15 minutes to free the children. No injuries were reported.

    The ride has been ordered shut down while investigators determine the cause of the malfunction.



    Sunset Amusements' Roll-O-Plane

    Boy falls from Roll-O-Plane at carnival

    (Friday, August 5, 2005) - At a carnival in Davenport, Iowa, a boy fell out of a Roll-O-Plane ride and was hospitalized. Witnesses say that the boy fell 6-10 feet and landed on the ground after he tumbled out of his car. Police reports suggest that the door of the boy's car may have been locked improperly or may have somehow come unlocked once the ride started.

    The Roll-O-Plane consists of two 4-passenger bullet-shaped gondolas that are attached to the ends of a rotating arm. The gondolas roll as the ride spins.

    The ride is operated by Sunset Amusements. It passed a state inspection a week earlier.

    Davenport Police and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals are investigating the accident.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Roll-O-Plane strands riders at Rhode Island carnival (9/24/99)



    Playland's 'Ye Olde Mill'

    Child dies at Rye Playland

    (Wednesday, August 3, 2005) - At Rye Playland in Westchester, New York, a 7-year-old boy died on "Ye Olde Mill," a dark ride that consists of a 1,200-foot tunnel through which passengers travel while riding in small boats. The boy somehow left his seat and for some reason either jumped or fell into the water. He died of blunt head trauma.

    The boy's mother alerted the ride attendant that she had not seen her son get off the ride. A half-hour later, after park officials drained the ride, the child's body was found underneath two conveyor belts in a place where the water level is normally two-and-a-half feet deep.

    The boy's height exceeded the ride's minimum 42-inch requirement. He was riding alone.

    Inspectors found no mechanical defects in the ride, however, park officials admitted that they are aware that some passengers ignore posted warnings and leave the boats to walk around inside the attraction.

    "You find them running around the ride... Sometimes they want to scare somebody in the boat behind them, sometimes they want to go play with some of the exhibits," said Playland Director Joseph Montalto.

    In May, 2004, a 7-year-old girl was killed in an accident on another Rye Playland ride that operated in the dark. An investigation into her death revealed that she was thrown from the Mind Scrambler ride after she eluded her safety bar and began to kneel and move around in her seat. Park officials made several safety modifications before they reopened the ride, including the assignment of a second ride attendant to monitor the ride's passengers. In addition, changes were made to the lighting, giving ride attendants the ability to see any potential hazards posed by riders' behaviors -- hazards that may not be noticeable in darkness.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Girl, 7, killed in fall from Scrambler at Playland (5/22/04)
  • Playland to modify Mind Scrambler (6/3/04)


    Mentally disabled man rescued in Ferris wheel mishap

    (Tuesday, August 2, 2005) - At the Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport, Iowa, a 31-year-old mentally disabled man panicked when his seat came to a stop at the top of a 50-foot Ferris wheel. He slid underneath his seat's lap bar in an apparent attempt to either jump from the ride or climb down to the ground. The man's caregiver, who was seated next to him, grabbed his arm and tried to pull him back into the seat, but lost her grip. The man then fell about 15 feet to the ride's hub. One carnival worker, who had climbed to the top of the ride in a rush to rescue the man, was able to slow the man's fall by reaching out and grabbing him. Another worker, who also rushed to climb the wheel, was able to grab the man near the wheel's hub and hold onto him. Workers then manually moved the ride until workers could safely bring the man to the ground. The man suffered only minor injuries.

    The workers are employed by Evans United Carnival Shows.


    Bungee jumper nearly strangled

    (Monday, August 1, 2005) - At Prater park in Vienna, Austria, a 20-year-old man was injured during a bungee jump when he became entangled in his cord and was nearly strangled. The cord wrapped around the man's head while he was bouncing after jumping from a 180-foot platform. A ride attendant was able to revive the victim, who was taken to a hospital for treatment.

    The attraction has been closed.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Carnival worker falls to death while setting up ride

    (Monday, August 1, 2005) - At the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a 54-year-old carnival worker fell to his death while he was setting up a bumper car ride called Scooter. The man, who fell approximately 10 feet from a steel beam, died on the scene. Investigators later inspected the ride and deemed it safe for operation.


    Boy, 3, crushed to death on carousel

    (Sunday, July 31, 2005) - In Schoenborn, Germany, a 3-year-old boy eluded his parents and jumped onto a moving carousel. He lost his balance, fell, and was crushed to death by the ride's mechanical horses. The owners the amusement park where the accident happened face charges of negligent homicide. Witnesses reported that the ride operator was unable to stop the ride immediately because the power switch was located inside the ticket booth, which was locked and unstaffed.


    Roller coaster cars collide, derail; four injured

    (Sunday, July 31, 2005) - At Ocean Beach amusement park in north Wales, two roller coaster cars were involved in an accident when one failed to stop and collided with the second car, causing it to derail. Two passengers suffered chest and abdominal injuries and were hospitalized. Two other passengers received minor injuries.

    The Health and Safety Executive is investigating.


    Coaster collision injures riders at Disney park

    (Friday, July 29, 2005) - At Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, California, at least 15 people were injured when two roller coaster trains collided on the park's California Screamin' roller coaster. There were 48 passengers on board the trains at the time of the accident. No serious injuries were reported, however fifteen riders -- including 2 children -- were treated at hospitals.

    Reports indicate that one train, which was coming into the station at the end of its run, failed to stop completely and hit a second train that was stopped in the loading station where passengers were boarding it.

    Eighteen ambulances and nearly 100 firefighters responded to the call.


    Another inflatable ride collapses; 6 children injured

    (Thursday, July 28, 2005) - In Parkland, Florida, six children were injured when an inflatable slide collapsed. The ride, which is designed to hold only four children at a time, was occupied by ten children at the time it collapsed. Police say that it had been anchored in place by one tether. Four of the children were treated at the scene and released while the others were airlifted to a hospital where they are being treated for serious injuries.

    A 20-year-old girl whose job it was to monitor the children's use of the slide was also treated for injuries. The girl works for P.R. Party Antics of Coral Springs, Florida, the owner of the attraction.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Rockin' Raceway manager gets probation in Hawk death

    (Tuesday, July 26, 2005) - Charles Stan Martin, the former manager of the Rockin' Raceway amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, was sentenced to four years probation for his role in the death of a woman who fell from one of the park's rides in 2004. The victim, 51-year-old June Alexander, fell from the ride -- called the Hawk -- when her safety restraint opened. In May, a jury found Martin guilty of reckless homicide, siding with the prosecution, which argued that Martin, as the park's supervisor of ride maintenance, rigged a jumper wire to the ride, effectively disabling the ride's safety system which would have detected that Alexander's restraint was not secure and prevented the ride from starting.

    Martin testified that he did not rig the jumper wire. The defense unsuccessfully blamed the ride's manufacturer for the accident.

    Martin was also given 200 hours of community service and fined $5,000. The terms of the sentence also require Martin to keep away from working on amusement rides.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Woman, 51, killed in fall from Tennessee ride (3/14/04)
  • Tennessee park manager charged with murder (9/29/04)
  • CPSC reports 'Hawk' investigation findings (11/18/04)
  • Rockin' Raceway manager guilty of reckless homicide in 'Hawk' death (5/16/05)


    Another bungee ride malfunctions

    (Sunday, July 24, 2005) - At the Orange County Fair in Wallkill, New York, a reverse-bungee ride malfunctioned, leaving left two teenage girls dangling 50 feet in the air for nearly an hour after. The accident happened on the Ejection Seat. The ride consists of two steel towers with a bungee cord connected to each. The cords are stretched toward the ground where they are attached to a spherical steel cage in which two passengers are seated. The cage is then released, sending riders on a 70-mile-per-hour vertical launch to over 180 feet the air. The bungee cords then bounce the cage to a stop, at which time it is lowered back down to the loading area.

    Witnesses say that the cage crashed into one of the steel towers repeatedly. Investigators are blaming the accident on the cable that connects the cord to the cage. The cable, installed only two weeks ago, broke.

    Rescue workers secured the cage, then evacuated the girls via a ladder truck.

    The girls were not injured.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    .114: Carnival worker arrested, charged with operating Ferris wheel while drunk

    (Thursday, July 21, 2005) - A 47-year-old carnival worker was arrested and charged with one count of endangering children -- a first degree misdemeanor -- because police say the man was operating a Ferris wheel ride while he was intoxicated. The incident happened at the Warren County Fair in Lebanon, Ohio. The ride was occupied with children at the time of the arrest. Police were told of the situation by one of the man's co-workers.

    Tests showed that the man's blood alcohol level was .114.

    The man is employed by Triple Treat Shows of Cincinnati.


    Girl injured in fall from Ferris wheel at carnival

    (Wednesday, July 20, 2005) - A 6-year-old girl fell from a Ferris wheel at a carnival in Deale, Maryland, after a cable came loose, got caught on her seat, and tipped it forward. The girl fell about 6 feet. She suffered bruises and scrapes to her face and arms. Two other children were treated for minor injuries.

    The ride, which is 65 feet tall, is only 10 weeks old. It is owned and operated by Sherwood Amusements. The company says that the cable that caused the accident was used to secure the ride during shipping, and had nothing to do with the ride's operation.

    The ride passed a state inspection on Monday. State officials are again inspecting the ride.


