Ride worker killed in accident at South Carolina fair(Sunday, October 19, 2008) - At the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia, South Carolina, a 51-year-old maintenance worker was killed in a freak accident involving a carnival ride called the Inverter. The man was crushed by a 10,000-pound counter-weight as it swung through a danger zone at the base of the ride. The victim was attempting to retrieve a tape measure that was left in the area, which was not visible to the public.
The death has been ruled accidental.
The man was an employee of North American Midway Entertainment.
The ride was operated by Spectrum Entertainment. Fair officials said that the accident was the third in four years where a ride malfunctioned, often injuring patrons, and that Spectrum would not return to the fairgrounds.
The ride, called Badlands 4x4, is operated by Murphy Brothers Exposition.
The accident also caused minor damage to the ride itself.
The Department of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating.
"Bungee Fun is completely safe for children and adults," claims the ride's website.
- RIA Novosti, July 18, 2008
UPDATE: On July 16, it was announced that the man died from his injuries.
UPDATE: The ride reopened two days later, after the park installed metal plates to each car that are designed to keep the doors of the Teacups from opening while the ride is in motion.
The Cobra is a new ride that opened in June. It reaches a maximum height of 70 feet and a top speed of 40 miles per hour.
The ride has been shut down while investigators determine what caused the accident. Early reports indicate that a broken axle may be to blame.
Cobra operation indefinitely suspended due to accident
The cause of the accident has not yet been determined. Technological Institute, in cooperation with police and Tivoli Frehedens technicians, are working to find the cause for this deeply unfortunate incident. It is clear however, that there was a mechanical problem and not a human error. Cobra is now closed and it is unclear what to do with the ride in the future.
Tivoli Frehedens is open as usual to the public.
Man injured in fall from Swinger
(Tuesday, July 1, 2008) - A man was seriously injured when he fell from a Swinger ride at a carnival.
The ride is operated by McNair Amusements of Loganville. It passed an inspection when the carnival opened on Monday.
Teen who entered restricted area underneath roller coaster killed
(Saturday, June 28, 2008) - At Six Flags Over Georgia theme park in Atlanta, Georgia, a 17-year-old boy was killed
when a roller coaster train struck him. The victim climbed over two 6-foot-tall fences and entered a restricted
area underneath the Batman roller coaster. The area was marked by signs located around the perimeter of the ride
that read: "Danger Zone," "Do Not Enter," and "Authorized Personnel Only." He was struck by the ride's train, which
was traveling near its top speed of 50mph, and decapitated.
CLOSE CALL ON DROP TOWER
|302 KAR 16:020(5) requires that 'All amusement rides and amusement attractions shall be maintained in good electrical and mechanical condition and shall be under the supervision of an operator at all times during the operation of the amusement ride or amusement attraction.' The KDA has always required amusement ride manuals provided by the manufacturer to be followed to satisfy this requirement. Based upon scientific evidence and expert opinion, the cause of the cable failure has been determined to be fatigue, a progressive failure of the mechanism. Also based upon expert opinion, it was determined that the extent of the fatigue would have made it possible for SFKK personnel to detect the deteriorating condition of the cable using the procedures outlined in the more recent ride manual. Therefore, a violation of 302 KAR 16:020(5) occurred due to the cable not being maintained in good mechanical condition.|
When investigators inspected the cable after the accident, they noted that it had "a red rust color appearance and broken wires were present."
The metallurgical testing conducted on the wire ropes led investigators to determine that the cause of the cable failure was fatigue, a progressive failure of the mechanism.
"The cable on the ride was in a condition that caused the cable to fail under its normal load in operation."
The report also states that park maintenance workers should have detected the poor condition of the cable prior to the accident.
|Maintenance records provided by SFKK indicate the cable units and switches were last checked on June 14, 2007, and 'no further action was needed.' However, based on expert opinion, the deteriorating condition of the cable would have been detected using the procedures outlined in the newer ride manual.|
Mr. Genculu stated: 'The metallurgical testing conducted on the wire ropes indicates that the failure
was caused by fatigue. This is a progressive failure mechanism where breaks of individual wires (flat
fractures) occur over repeated load cycles resulting in reduction of the load carrying capacity of the
rope. This condition ultimately leads to complete separation via overload of the remaining intact wires
(cup and cone fractures) since they can no longer support the load.”|
When asked if it would have been possible to detect the deteriorating condition of the cable prior to the incident. Mr. Genculu answered this question with the following paragraph in his letter: 'The extent of progressive (fatigue) cracking would have made it possible for the park personnel to detect the deteriorating condition of the rope had they been following the inspection instructions given in the maintenance manual.'