    Carnival ride breaks apart; two children injured

    (Saturday, July 16, 2005) - In Clinton, Utah, two childen were injured when a carnival ride broke apart and their car fell to the ground. The accident involved a kiddie spaceship-type ride called Laser Ship. The ride features rocket-shaped cars which move up and down as they rotate. The car holding the two victims was about five feet above the ground when it broke off the ride. When the car landed, the children were ejected from their seats. They were taken to a hospital where one child was treated for minor injuries and the other for internal injuries.

    The ride is owned and operated by Midway West Amusements of Arizona.


    Ride operator injured in 'Springshot' mishap

    (Saturday, July 16, 2005) - The operator of a vertical-launch ride called 'Springshot' was injured in an accident at Morey's Wild Wheels Raceway and Adventure Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey. Local media reports indicate that park officials told police that the 2-passenger gondola was not loaded properly into the locking mechanism. Those same reports say that the gondola rolled backwards, striking the operator in the head.

    The riders were not injured.

    The operator of the ride was only 16 or 17 years old, however, New Jersey law allows minors to operate amusement rides. He suffered a cut to his head and was treated at a hospital, where he received several stitches.

    The Springshot utilizes a cable-and-spring propulsion system that generate the ride's launching force, which sends riders on a high-speed vertical launch to over 300 feet in the air. It was manufactured by Funtime Industries and installed in 2002.

    For more on this story:

  • Ride operator injured in Wildwood (Cape May County News, 7/16/05)
  • Ride worker released from hospital (Cape May County News, 7/17/05)
  • Wildwood bungee cord ride injures operator in head (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/19/05)


    Ride supervisor pleads innocent in Sizzler death, continues work with traveling carnival

    (Thursday, July 14, 2005) - A carnival ride supervisor has pleaded not guilty to a charge of manslaughter brought against him in connection with the death of a man who was killed when a Sizzler amusement ride broke apart at a Massachusetts carnival last September. Prosecutors say that 39-year-old Brian McCullough is the person who was responsible for the daily oversight of the ride's maintenance and operation. An investigation of the accident revealed that the victim's car fell apart because an improperly replaced lap bar nut loosened, another bolt that had a missing head failed, and another undersized bolt sheared off.

    Both McCullough and Jaro Amusements -- the company that owns the Sizzler -- deny any responsibility for the accident. In a statement released last November, Jaro Amusements stated that it had "faithfully followed its regulatory obligations with regard to the Sizzler and all of its other rides." However, the Sizzler ride manual, issued by Wisdom Manufacturing Company, states that a Sizzler owner must perform various maintenance procedures on the ride, including daily inspections of the foot tub hinge bolts; daily inspections of the lap bars and lap bar hinge bolts; weekly inspections of each hinge bolt and nut and replacement of all loose nuts with new lock nuts; annual inspections of the car body and frame assembly mounting bolts for loose or missing bolts and replacement of bolts as needed. In addition, investigators found that Jaro Amusements was in possession of two inspection notices issued by Wisdom -- one issued in August, 1994, and the other issued in May, 1997 -- which contained specific references, recommendations and procedures regarding the seat mounting bolts and a requirement that operators carry out daily inspections of the pivot hole on each foot tub.

    Jack Keough, owner of Jaro Amusements, admitted to investigators that no maintenance was performed on the ride. Jaro Amusements also failed to produce any maintenance reports upon request by investigators.

    Jaro Amusements purchased the ride used in 2002, however, a report from the company's insurance inspector issued in March, 2004, indicated that, at that time, the condition of the ride was consistent with the manufacturer's specifications.

    McCullough faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted. He remains free on personal recognizance.

    McCullough's attorney told Worcester Superior Court judge Kenneth Fishman that McCullough is now working for another carnival company that is currently touring New England.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Sizzler breaks apart at Massachusetts carnival; 1 killed (9/19/04)
  • Sizzler ride improperly bolted, say investigators (9/20/04)
  • Massachusetts announces new system of inspections for carnival rides (9/25/04)
  • Sizzler accident report released (10/28/04)
  • Jaro Amusements responds to DPS report (11/7/04)
  • Carnival ride supervisor charged with manslaughter in Sizzler death (6/17/05)


    Rider blames lap bar failure for Ferris wheel fall

    (Thursday, July 14, 2005) - The 48-year-old man who fell from a Ferris wheel at an Indiana carnival on Saturday is blaming the mishap on a faulty lap bar. The man says that, as he attempted to wave to his wife who was standing on the ground, he leaned on the lap bar with one hand and it opened. He fell 20 feet, hitting another gondola during his fall. He suffered a broken leg, a separated shoulder and head injuries. He denies allegations made by several witnesses that he was rocking his car.

    The man is seeking compensation for his injuries from Windy City Amusements of St. Charles, Illinois.


    Riders trapped aboard roller coaster

    (Wednesday, July 13, 2005) - At M&D's Scotland's Theme Park in Motherwell, Scotland, six people were trapped on the Vortex roller coaster when a computer glitch caused the ride to stop abruptly. Riders were left stranded in their cars 65 feet in the air for nearly an hour and a half until a crew of 12 firefighters secured them with harnesses and used ladders to bring them to safety. No one was injured.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Eleven stranded atop roller coaster after electrical malfunction (8/15/02)


    Bungee cord snaps; rider hospitalized

    (Tuesday, July 12, 2005) - At Haven Holiday Park in Scotland, a 17-year-old boy was injured on a bungee trampoline when one of the cords attached to his harness snapped. According to the victim, the accident happened after he had made several jumps off the trampoline. He said that when the cord snapped, he was flung about 40 feet into a crowd of onlookers, striking a child. The second bungee cord then pulled him back and sent him crashing into the ride's metal structure. The victim says that a park official tried to rush him away from the ride into an office, however a nurse in the crowd demanded that the official call an ambulance.

    The teen spent the night in the hospital, but suffered only minor injuries.

    The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the incident.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Girl collapses after riding Disney World's 'Tower Of Terror'

    (Tuesday, July 12, 2004) - A 16-year-old girl who complained of a headache after she rode the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at Walt Disney World's MGM Studios theme park has been hospitalized in critical condition. Witnesses say the girl sat down on a park bench after she exited the ride and then lost consciousness and heart function. Disney medical personnel revived her. She was then transported to a local hospital.

    The girl reportedly suffers from a prior medical condition that may have been a factor in her collapse. The ride is being inspected as a precaution.


    Man falls from Ferris wheel at carnival

    (Saturday, July 9, 2005) - A 48-year-old man was hospitalized after he suffered a 20-foot-fall from a Ferris wheel at the Batavia Windmill City Festival in Batavia, Illinois. The man was riding with his nine-year-old daughter, who was not injured. According to witnesses, the man began to rock his car shortly before he fell. His injuries are not life-threatening.

    The Ferris wheel has been shut down. Police confiscated the car in which the two had been riding, and an investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.


    Ride not to blame for boy's death, say investigators

    (Thursday, July 7, 2005) - Officials investigating last Friday's fatal accident on a carnival ride in Highland, Indiana, have concluded that the ride, called Wind Shear, is mechanically sound. The child fell 25 feet from the gondola, however witnesses say that he rushed onto the ride after the attendant had locked all of the passengers' restraints.



    Skerbeck Brothers' High Flyer

    Carnival ride spins out of control

    (Thursday, July 7, 2005) - At the Montcalm County 4-H Fair in Greenville, Michigan, a carnival ride called the High Flyer was shut down after an apparent electrical malfunction caused it to spin much faster than its design speed. Witnesses say they saw the entire ride structure wobble back and forth and some of them say that the ride appeared to come off its support jacks. After unsuccessful attempts to stop the ride using the electronic control system, carnival workers were forced to cut off the ride's power supply which finally brought the ride to a halt. Five people were taken to a local hospital as a precaution; one of them suffered a sprained neck and others may have suffered minor back and neck injuries.

    The ride's owner, Skerbeck Brothers of Escanaba, Michigan, will disassemble the ride and have it transported to its manufacturer for inspection and maintenance.


    Indiana carnival ride falls apart

    (Monday, July 4, 2005) - At a carnival in Chesterton, Indiana, an unoccupied car on a children's helicopter ride fell off its support and landed on the ground. It was then struck by the car behind it, which was also unoccupied. The ride, called Space Age, is operated by Sterling Crown Shows of Michigan City, Indiana. There were several children on the ride at the time of the accident, but none of them suffered any injuries.

    An inspector says that the car fell off when its retaining pin and bushing broke.

    The ride has been shut down. It passed an inspection by state officials before the carnival opened.


    Another inflatable ride blows away; children injured

    (Sunday, July 3, 2005) - At least three children were injured when a gust of wind sent an inflatable castle flying through the air. The children fell 25-35 feet and landed on pavement. One child was hospitalized in intensive care; two others required surgery. The accident happened in Pila, Poland.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES



    Funtown Pier's Arctic Circle

    Ride mechanic dies after servicing ride

    (Saturday, July 2, 2005) - A 22-year-old ride mechanic was found unconscious in the service area of an amusement ride at Funtown Pier in Seaside Park, New Jersey. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    The ride, called the Arctic Circle, is more commonly known as the Himalaya. Police say that the man may have suffered electrical shock when he touched one of the ride's motors while investigating a problem with the ride. Some riders told police that they felt mild static-electricity shocks.

    The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.


    Boy's death the latest accident for carnival
    - CBS News, July 6, 2005


    Midwest Midways' Wind Shear

    Boy, 9, falls to death from carnival ride

    (Friday, July 1, 2005) - A 9-year-old boy was killed when he fell from an amusement ride called the Wind Shear at a carnival in Highland, Indiana. Witnesses say they saw the boy fall headfirst from a height of 25 feet.

    The ride is owned and operated by Midwest Midways of Steger, Illinois.

    The child met the ride's height requirement. Inspectors were unable to determine the cause of the child's fall based upon their initial observations at the scene. Midwest Midways owner Frank Briggs says that statements from eyewitnesses indicate that the boy rushed onto the ride after all the passengers already had been locked in. An investigation of the boy's death is underway.



    Kamikaze

    Two injured on Kamikaze ride at carnival

    (Sunday, June 19, 2005) - At the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, California, two children were injured when a metal latch broke off from inside their caged car then bounced around, striking them as the ride looped through the air. The children suffered bruises, but no serious injuries were reported.

    The director of ride inspections for the carnival said that ride had been inspected, but "it was difficult to see" the latch, which reportedly broke off due to wear and tear.


    Ride collapses, injures 2

    (Sunday, June 19, 2005) - At a fair in Midlothian, Scotland, a 13-year-old girl and a 24-year-old woman were seriously injured when an amusement ride collapsed. The two victims were pinned underneath a steel bar until firefighters freed them with the aid of special hydraulic equipment. An 11-year-old boy who had also been on the ride suffered a broken arm.


    Man in critical condition after log flume accident

    (Saturday, June 18, 2005) - At Steel Pier amusement park in Atlantic City, New Jersey, four people were injured on a log flume ride called the Big Splash. Reports indicate that no water was present in the basin at the end of the ride when the victims' car made its descent. One man was ejected from the ride and thrown through a sheet of plexi-glass. He was hospitalized in critical condition. The other riders, the man's wife and three children, suffered minor injuries.

    The ride has been shut down pending a state investigation.

    RELATED STORY -- STEEL PIER:

  • 188-foot steel amusement ride tower collapses, crashes onto adjacent rides (8/10/98)


    Boy nearly drowns at Six Flags water park

    (Saturday, June 18, 2005) - A 5-year-old boy nearly drowned at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park in Valencia, California. Witnesses say that the boy was playing in the water, then suddenly went under for 15-20 seconds. The child did not lose consciousness, but he swallowed some water and vomited. Park lifeguards revived him. The child was taken to a hospital as a precaution.


    Report: 'Chaos' ride restraint opens, injuring rider in New Jersey

    (Saturday, June 18, 2005) - At Clementon Amusement Park in Clementon, New Jersey, a 16-year-old girl was treated for injuries she suffered while riding a 'Chaos' amusement ride. The victim says that when her car began to flip, she realized her shoulder harness was not secure. When her car flipped a second time, the harness opened and a metal restraint bar broke. She claims that she managed to hold on to her shoulder harness and stay in her seat until the ride operator stopped the ride. The passenger seated next to her also helped her from falling from the ride. The girl says she was treated at a first-aid station at the park, and later went to a hospital on her own where she was treated for strains in her neck and back.

    The park says that the ride is equipped with two separate safety restraints per rider, and that only one of the girl's restraints was loose. Park officials say that the girl was in no real danger of falling out of the ride.

    The girl is an employee of Clementon Park. She was visiting the park with her family.

    The 'Chaos' has been shut down pending an investigation by New Jersey's Department of Community Affairs.

    RELATED STORIES:
  • Ride collapses at Michigan's Adventure; 31 injured (7/30/01)
  • Parks shut down Chaos rides throughout country (7/31/01)
  • Mechanical failure blamed for Chaos collapse at Michigan's Adventure (2/6/02)
  • 'Chaos' ride restraint opens, ejecting rider in Nebraska (6/17/05)


    'Chaos' ride restraint opens, ejecting rider in Nebraska

    (Friday, June 17, 2005) - Police in Omaha, Nebraska, say that a 20-year-old man was injured on a Chaos ride at Omaha's Fun Plex amusement park when his safety restraint opened, ejecting him from the ride. He fell about 15 feet. He was hospitalized in fair condition.

    The ride is manufactured by Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas. It features 18 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.

    The Nebraska Department of Labor and Chance Rides are investigating.

    RELATED STORIES:
  • Ride collapses at Michigan's Adventure; 31 injured (7/30/01)
  • Parks shut down Chaos rides throughout country (7/31/01)
  • Mechanical failure blamed for Chaos collapse at Michigan's Adventure (2/6/02)


    "I think we have to look at this whole industry in terms of ineffective regulations and lack of inspections.”
    - Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte, in a statement to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette
    “We hope it draws attention to the issue and that each time a tragedy like this happens, people scrutinize what’s going on.”
    - Sylvia Fohlin, sister of 38-year-old Andrew Fohlin who was killed when the Sizzler ride broke apart

    Carnival ride supervisor charged with manslaughter in Sizzler death

    (Friday, June 17, 2005) - A grand jury has indicted a carnival ride supervisor who was responsible for the daily inspections of a Sizzler amusement ride which killed a man at a church carnival in Shrewbury, Massachusetts last September. Brian R. McCullough, 39, of Hernando, Florida, faces a single count of manslaughter for failing to ensure that the ride was maintained properly. The victim, 38-year-old Andrew Fohlin, was killed when his seat broke apart. Department of Public Safety investigators concluded that the car had been bolted together incorrectly. Upon their examination of the debris from the victims' seat, investigators found that one of the bolts was the wrong size and another did not meet the specifications of the ride's manufacturer.

    In 1994, Wisdom Industries, the company that manufactures Sizzler rides, released a safety bulletin addressing the maintenance and inspection of the rides, in particular, their seat mounting bolts, requiring owners to inspect them on a regular basis. The Sizzler involved in the Shrewsbury accident was manufactured by Wisdom in 1980. The ride's owner, Jaro Amusements of Carlisle, Mass., bought the ride used in 2002.

    If convicted, McCullough faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

    The indictment marks the first time a criminal charge has resulted from an amusement ride death in Massachusetts.


    California Supreme Court:
    Amusement parks liable for safety of thrill rides

    - Associated Press, June 16, 2005

    "Certainly there is no justification for imposing a lesser duty of care on the operators of roller coasters simply because the primary purpose of the transportation is entertainment."
    - California Supreme Court Associate Justice Carlos Moreno, writing for the majority
    "It puts roller coasters out of business."
    - John Robinson, California Attractions and Parks Association


    CPSC issues Sizzler safety alert

    AMUSEMENT RIDE SAFETY ALERT
    WISDOM INDUSTRIES, LTD. DELUXE SIZZLER
    June 15, 2005

    Dear State Amusement Ride Safety Official:

    As in the past, staff from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are providing safety information regarding amusement rides. The enclosed information is being provided to you as part of the Commission’s Amusement Ride Safety Information Program. The Commission is authorized to share information with other federal and state agencies under Section 29 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), 15 U.S.C. § 2078. In accordance with this section, however, no federal or state agency to whom such information is provided may disclose it to the public until the Commission has complied with the information disclosure requirements of Section 6(b) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2055 (b).

    A fatal incident occurred May 28, 2005 involving a Deluxe Sizzler in Durango, CO. A similar fatal incident occurred on November 1, 2003 in Mendoze, AZ. The Deluxe Sizzler was manufactured by Wisdom Industries, Ltd. of Sterling, CO. Both incidents involve the same Sizzler, which is operated by Frazier Shows of America. The victims were 14 (CO) and 22 (AZ) years old, and both died after losing consciousness on the Deluxe Sizzler. The cause of death in both cases was cardiac arrhythmia and the deaths were ruled due to natural causes. The 14 year old female suffered from a pre-existing medical condition that was determined to be the cause of her death. The 22 year old female had recently had surgery and was on medications, and these factors contributed to her death. This alert is to notify you that this ride should have warning signage instructing riders with pre-existing medical conditions or those on medications affecting the heart not to ride. This information is contained in the owner’s manual and should be posted clearly on or near the ride.

    As you receive information about this portable amusement ride or any other portable device, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (301) 504-7594. We look forward to continuing work with you to reduce the number of deaths and injuries involving portable amusement rides.

    U.S. CPSC
    Tanya Topka Ivins
    Compliance Officer


    Calls for more theme park oversight raised after death at Disney park - Associated Press, June 16, 2005
    Designer questioned Mission: Space's safety, testing - WESH News, June 15, 2005
    Disney employees' response questioned - WESH News, June 15, 2005
    Epcot ride death a mystery - Orlando Sentinel, June 15, 2005
    Child's death at Epcot puts focus on safety of park rides - Sun-Sentinel, June 15, 2005

    Boy, 4, dead after 'Mission: Space' ride at Disney World

    (Monday, June 13, 2005) - A 4-year-old boy died after he lost consciousness while riding the 'Mission: Space' amusement ride at Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The boy was carried off of the ride by his mother, and then taken to a hospital where he died.

    'Mission: Space' is a $100 million ride that simulates a rocket launch. It is billed by Disney as the "ultimate interactive thrill-packed adventure [that] is as close as you can get to blasting off into space without leaving Earth." The park's website warns riders that they "should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure." Riders are also warned that the ride may cause motion sickness, and are asked to see the ride attendant for "further cautionary information."

    Disney World says that the ride was closed temporarily after the accident while park technicians inspected it. They determined that it was operating normally, and the park reopened the ride.