Numerous witnesses, riders on the ride at the time of the incident, and the main ride
operator all have stated the ride produced a loud noise within a few seconds of starting,
and within 40 to 45 feet of the starting ground position. The witnesses described the cable
falling out from the top of the ride as the ride ascended. The main operator, witnesses,
and the ride patrons in section III have all stated the ride patrons in section III were
yelling to stop the ride. The ride operator gave a statement to the KDA indicating that
training to operate the ride mandated hitting the emergency stop button in the event of
either a loud noise or unusual screaming. Inspectors from the KDA timed the travel of the
passenger car starting at 45 feet from the ground (the approximate position of the loud
noise) and ending during the approximately two second pause at the top of the tower
before the freefall (where depressing the emergency stop function would not have
stopped the ride) as being at least 10 seconds.|
In the KDA’s opinion, the injuries to the ride patrons probably would have been limited to cuts and scrapes had the emergency stop button been pressed, in accordance with training, during the 10 second window of time between the loud noise followed by the cable falling and the freefall of the ride.
The considered opinion of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is the cable condition and ride operator response were the largest factors contributing to the injuries of the ride patron.
The KDA report included this synopsis of a statement that it was given by the main ride operator:
Six Flags denies any responsibility for the accident.
The man who pulled the girl from the pool later told police that he had to yell several times to get a lifeguard’s attention before the lifeguard responded. He also said that the lifeguard was watching a water basketball game on the opposite side of the pool.
Witnesses said that the girl could not swim. A lifeguard told police that the girl was told to leave the smaller 'kiddie pool' and was directed to the larger pool because of a wristband policy. According to the lifeguard, the girl did not tell anyone that she could not swim.
The victim was not wearing a floatation device.
Police are investigating.
UPDATE: After his inspection of the pool, a public health specialist reported: “As far as pool safety, there were a few issues. None were determining factors in the drowning.”
Boy, 16, drowns in pool at water park(Wednesday, May 28, 2008) - A 16-year-old boy died in a drowning accident at Sun Valley Beach water park in Powder Springs, Georgia.
Fifteen lifeguards were on duty at the time the boy was discovered at the bottom of the pool -- none of whom reported noticing any signs of distress.
Police are investigating.
The accident happened when one car failed to roll past the initial incline and rolled backward into another car.
The ride has been shut down.
- Chance Rides Manufacturing
(Friday, May 16, 2008) - At the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp, California, 23 people were injured when a circular chain-suspended swing ride called the Yo-Yo collapsed. Three people were airlifted to local hospitals and were reported to be in serious condition. The twenty others who on the ride at the time of the collapse are thought to have suffered minor injuries. At least fourteen of the them were taken to regional hospitals for treatment.
Witnesses said that the ride collapsed as the swings were at their maximum height of approximately 20 feet. When the ride gave way, all of the swings came crashing down toward the middle of the ride. Before the seats struck the ground, some of them struck parts of the ride or other swings.
"It dropped down and dragged the kids around in circles," said one witness to KTXL-TV in Sacramento.
Another witness told the Union Democrat, "We just saw people bouncing off the ground and hitting the ride.
"It happened three times. It bounced, bounced and bounced, then people started hitting the ground."
The ride is operated by Midway of Fun, based in Oroville, California.
The Calaveras County Sheriff's Office and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health are investigating. All of the fair rides have been shut down.
Also on Friday, two carnival workers were arrested from the same fairgrounds -- one for failure to register as a sex offender; the other for a warrant for assault with a deadly weapon and for failure to register as a sex offender. One suspect ran from police, who chased him into an adjacent lot, pepper sprayed him, and took him into custody.
UPDATE: An initial inspection of the ride by state investigators indicates that the accident was caused by mechanical failure. All those who were hospitalized have been released.
Local firemen were called in to rescue the two passengers, who were left stranded at the top of the ride for about 20 minutes, but were not injured.
The ride is owned and operated by Gold Medal Rides.
Two other girls, aged 10 and 11, had also boarded the ride, but were uninjured.
Police are trying to determine why there were no security guards inside the park, who started the ride, and why the controls were left unlocked.