    The Orange County Sheriff's Office is investigating the boy's death.


    Kingda Ka malfunctions during testing

    (Wednesday, June 8, 2005) - At Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson, New Jersey, an empty roller coaster train came grinding to a sudden stop along the launch track of the Kingda Ka roller coaster, sending what appeared to be shards of metal flying from underneath both sides of the train. There were no passengers on board the ride at the time of the incident, and no one was injured.

    Reports indicate that a liner cover, which runs across the top of a trough underneath the launch track, came loose and caused the train to malfunction. The train was seriously damaged, as was the ride's braking system. Six Flags and the ride's Swiss manufacturer, Intamin AG, are working to repair the ride. Intamin has begun production of the replacement parts, and Six Flags is estimating that it will take at least several weeks for the parts to be fabricated, shipped from Switzerland, then assembled, installed, tested, and inspected.

    Kingda Ka is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world.


    Inflatable rides go flying; 12 children injured

    (Saturday, June 4, 2005) - At Mariposa Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, twelve children were injured when a dust devil touched down and sent two inflatable amusement devices flying through the air. There were 12 children playing on the devices at the time. They suffered only minor injuries. A dust devil, also known as a whirlwind, can last from a minute to several hours. Its winds can reach speeds of 70 miles per hour.

    Albuquerque police report that the attractions were anchored to the ground in accordance with state regulations, and no criminal charges will be filed against the company that owns the attractions, A Ton of Fun.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Congressmen seek investigation into Colorado Sizzler death

    (Tuesday, May 31, 2005) - Representatives Edward Markey (D-MA) and John Salazar (D-CO) are imploring the Chairman Stratton of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate "vigorously and thoroughly" the death of a 14-year-old girl on a spinning amusement ride called the "Sizzler" in Durango, Colorado. In their letter, Markey and Salazar note that this death appears to be very similar to a previous fatality on a Sizzler in Arizona in 2003.

    "As you know, strong economic pressures on the owners of these rides often lead them to act imprudently from a public safety perspective," wrote the lawmakers, "and a local police department lacks certain experience regarding amusement park ride safety or the g-forces that may have triggered this death.

    "We implore you to use your authority to get to the bottom of this tragedy.  Eye witnesses believe this ride spins too fast, placing forces on the bodies of these young people that are not within safe boundaries.  The CPSC has clear jurisdiction over these rides.  You now have on staff expertise regarding the Sizzler that places you in a unique position to take immediate action to improve safety."

    Markey oversees the CPSC in Congress and Salazar represents Durango.

    Congress of the United States
    House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515-2107

    May 31, 2005

    The Hon. Hal Stratton, Chairman
    Consumer Product Safety Commission
    East-West Towers
    4330 East-West Highway
    Bethesda, MD 20814

    Dear Chairman Stratton:

    Over the Memorial Day weekend, a 14-year-old girl lost consciousness and died on a carnival ride in Colorado. The circumstances of this death deserve to be investigated vigorously and throroughly by your agency. They appear to be very similar to the death that occurred in Prescott, Arizona on November 18, 2003. In that case, a 22-year-old woman lost consciousness and died on a similar ride owned by the same company, Frazier Shows of America. In fact, it could very well be the same ride.
    Moreover, this type of spinning ride -- the Sizzler -- has been at the center of other serious accidents recently, including the death that occurred last year at a church fair in Shrewsbury Massachusetts.
    As you know, strong economic pressures on the owners of these rides often lead them to act imprudently from a public safety perspective, and a local police department lacks certain experience regarding amusement park ride safety or the g-forces that may have triggered this death.
    We implore you to use your authority to get to the bottom of this tragedy. Eye witnesses believe this ride spins too fast, placing forces on the bodies of these young people that are not within safe boundaries. The CPSC has clear jurisdiction over these rides. You know have on staff expertise regarding the Sizzler that places you in a unique position to take immediate action to improve safety.
    We would appreciate knowing to whom you assign this investigation and being kept informed of its progress. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Edward J. Markey, Member of Congress
    John T. Salazar, Member of Congress

    Girl loses consciousness on Sizzler ride, dies

    (Saturday, May 28, 2005) - At a carnival in Durango, Colorado, a 14-year-old girl lost consciousness while riding the Sizzler amusement ride. She was rushed to a local hospital, where she died.

    The ride is operated by Frazier Shows of Scottsdale, Arizona. Frazier Shows owner Steve Broetsky says that a girl who was riding with the teenager told him that the victim had a history of seizures, and that she was on medication. Broetsky does not believe that the death was related to the operation of the ride.

    The Durango Police Department has begun an investigation into the girls' death, but allowed the ride to reopen. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.


    Carnival worker struck by ride

    (Friday, May 27, 2005) - A carnival worker was seriously injured when he was struck by a spinning amusement ride and then dragged underneath it. The accident happened at a carnival in Marlow Heights, Maryland. The worker was hospitalized in serious condition.


    State probes owner after wall tragedy
    - Boston Globe, May 28, 2005

    "Mark Mooney, assistant chief of inspections, was on site the day before (the accident) and did the inspection."
    - Alan Ramsey, spokesman for Just For Fun Rentals
    "He [Mooney] was nowhere near [it].''
    - Katie Ford, Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety spokeswoman, explaining to the Boston Globe that Mooney was on vacation the week prior to the accident.

    Woman, 24, dead after fall from inflatable climbing wall

    (Wednesday, May 25, 2005) - A 24-year-old woman died from injuries she sustained in a fall from an inflatable climbing wall at a festival in Mansfield, Massachusetts on Sunday night. She had suffered serious head injuries when she fell about 10 feet, bounced off an inflated walkway and landed on pavement.

    Normally, the ride attendant wears a strap around his waist that allows him to slow a climber's fall with his own weight, however the attendant who was working with the victim had apparently failed to attach the strap around his waist, and instead was holding it in his hands. Witnesses say that when the victim told the attendant that she wanted to get down, the attendant responded by saying, "Let go, I gotcha." The strap then slipped out of his hands and the victim fell head-first.

    The attraction, called Rocky Mountain Climb, is owned and operated by Just For Fun Rentals of Danvers, Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS), the company did not operate the attraction properly, did not properly train the attendant, did not keep proper records as required by state, and did not have a permit to operate the attraction. The DPS also says that its inspectors were unable to inspect the wall because Just For Fun Rentals did not notify the state of its intention to operate the attraction, as required by law.

    Mansfield police and the DPS are investigating.

    The DPS has ordered Just For Fun Rentals shut down pending a review of the company's license.

    The Worcester Telegram reports that Glenn Robbins, who runs Just For Fun Rentals, was among several owners of companies renting inflatable amusement devices who attended recent state hearings on stricter amusement ride regulations, and questioned whether the same regulations that were being imposed on mechanical rides should apply to inflatable rides. The Boston Globe calls Robbins "a vocal opponent of the state's attempt to require owners to submit an itinerary 48 hours before they set up," and "a vocal opponent of the state's attempt to tighten regulations, particularly for inflatable apparatus, in April."

    PRESS RELEASE

    Just for Fun
    9 Canal Street
    Danvers, MA 01923
    For more information contact: Alan E. Ramsay, Spokesperson for Just for Fun at CLM Entertainment, 401-692-0876

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Rental Company Makes Statement
    Danvers, MA— May 27, 2005— At the WKLB Country Music Festival this Sunday, May 22, 2005 at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield Massachusetts, there was an incident involving The Rocky Mountain Climb, an inflatable amusement device that is designed as an interactive rock climbing wall owned by Just For Fun, an amusement rental company. We have learned that Stacy Sarrette, a 24-year old woman who had an incident on the inflatable device had passed away. Just For Fun wishes to express its deepest sympathies to Stacy’s family and friends and our hearts and prayers are with them during this time of grieving. Just For Fun is conducting its own investigation into the incident in addition to the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and other State and local agencies. Just For Fun has cooperated with all of these agencies in their investigation of this incident.
    Just For Fun is deeply saddened by the news about the tragic loss of life following the accident at the Tweeter Center on May 22nd and offers its deepest condolences.
    Recent press inquiries have been made about Just For Fun’s compliance with Massachusetts amusement regulations and Just For Fun hopes to resolve those through this statement. Just For Fun has always been concerned about providing and promoting safe and responsible use and operation of inflatable amusement devices.
    At the request of the Department of Public Safety, Just For Fun, has provided advice regarding the safe operation of inflatable amusement devices in Massachusetts during the past five years.
    The application of recent Massachusetts regulations to inflatable devices (as opposed to mechanical devices) has been unclear, and Just For Fun has repeatedly requested guidance from DPS on how to comply with these new regulations.. Just For Fun has complied in full with the advice and instructions it has received from DPS, including Mark Mooney and Thomas Gatzunis.
    In fact, Mark Mooney, who is the chief inspector of the Department of Public Safety, issued the 2005 license and permits to Just For Fun personally and actually attached identification plates to Just For Fun’s mechanical rides when he granted its 2005 permit. When doing so Mr. Mooney was aware that Just For Fun owned and operated inflatable amusement devices and did not make any statement about the company not complying with Massachusetts law or DPS regulations, or take any action on this subject, at that time.
    In addition to the inspection at Just For Fun’s facility on April 29, 2005, Mr. Mooney attached identification plates to Just For Fun’s mechanical devices at an event held in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While there, Mr. Mooney met with the Just For Fun event coordinator. (The event included the use of the same rock wall involved in the incident at the Tweeter Center as well as mechanical amusement devices.) Mr. Mooney inspected both the mechanical and inflatable amusement devices, including a physical test of the Rocky Mountain Inflatable Rock Wall, and gave the event coordinator permission to operate all of Just For Fun’s amusement devices.
    At the event on May 22nd, the Rocky Mountain inflatable device was properly inflated and properly staffed. Just For Fun’s supervisors took all appropriate steps to assure that staff members attending to the device were familiar with and had been trained to properly operate the amusement device.
    Just For Fun again offers its deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Ms. Sarette.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Carnival worker struck, killed by ride

    (Sunday, May 22, 2005) - In Reseda, California, a 43-year-old carnival worker died from massive head injuries after he was struck by an amusement ride. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating what they are calling "an industrial accident."


    Luna Park coaster closed
    Luna Park defends safety procedures

    Roller coaster car derails, strands six

    (Saturday, May 21, 2005) - At Luna Park in Melbourne, Australia, six people were left stranded atop the Metropolis roller coaster for nearly three hours after their car derailed. Five of the riders were children. The car halted about 45 feet in the air. Reports indicate that the rear left wheel of the the car broke, and jammed into the track.

    The children said that they were nervous and scared, but no one was injured.

    Park officials took no action for more than an hour, at which time one of the rider's parents called in the local fire firefighters, who used a cherry picker to rescue the riders.

    WorkSafe inspectors are investigating.


    Inspector does not certify 'Drop Zone'
    - Palestine Herald-Press, May 24, 2005

    Teen injured in fall from carnival ride

    (Thursday, May 19, 2005) - At a carnival in Palestine, Texas, a 14-year-old boy suffered serious leg and foot injuries when he somehow fell out of his seat on
    a freefall-type carnival ride called the "Drop Zone." The teen fell 10-20 feet and landed on a metal platform. He was then struck by a part of the ride and ultimately got his foot caught in a hydraulic piston. The ride operator had tried to catch him but failed and fell off the platform. He then helped to free the teen.

    The victim suffered two broken legs and a broken arm. He was hospitalized in serious condition.

    The Drop Zone is also known as the Jungle Drop. The ride constists of a vertical steel tower structure fixed to a trailer. An 8-passenger gondola is taken up to the top of the tower and then released. After a short freefall, the gondola is stopped by a magnetic braking system. The Drop Zone was manufactured in Italy and marketed in America by the Fabbri Group. It is operated by Reed Exposition Midways of Houston.

    It will remain closed until investigators determine what went wrong.

    Police say that witnesses have given conflicting reports as to whether the accident was caused by a faulty safety device or the teen's own intentional actions.


    Markey re-introduces the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act to Congress

    (Thursday, May 19, 2005) - With the arrival of summer and the beginning of the amusement park ride season, Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) today announced that he is re-introducing the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act, a bill which would end a massive loophole in safety regulation of theme park rides.

    "The amusement park industry needs a wake-up call," said Markey.

    "When families visit our amusement parks, they expect fundamental safety measures to already be in place. Instead, the industry keeps stonewalling these common-sense safety protections, leaving the prosecution of responsible parties as the only deterrent left, and by then, it is often too late."

    The nation's leading safety agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), oversees the safety of carnival rides, but a loophole prohibits the CPSC from overseeing the safety of park rides. Markey's legislation would allow the CPSC to perform its intended mission - preventing accidents before they occur by ensuring that safety corrections found necessary on one ride in one state are implemented on all similar rides in all states.

    "Many people don't realize that the number of fatalities per passenger mile on roller coasters is higher than on passenger trains, passenger buses, and passenger planes. We cannot wait until the next accident happens, we need to address these loopholes in amusement ride safety now and stop playing roller-coaster-roulette with the lives of Americas families," said Rep. Markey.

    The National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act, whch has the support of the Consumer Federation of America, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, Saferparks.org, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Kids in Danger, will close the special-interest loophole that prevents effective federal safety oversight of amusement park rides. It would restore to the CPSC the standard safety jurisdiction over fixed-site amusement park rides that it used to have before the Roller Coaster Loophole was adopted. It would restore CPSC's authority to investigate accidents, develop and enforce action plans to correct defects, and act as a national clearinghouse for accident and defect data.

    The bill, which authorizes appropriations of $500,000 annually to the CPSC, has the following co-sponsors: Representatives Schakowsky (IL), Rangel (NY), Neal (MA), Payne (NJ), McGovern (MA), Norton (DC), Maloney (NY), Kucinich (OH), Frank (MA), Brown, S. (OH) and Eshoo (CA).

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Worker injured in fall from Six Flags roller coaster

    (Thursday, May 19, 2005) - At Six Flags over Georgia theme park in Atlanta, Georgia, a worker was injured when she fell about 20 feet from the Mind Bender roller coaster. She was airlifted to a local hospital for treatment.


    Juror: state failed to prove manager caused death at amusement park
    - Court TV, May 17, 2005

    Rockin' Raceway manager guilty of reckless homicide in 'Hawk' death

    (Monday, May 16, 2005) - After deliberating for only two hours, the jury in the trial of Tennessee v. Charles Stan Martin found the defendant guilty of reckless homicide in the death of June Alexander, and fined him the maximum penalty of $5,000. The jury spared Martin of a second-degree murder conviction. Martin showed little emotion, but shook his head several times in disbelief.

    Alexander was killed in a 60-foot-fall from an amusement ride at Rockin' Raceway amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on March 14, 2004. The ride, called the Hawk, is a trailer-mounted amusement ride manufactured by Zamperla, an Italian amusement ride designer. The ride consists of a 24-passenger gondola which is swung back and forth until it passes completely through 360 degrees. Riders are upside-down when the gondola reaches its maximum height. The Hawk is a one-of-a-kind prototype -- no other was made.

    Alexander boarded the ride with her sister and her teenage son. Shortly after the ride began, as the gondola reached its maximum height, the victim's safety restraint opened, causing her to fall to the ground. The ride's safety system was designed to prevent the ride from starting if a passenger's safety harness was not locked, however investigators found a black jumper wire connected to the ride's electrical panel, which effectively bypassed the system. With the safety system disabled, the ride could be started even if sensors detected that a safety harness was not secured.

    The prosecution argued that Martin, the manager of Rockin' Raceway and the park's supervisor of ride maintenance, rigged the jumper wire himself, and knew that his action would disable the ride's safety system. The defense argued that Martin did not rig the jumper wire, and that Zamperla was ultimately to blame for manufacturing a defective product.

    If convicted of the second-degree murder charge, Martin would have faced up to 25 years in prison. The penalty for a reckless homicide charge ranges from probation to a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Martin will remain free on bond until he is sentenced on July 26.

    The Hawk ride has been dismantled.

    A $96 million civil lawsuit filed by the victim's family against Martin, Zamperla, and Rockin' Raceway is pending.

    Click here to read the complaint.
    Click here to see Zamperla's response.
    (Files are in .pdf format.)

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Attorney for amusement park manager plans to seek probation - WATE News, May 18, 2005
  • Guilty verdict in Pigeon Forge amusement manager's trial - WVLT News, May 17, 2005
  • Conviction in amusement park ride death - Associated Press, May 16, 2005
  • Park manager guilty in carnival ride death, but not of murder - Court TV, May 16, 2005
  • Manager convicted of reckless homicide in ride death - WATE News, May 16, 2005

    Click here for a complete summary of the trial.


  • Lawsuit filed in 2003 Holiday World death

    (Friday, May 6, 2005) - The father of Tamar Fellner, the 32-year-old woman who fell to her death from the Raven roller coaster at Holiday World theme park in 2003, has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the park and Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc., the company that designed the trains for the ride, claiming negligence. The lawsuit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, claims that the Raven was "in a dangerous and defective condition unreasonably dangerous to prospective users and consumers."

    An investigation into the woman's death revealed that the ride was in perfect operating condition at the time of the accident, and that the victim, a roller coaster enthusiast, may have unlatched her safety belt, as several witnesses say they saw her in a "virtual standing position" as she was riding. Based on the evidence of the investigation, an independent inspector concluded that the victim "engaged in conduct contrary to the rules of operation and in disregard of verbal instructions and posted written warnings."

    "These actions resulted in Ms. Fellner placing her body in a position that the ride was not designed to carry human passengers," he said.

    "Once in this undesigned riding position, the forces exerted on the body resulted in Ms. Fellner leaving the passenger carrying area of the car and falling down through the wooden structure to the ground... [resulting] in the unfortunate loss of Ms. Fellner's life."

    The family's attorney dismissed the eyewitness accounts and the findings of the independent investigator, telling reporters, "She was not standing up, she didn't try to stand up and she didn't monkey around with either of the restraints."

    In reponse to the lawsuit, Holiday World president Bill Koch issued a statement saying, "As was stated in the three investigative reports, the Raven was in excellent, safe running condition, and it is today. I have ridden the ride myself, as have my 11-, 14-, and 16-year-old children. I would not allow anyone to ride the Raven (or any other ride) if I was not firmly convinced that the ride is safe."

    The Raven has been in operation for 10 years, during which time no other passenger has been ejected from the ride.

    The case is Fellner v. Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and Koch Development Corporation.