Most of the witnesses were children, but at least two adults -- one of whom recorded the incident with a cell phone -- were present. The adults can be heard laughing and joking throughout the cell phone video, which was later posted to an internet website. Police are trying to learn their identity.
The video clip features a news segment from Russia Today.
The ride manual indicates that maintenance technicians should conduct a "rag test" to detect for snags or fractures in the cables at least every six months. Workers were to perform the test by wrapping a cotton rag around each cable while the ride is set to maintenance mode. The manual states that "snagging of the rag on the cable indicates broken wires or some other significant flaw is present."
Schmidt said that workers performed visual inspections of each cable, but that "It was never brought to my attention to check those cables with a rag for snags."
When asked whether the ride's cables had been lubricated, Schmidt answered, "Not by a person, no." He then explained that some of the lubrication that was applied to the car rails would "end up on the cables," and that high winds would sometimes blow the cables into the rails, causing them to pick up grease. Schmidt believed that there was excessive grease on the cables, and that this would cause cables to slip on the drum as the ride was in motion. To prevent slippage, he said that corn starch was applied to the cables to dry them. Intamin's specifications did not indicate that corn starch be used at any time.
Earlier this year, a 16-year-old ride operator who was on duty at the Superman tower said that she "heard something snap" as the car was lifted to the top of the tower, then moved into a position where she could see the problems with the cables. She then called to the other operator to press the emergency stop button. "… I was like, 'Press the stop button,' then by the time we did that, it was too late. It was already down."
Six Flags denies responsibility for the accident. The parents of the girl who was injured, Kaitlyn Lasitter, are suing Six Flags for negligence. They are not suing Intamin or the manufacturer of the cable that snapped.
The exact cause of the failure has not yet been determined, however one test by a metallurgical laboratory revealed that, while there was grease around the ends of the cable, "the center surrounding the fracture exhibited rust and cracks without substantial grease.
"The cracks were prominent near the cable fracture site."
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture continues its investigation.
"In the security recording, at the time of the accident, the pool does not appear to be particularly crowded. Patrons appear to move in and out of the pool, and randomly around the pool, in a constant state of flux, causing the density of patrons in any one zone to increase and decrease randomly, particularly once the waves operate, as would be expected with any wave pool. Because of this dynamic, the density of patrons can suddenly increase or decrease in any one zone at any time. At the time of the accident, there were six lifeguards on duty. After interviewing all of the lifeguards involved, some of the guards stated that it was crowded in the pool, and others stated that it was not very crowded.
"In the digital recording, the child is viewed floating for approximately 39 seconds prior to the lifeguard in zone #4 reacting to the event."
OSHA officials said that the pool's safety specifications require Vigilance Awareness Training (VAT). VAT testing is failed when lifeguards fail to respond after 30 seconds. Also, investigators discovered that four of the six lifeguards who were on duty had been at the same position for more than an hour and a half, and one of the four had been at the same position for two hours. Pool specifications require that lifeguards spend a maximum of one hour at a particular position.
Great America released a statement in response to the report, using the opportunity to promote the opening day of its wave pool and water park for the 2008 season:
"California's Great America would like to continue to express our deepest sympathy to the family. All of us at California's Great America are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Safety is our No. 1 priority here at California's Great America and the most important thing we do each and every day. The park cooperated fully throughout the state inspection, met all requirements and received approval to reopen the "Great Barrier Reef" wave pool last August. The wave pool will open for the 2008 season on May 24 with the rest of the Boomerang Bay water park."
Great America is owned and operated by Cedar Fair.
According to police, the man was inside the ride's cylindrical support column when part of the ceiling structure collapsed on top of him.
The ride passed an inspection last week.
Forensic engineers are investigating.
- Victoria Advocate, 1/28/08
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation.
The slide, called "Super Spiral," is three stories high. Park officials said that the collapse occured at a section near the end of the slide that was about 6-8 feet high. Some of the children fell through the slide when it collapsed.
Victims suffered head injuries, broken limbs, and bruises.
Authorities have ordered the ride shut down and an investigation is underway. Some witnesses said that children were shaking the slide.
The park accepted responsibility and promised to cover the victims' medical expenses.
Three months ago, an accident on a log flume ride at Siam Park left one woman dead and five others injured.
UPDATE: Overwhelmed with grief over the park's recent accidents, Siam Park president Chaiwat Leungamornphan has announced that he is selling the park.