    RELATED STORIES:
  • Woman, 32, killed in fall from roller coaster at Holiday World (5/31/03)
  • Inspectors find no problems with Raven (6/2/03)
  • Witnesses, experts shed light on Raven accident (6/3/03)
  • Holiday World introduces 'Zero Tolerance' policy to coaster clubs (9/16/03)
  • Raven investigation concludes: victim's actions caused her death (9/27/03)

    For more information, including the texts of the inspection reports and prosecutor's reports, visit masstort.org.

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
    AZRIEL C. FELLNER, in his capacity as
    the Personal Representative of the Estate
    of Tamar Etana Fellner, Deceased,
    Plaintiff

    v.

    PHILADELPHIA TOBOGGAN COASTERS, INC.,
    a Pennsylvania Corporation, and
    KOCH DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
    an Indiana Corporation,
    Defendants.

    COMPLAINT
    Comes now the Plaintiff, Azriel C. Fellner, in his capacity as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Tamar Etana Fellner, Deceased, and for his Complaint against the Defendants herein states as follows:

    Jurisdiction and Venue
    1. The Plaintiff, Rabbi Azriel C. Fellner (“Rabbi Fellner” or the “Plaintiff”), is the duly appointed Personal Representative of the Estate of Tamar Etana Fellner, Deceased.
    2. At all times relevant, Rabbi Fellner was a citizen of the state of New Jersey.
    3. At all times relevant, Tamar Etana Fellner (“Tamar” or the “Decedent”) was a citizen of the state of New York.
    4. At all times relevant, the Estate of Tamar Etana Fellner, Deceased, was and is proceeding in the state of New York.
    5. Defendant, Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc. (“PTC”), is a corporation duly organized under the laws of the state of Pennsylvania, with its principal place of business located at 3197 Penn Avenue, Hatfield, Pennsylvania.
    6. Defendant, Koch Development Corporation (“Koch Development”), is a corporation duly organized under the laws of the state of Indiana with its principal place of business located at 452 East Christmas Boulevard, Santa Claus, Indiana.
    7. Koch Development regularly does business under the assumed name of Holiday World.
    8. The jurisdiction of this Court is based upon the complete diversity of citizenship (28 U.S.C. §1332) as between the Plaintiff, a citizen of New Jersey, PTC, a citizen of Pennsylvania, and Koch Development, a citizen of Indiana.
    9. Venue is conferred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(a)(2) in that a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to this claim occurred within this judicial district.

    General Allegations
    10. At all times relevant, PTC has been engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of cars and trains for wooden roller coasters.
    11. At all times relevant, Koch Development owned and operated an amusement park known as Holiday World.
    12. Koch Development operated, among other things, a wooden roller coaster at Holiday World known as “The Raven.”
    13. PTC developed, designed, manufactured and sold to Koch Development the cars and trains for The Raven.
    14. On May 31, 2003, Tamar Etana Fellner was killed while riding The Raven. She was ejected from the car in which she was riding and fell to her death.

    COUNT I
    Negligence as to PTC
    15. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 14 as if fully set forth herein.
    16. PTC owed a duty to Tamar, and all riders of The Raven for that matter, to design and manufacture “restraints” within the cars of The Raven in such a manner that ejection therefrom during the operation thereof would be impossible.
    17. PTC breached that duty by inter alia:
    a. failing to safely develop, design, manufacture, test, and/or inspect the “restraints” within the cars for The Raven to prevent Tamar’s ejection therefrom while riding The Raven;
    b. failing to provide adequate instructions and warnings regarding the proper use, operation, and maintenance of the equipment described herein; and
    c. failing to comply with all local, state, and/or federal regulations, ordinances, rules and/or statutes applicable to the manufacture and sale of such cars and trains for wooden roller coasters.
    18. As a direct and proximate result thereof, Tamar was killed.
    19. As a direct and proximate result thereof, the Plaintiff has suffered damages, including, but not limited to, hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and administration expenses, pain and suffering of the Decedent until the time of her death, expectancy income and the loss of the Decedent’s love and affection, which are in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00).
    20. Furthermore, the Plaintiff is entitled to recover punitive damages against PTC as PTC’s above-described breach was done through wanton willfulness and/or reckless indifference and was not the result of an honest error or judgment, overzealousness, mere negligence or other known failure.
    WHEREFORE, the Defendant demands judgment in its favor and against Defendant, PTC, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, plus punitive damages, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    COUNT II
    Negligence as to Koch Development
    21. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 20 as if fully set forth herein.
    22. At all times relevant, Koch Development owed Tamar, and all riders of The Raven for that matter, a duty to safely maintain, monitor and administer the operation of The Raven.
    23. Koch Development breached that duty by inter alia:
    a. failing to ensure that Tamar was safely and properly secured by the “restraints” within the car of The Raven in which she was riding;
    b. failing to properly hire, train, monitor and oversee the ride attendants;
    c. failing to properly test, inspect, and maintain the safety restraints within the car of The Raven;
    d. failing to provide proper and adequate warnings regarding use of the The Raven; and
    e. failing to comply with all local, state, and/or federal regulations, ordinances, rules and/or statutes applicable to the operation of an amusement park ride such as The Raven.
    24. As a direct and proximate result thereof, Tamar was killed.
    25. The Plaintiff’s damages directly and proximately resulting from Tamar’s death include, but are not limited to, hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and administration expenses, pain and suffering of the Decedent until the time of her death, expectancy income and the loss of the Decedent’s love and affection, which are in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000).
    26. Furthermore, the Plaintiff is entitled to recover punitive damages against Koch Development as Koch Development’s above-described breach was done through wanton willfulness and/or reckless indifference and was not the result of an honest error or judgment, overzealousness, mere negligence or other known failure.
    WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff demands judgment in its favor and against the Defendant, Koch Development, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, plus punitive damages, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    COUNT III
    Strict Liability as to PTC
    27. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 26 as if fully set forth herein.
    28. The Raven was developed, designed, manufactured, distributed, leased, sold, and supplied for public use in a condition unreasonably dangerous to perspective users and consumers.
    29. The aforementioned product was defective by virtue of PTC’s: a. failing to safely develop, design, manufacture, test, and/or inspect the “restraints” within the cars for The Raven to prevent Tamar’s ejection therefrom while riding The Raven;
    b. failing to provide adequate instructions and warnings regarding the proper use, operation, and maintenance of the equipment described herein; and
    c. failing to comply with all local, state, and/or federal regulations, ordinances, rules and/or statutes applicable to the manufacture and sale of such cars and trains for roller coasters.
    30. As a direct and proximate result thereof, Tamar was killed.
    31. As a direct and proximate result thereof, the Plaintiff has suffered damages, including, but not limited to, hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and administration expenses, pain and suffering of the Decedent until the time of her death, expectancy income and the loss of the Decedent’s love and affection, which are in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00).
    32. Furthermore, the Plaintiff is entitled to recover punitive damages against PTC as PTC’s above-described breach was done through wanton willfulness and/or reckless indifference and was not the result of an honest error or judgment, overzealousness, mere negligence or other known failure.
    WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff demands judgment in its favor and against the Defendant, PTC, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, plus punitive damages, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    Count IV
    Strict Liability as to Koch Development
    33. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 32 as if fully set forth herein.
    34. The Raven was developed, designed, manufactured, distributed, leased, sold, and supplied for public use in a condition unreasonably dangerous to perspective users and consumers.
    35. The aforementioned product was defective by virtue of Koch Development’s:
    a. failing to ensure that Tamar was safely and properly secured by the “restraints” within the car of The Raven in which she was riding;
    b. failing to properly hire, train, monitor and oversee the ride attendants;
    c. failing to properly test, inspect, and maintain the safety restraints within the car of The Raven;
    d. failing to provide proper and adequate warnings regarding use of the The Raven; and
    e. failing to comply with all local, state, and/or federal regulations, ordinances, rules and/or statutes applicable to the operation of an amusement park ride such as The Raven.
    36. As a direct and proximate result thereof, Tamar was killed.
    37. As a direct and proximate result thereof, the Plaintiff has suffered damages, including, but not limited to, hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and administration expenses, pain and suffering of the Decedent until the time of her death, expectancy income and the loss of the Decedent’s love and affection, which are in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00).
    38. Furthermore, the Plaintiff is entitled to recover punitive damages against Koch Development as Koch Development’s above-described breach was done through wanton willfulness and/or reckless indifference and was not the result of an honest error or judgment, overzealousness, mere negligence or other known failure.
    WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff demands judgment in its favor and against the Defendant, Koch Development, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, plus punitive damages, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    Count V
    Breach of Implied Warranty as to PTC
    39. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 38 as if fully set forth herein.
    40. PTC designed, manufactured and sold the cars and trains for The Raven.
    41. PTC impliedly warranted that the cars were reasonably fit for their purpose.
    42. The Raven’s cars were not fit for the intended use as warranted, nor were they free from defects, but to the contrary they were in a dangerous and defective condition unreasonably dangerous to prospective users and consumers.
    43. As a direct and proximate result of PTC’s breach of warranty, the Plaintiff has suffered damages, including, but not limited to, hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and administration expenses, pain and suffering of the Decedent until the time of her death, expectancy income and the loss of the Decedent’s love and affection, which are in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00).
    WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff demands judgment in its favor and against the Defendant, PTC, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, plus punitive damages, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    Count VI
    Breach of Implied Warranty as to Koch Development
    44. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 43 as if fully set forth herein.
    45. Koch Development sold admission to The Raven.
    46. Koch Development impliedly warranted that The Raven was reasonably fit for its purpose.
    47. The Raven was not fit for its intended use as warranted, nor was it free from defects, but to the contrary it was in a dangerous and defective condition unreasonably dangerous to prospective users and consumers.
    48. As a direct and proximate result of Koch Development’s breach of warranty, the Plaintiff has suffered damages, including, but not limited to, hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and administration expenses, pain and suffering of the Decedent until the time of her death, expectancy income and the loss of the Decedent’s love and affection, which are in excess of Seventy Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00).
    WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff demands judgment in its favor and against the Defendant, Koch Development, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, plus punitive damages, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    Count VII
    Wrongful Death as to Koch Development and PTC
    49. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 48 as if fully set forth herein.
    50. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence, carelessness, and/or recklessness of the Defendants Koch Development and PTC as set forth above, Plaintiff’s decedent suffered injuries resulting in her death on or about May 31, 2003.
    51. As a result of the death of Tamar, Plaintiff, Azriel C. Fellner, Personal Representative of the Estate of Tamar Etana Fellner, Deceased, claims on behalf of Azriel and Judith Fellner, Tamar’s parents, damages for loss of Tamar’s life, society, support, services, wages, aid, assistance, and pecuniary losses suffered by Tamar’s parents and such other damages as provided for in the Wrongful Death Act.
    WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff demands judgment in its favor and against the Defendants, Koch Development and PTC, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    Count VIII
    Survival Action as to Koch Development and PTC
    52. The Plaintiff incorporates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 51 as if fully set forth herein.
    53. On May 31, 2003, Tamar died as a direct and proximate result of the deliberate, negligent, reckless and/or careless conduct of the Defendants as alleged above.
    54. Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Survival Act, 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8302, et. seq., the Plaintiff as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Tamar Etana Fellner, Deceased, commences this action against the Defendants, which action could have been commenced by the Decedent had she survived.
    55. As a direct and proximate result of the deliberate, negligent, reckless and/or careless conduct of the Defendants, Plaintiff seeks recovery for damages in the form of compensation for the extreme pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, lost wages, lost earnings and impairment of future earning capacity experienced by Tamar prior to and following her death on May 31, 2003.
    56. Furthermore, the Plaintiff is entitled to recover punitive damages against PTC and Koch Development as their above-described actions were done through wanton willfulness and/or reckless indifference and were not the result of an honest error or judgment, overzealousness, mere negligence or other known failure.
    WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff demands judgment in its favor and against the Defendants, PTC and Koch Development, in an amount to be established by the evidence at the trial of this cause, together with prejudgment interest and the costs of this action, plus punitive damages, and all other relief just and proper in the premises.

    DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
    Plaintiff respectfully demands trial by jury herein. Respectfully submitted, s/Keith W. Vonderahe Patrick A. Shoulders Keith W. Vonderahe Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, LLP P.O. Box 916 Evansville, IN 47706-0916 Phone: (812) 424-7575 Fax: (812) 421-5089 E-mail: kvonderahe@zsws.com s/Tracy G. Weiss Robert A. Nicholas Tracy G. Weiss REED SMITH LLP 2500 One Liberty Place 1650 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 851-8100 Attorneys for Plaintiff


    Roller coaster accident injures 25

    (Sunday, May 1, 2005) - At Bobbejaanland theme park in Brussels, Belgium, 25 people suffered minor injuries after an accident on the
    Bob Express, a powered roller coaster. Park officials say that the motor of the train's lead car failed, then the train of cars separated in two and rolled apart. An emergency brake automatically engaged, but the force of gravity pulled the two parts of the train into a collision, causing the injuries.

    Four people were treated and released at a local hospital. No one was seriously injured.


    Castles N' Coasters 'Sky Diver' drop tower malfunctions; riders evacuated

    (Sunday, May 1, 2005) - At Castles N' Coasters amusement park in Phoenix, Arizona, eleven people were left stranded for nearly three hours after a free fall ride malfunctioned. Reports indicate that the floorless, four-sided passenger cabin jerked as it ascended the tower. The cabin, guided by cables, normally drops to the bottom of the 120-foot-tall tower and "bounces" to a stop, however when it reached the halfway point on its descent, it made loud screeching noises and came to a sudden halt. Witnesses saw smoke coming from the cabin as it grinded to a stop. It took firefighters nearly three hours to rescue the riders, who were locked in their seats about 30 feet above the ground.

    The park's manager says that the ride will be closed until investigators determine what caused the malfunction.

    "We don't know what happened," he said.


    Skydiving ride death "our mistake," says Sega; park closed

    (Wednesday, April 20, 2005) - Sega Corp. has closed its Tokyo Joypolis theme park indefinitely, pending a police investigation and an internal investigation into park safety procedures. The action comes in the wake of an accident on Monday in which a 30-year-old man died after he fell out of a ride that is designed to give passengers an experience of virtual skydiving. Apparently, the ride's operators allowed the man to board the ride, even though the safety belt was not long enough to fit around his body. The man was secured only by an over-the-shoulder restraint, but Sega president Hisao Oguchi says that the restraint was locked in a "more loose position," causing the man to fall out.

    "It was our mistake," said Oguchi.

    Reports indicate that, while Sega's official park operations manual forbids riders from riding without seat belts, Tokyo Joypolis had given its employees an unofficial manual that allowed ride operators to use their own discretion as to whether a person could board a ride. Sega says it was unaware that the park had its own manual.


    'Insanity' strands riders atop Stratosphere

    (Wednesday, April 20, 2005) - At the Stratosphere hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, 2 girls were left stranded on the new 'Insanity' ride when high winds caused the ride to shut itself down.

    The ride is located atop the Stratosphere tower. It carries riders, who are seated in swings, off the edge of the tower, and then spins them through the air. The girls were left in their seats -- 900 feet in the air -- for more than an hour until maintenance workers were able to return the ride to its loading platform.

    The ride reopened after a safety inspection.


    Man killed in fall from skydiving simulator

    (Monday, April 18, 2005) - A 30-year-old man was killed after falling out of an amusement ride at Tokyo Joypolis, an indoor amusement facility in Japan operated by Sega. The ride, called "Viva! Skydiving," is a simulator ride that is designed to give patrons a virtual skydiving experience. The man fell 15-20 feet and died shortly thereafter. Reports indicate that the victim may have been too large for the ride's safety belt to fasten around him, and that the ride's operators knew that the victim was secured only by a safety harness.

    Police are investigating.


    Flying Swinger collapses at zoo; 18 injured

    (Saturday, April 9, 2005) - Eighteen people were injured when a Flying Swinger collapsed at the Guillena Zoo in Seville, Spain. Fifteen of the victims were children, two of whom were hospitalized with serious injuries. Reports indicate that the central axle of the ride snapped, causing the collapse. More than 30 people were on the ride, some of whom were trapped underneath debris.

    Police are investigating.

    Pictures of the ride can be seen here and here.
    Pictures of the collapsed ride can be seen here.


    Inflatable ride blows away with children inside

    (Saturday, April 9, 2005) - In Sahuarita, Arizona, an inflatable ride was carried away in strong winds with a 5-year-old girl and her 22-month-old sister inside. The girls suffered only minor injuries.

    The girls' parents rented the ride -- an inflatable castle in which children bounce and play. They say that the release form that they signed warned of the dangers that high winds pose to inflatable rides, but that they never read the paperwork. They say that the rental company, C&J Party Rental, should have warned them verbally.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Ride strands 30 at El Paso carnival

    (Sunday, April 3, 2005) - At a carnival in El Paso, Texas, an amusement ride stranded about 30 people for up to 90 minutes after the ride broke down. No one was injured.


    Boy, 6, injured at Yuma County Fair

    (Saturday, April 2, 2005) - At the Yuma County Fair in Yuma, Arizona, a 6-year-old boy was seriously injured in an amusement ride accident. He was taken to a local hospital for emergency surgery to repair a broken femur bone in his leg.

    The ride was operated by Brown's Amusement. It was inspected immediately after the accident and determined to be safe.


    Worker injured in roller coaster accident

    (Sunday, March 27, 2005) - At Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, a 40-year-old maintenance worker was injured while he was picking up garbage near a kiddie roller coaster. A garbage can that the worker had apparently placed onto the ride's track, was struck by the coaster's front car, then struck the worker in the head. He was airlifted to a local hospital with injuries to his head and leg.

    The park's owner told reporters that he did not know why the man was working so close to the ride while it was operating.

    None of the ride's passengers were injured.


    Trains collide on new Powder Keg roller coaster

    (Tuesday, March 22, 2005) - At Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, two roller coaster trains were involved in a minor collision on the park's new 'Powder Keg' roller coaster. The accident happened when a train carrying 16 passengers failed to stop completely and rolled into the station where it collided with an empty train.

    No injuries were reported.

    Park officials say that the ride will reopen once minor modifications are made to the ride's braking system and the ride is reinspected.


    Camp Snoopy ride strands 30

    (Monday, March 21, 2005) - At the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, an amusement ride in the Camp Snoopy theme park stalled, leaving thirty people stranded for as long as 90 minutes. Although some of the riders were stuck upside down for a short time, no one was injured, and rescuers were able to evacuate all of the riders safely.

    The ride, called the Mighty Axe, is manufactured by Zamperla and is also known as Rotoshake. Riders flip forward and backward as high as 82 feet in the air as the ride rotates through 360 degrees.

    The same ride failed once before in 1998 leaving five riders stranded upside down for more than an hour before rescuers brought them to safety.


    Two injured on flume at Florida fair

    (Saturday, March 19, 2005) - A 21-year-old girl and her 14-year-old sister were injured in an accident on a log flume ride at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition in Miami, Florida. The ride, called Niagra Falls, is operated by Southeast Amusement. A spokesman for the company said that the victims' boat had stopped on a conveyor belt at the top of the ride's tallest chute because the ride detected that other boats became stuck at another point along the ride, causing the ride's water level to drop too low for their boat to travel safely. A ride operator then mistakenly pressed a button which restarted the conveyor belt, sending the boat careening down the 40-foot-tall chute and hitting the side of the ride's fiberglass trough.

    One of the riders suffered facial fractures and was expected to undergo surgery; the other rider suffered minor injuries.

    Inspectors later examined the ride and found no mechanical problems. They agreed that the accident was the result of the operator's error.

    All of the ride's workers were later retrained.


    Boy, 4, severs thumb on Disneyland ride

    (Wednesday, March 17, 2005) - At Disneyland in Anaheim, California, a four-year-old boy broke a finger and severed the tip of his thumb after an accident on the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride. Reports indicate that the boy's fingers got caught between his boat and the dock.

    State inspectors ordered that Disneyland lower and repair the rubber bumpers along the dock's edge, and to reinsure that ride operators tell passengers to keep their hands in the boat while it docks.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    $750,000 settlement for woman in Six Flags water slide injury case

    (Friday, February 25, 2005) - A 45-year-old Brooklyn woman who was injured on a water slide at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park in Jackson, New Jersey, agreed to settle a lawsuit she filed against the park and accepted an offer by the park to pay her $750,000.

    The woman was injured while riding the park's 'Big Bambu' water slide on August 9, 2001. Her lawsuit claimed that her raft, in which two of her children were also riding, bottomed out because the water level in the pool at the end of the ride was too low.

    The woman suffered neck and knee injuries. She later underwent knee surgery and faced $18,000 in medical bills. Her 11-year-old daughter suffered minor injuries, including a sprained neck. Her 8-year-old son was not injured.

    The woman's attorney claims that the park knew about the potential danger, and says that he discovered that six other people suffered similar injuries in the month before his client was injured.


    Hulk stalls at Universal Studios Orlando

    (Friday, January 28, 2005) - At Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida, a roller coaster train stalled along the track of the Incredible Hulk ride. Most of the passengers were able to exit the ride immediately and were led down a stairway to safety while several others were taken from the ride on a cherry picker.

    No one was injured.


    Inners Shows settles with woman hurt in ride collapse

    (Wednesday, January 26, 2005) - A woman who claims she suffered permanent head injuries when a swing ride collapsed at a Virginia fair in September 2002, has settled a lawsuit she filed against Inners Shows, the owner of the ride. The details of the settlement are secret. The woman had been seeking $1 million from the company, whose owner admitted liability.

    Eight other people were injured in the accident. Investigators concluded that there was no mechanical malfunction, but that the ride operator may have failed to properly balance the weight of the riders, causing the ride to collapse.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Swing ride collapses at fair; 6 injured (9/8/02)


    Bumper car death case settled for $2 million

    (Tuesday, January 25, 2005) - The family of the 8-year-old boy who died after he got shocked while standing in line to ride a bumper car ride at Ohio's Lake County Fair in 2003 will receive nearly $2 million under the conditions of an agreement which settles lawsuits filed against the ride's owner and the fair board. Ride owner Eugene Chaffee agreed to pay $1 million to the boy's parents and the insurer of the Lake County Fair will pay $950,000. The family's lawyer -- who will get $600,000 of the settlement -- says he plans to pursue more lawsuits against the state and two ride inspectors who were convicted of failing to do their jobs properly.

    Investigators of the August 2003 accident discovered that the ride had not been grounded properly. In addition, prosecutors argued that the ride had 22 safety code violations. Five people were criminally charged in the case, including Chafee, the two ride inspectors, a fair electrician, and a ride supervisor.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Boy, 8, severely shocked on bumper car ride at Ohio fair (8/13/03)
  • Boy, 8, dies from bumper car ride injury (9/4/03)
  • Three face criminal charges in Ohio bumper car death (1/17/04)
  • Carnival owner charged with manslaughter, reckless homicide (1/24/04)
  • Fair worker guilty in bumper car death case (6/9/04)
  • Amusements of Buffalo owner pleads guilty in bumper car death case (6/11/04)
  • Fair worker sentenced in bumper car death case (7/7/04)
  • Amusements of Buffalo owner given 6 months in jail in bumper car death (7/12/04)
  • Ride inspector sentenced in Ohio bumper car death (11/8/04)
  • Second ride inspector sentenced in bumper car death case (1/10/05)

    Family of fatal fair accident victim issues statement

    The family of Greyson Yoe, the 8-year-old boy who died after he got shocked while standing in line to ride a bumper car ride at Ohio's Lake County Fair in 2003, released this statement on the tentative settlements in their wrongful death claims related to the death.

    In September of 2003, we suffered an incomprehensible loss that can never be resolved. There is no amount of compensation or court resolution that could replace or satisfy our loss. As co-administrators of our son's estate, we have made a determination to resolve the claims on behalf of our son against the Amusements of Buffalo Co., its owner Eugene Chaffee, and the Lake County Fair Board. While some may speculate whether or not this was appropriate, we would request that people respect this as a personal and private family decision. It is our sincere hope that amusement ride companies and fair boards throughout the country take notice of the need to be much more attentive and proactive in the measures they take to insure the safety of those who attend local fair events. Perhaps the most disturbing and alarming aspect of this whole experience has been the attitude and approach of the state of Ohio. We have yet to see one single sign that this accident has led to any improvements in a system that failed so miserably, and led directly to the death of our son. Instead of reacting with urgency in making certain this could never happen again, the state of Ohio has disclaimed all responsibility for this event. The state went so far as to change its procedure to make its inspection process less inclusive to avoid any potential exposure to liability on the part of its officers and agents. This conduct is reprehensible, and puts at risk every adult and child who attend amusement parks in the state of Ohio. We consider it our duty to hold the state accountable for its conduct, and to rectify this misguided policy that has reduced the scope of inspections in the hope of attempted self-preservation.

    Riders stranded aboard roller coaster

    (Friday, January 14, 2005) - At Ratanga Junction theme park in Cape Town, South Africa, 20 people were left stranded aboard the Cobra roller coaster after an apparent malfunction. The Cobra is a suspended looping roller coaster manufactured by Vekoma Rides Manufacturing. Riders reach a height of 109 feet and speeds of near 50 miles per hour.

    Rescue workers used ropes and harnesses to bring the passengers to safety. No injuries were reported.


    Teen injured in fall from roller coaster

    (Monday, January 10, 2005) - A teenager was seriously injured when she was thrown 15 feet from a roller coaster ride at an amusement park in Les Galleries de La Capitale shopping center in Quebec City. Witnesses say that the victim was ejected from the ride, then crashed through a wall, then fell 20 feet to the floor. The victim was hospitalized with serious head, back, and leg injuries.


    Second ride inspector sentenced in bumper car death case

    (Monday, January 10, 2005) - An amusement ride inspector was sentenced to 15 days in jail for one count of misdemeanor dereliction of duty for his role in the 2003 death of an 8-year-old boy who was shocked while standing in line for a bumper car ride at the Lake County Fair in Ohio. Kalin Turner, 43, an employee of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, inspected the ride the day before the accident. In his report of the ride inspection, Turner and another inspector indicated that the ride was grounded properly. It was later discovered that the ride had not been grounded properly, and that this was the sole factor which led to the boy's death.

    The defense argued that Turner did not have the expertise to determine whether the bumper car ride was grounded, but the prosecution argued that he was still responsible. The judge said that Turner should not have indicated that the ride was properly grounded if he was not sure that it was, and that Turner's safety checklist of the ride was misleading and a misrepresentation and that the inspector had a moral duty to be truthful. He sentenced Turner to 90 days in jail, but suspended 75 of them.

    "My heart goes out to you, and I'm sorry for your loss," Turner said to the boy's mother.

    Turner is the fifth person to have been criminally charged in the case. In November, another ride inspector was sentenced to 15 days in jail after he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of dereliction of duty; in July, the electrician who worked for the fair was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide for having improperly wired the ride -- he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 200 hours of community service; also in July, ride owner Eugene Chaffee was sentenced to six months in jail after he pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter; in addition, a ride supervisor was sentenced to 90 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to attempted child endangering.

    There are no further criminal charges pending in the case.

    The family is preparing a civil suit.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Boy, 8, severely shocked on bumper car ride at Ohio fair (8/13/03)
  • Boy, 8, dies from bumper car ride injury (9/4/03)
  • Three face criminal charges in Ohio bumper car death (1/17/04)
  • Carnival owner charged with manslaughter, reckless homicide (1/24/04)
  • Fair worker guilty in bumper car death case (6/9/04)
  • Amusements of Buffalo owner pleads guilty in bumper car death case (6/11/04)
  • Fair worker sentenced in bumper car death case (7/7/04)
  • Amusements of Buffalo owner given 6 months in jail in bumper car death (7/12/04)
  • Ride inspector sentenced in Ohio bumper car death (11/8/04)

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