2011 NEWS ARCHIVE

JANUARY

  • Roller coaster car derails at Florida carnival (1/30/11)
  • Man killed in fall from roller coaster (1/30/11)

    FEBRUARY

  • Another inflatable goes flying; girl falls onto roof (2/20/11)
  • Girl, 3, killed inside kiddie ride (2/6/11)

    MARCH

  • Disney World worker suffers fatal roller coaster injury (3/14/11)
  • Miniature train derails; 1 killed, 28 injured (3/19/11)
  • Man dead after fall from roller coaster (3/20/11)
  • Engineer's report cites faulty repairs, poor inspections in Scorpion collapse (3/25/11)
  • CPSC warns of deadly danger of water walking balls (3/31/11)

    APRIL

  • Another bounce house blows away; 2 children hospitalized (4/02/11)
  • Boy, 3, killed in roller coaster accident (4/02/11)
  • Another inflatable topples in wind; 3 children injured (4/21/11)
  • Boy, 11, killed in fall from zip line (4/24/11)
  • Four injured on Disneyland Paris roller coaster (4/26/11)
  • Another inflatable slide collapses; 5 injured (4/29/11)

    MAY

  • Another inflatable slide collapses; 4 injured (5/7/11)
  • Car derails from ride at NJ park; 3 injured (5/7/11)
  • Another inflatable goes flying; 6 injured (5/13/11)
  • Teens injured in fall from Zipper ride (5/14/11)
  • Carnival workers fall from Ferris wheel; 1 killed (5/16/11)
  • Another inflatable slide topples; children injured (5/27/11)
  • Another inflatable blows away; 3 children hospitalized (5/29/11)
  • Three children rescued from carnival ride (5/29/11)

    JUNE

  • Three inflatables blow away with children inside; 17 people injured (6/4/11)
  • Girl, 11, dies after falling from Ferris wheel (6/4/11)
  • Cable snaps on rock climbing wall; man injured (6/5/11)
  • Cedar Point roller coaster accident injures 7 (6/6/11)
  • Girl, 18, killed in fall from ride (6/19/11)
  • Woman injured at Michigan carnival (6/21/11)
  • Fair ride operator, passenger injured (6/21/11)

    JULY

  • Park worker killed in Florida (7/2/11)
  • Roller coaster accident injures 6 (7/3/11)
  • Woman's leg shattered during bungee jump (7/5/11)
  • Carnival worker electrocuted while dismantling ride (7/5/11)
  • Man, 29, killed in fall from Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake (7/8/11)
  • Investigators: park policy ignored in Ride of Steel death (7/13/11)
  • Dallas bungee ride strands riders for hours (7/18/11)
  • Go Bananas park owner, manager charged with safety violations (7/22/11)
  • Darien Lake cited for safety violations in Ride of Steel death (7/22/11)
  • Camden Park Spider ride collapses (7/23/11)
  • Child injured on inflatable slide (7/26/11)
  • Octopus ride collapses (7/28/11)


  • Nine Network News, Australia

    Another bungee cord snaps; jumper plunges into river

    (December 31, 2011) - A 22-year-old Australian woman was seriously injured in a bungee jump from a bridge over the Zambezi River on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border after the bungee cord snapped and she fell into the river 365 feet below.

    The woman reported that she lost consciousness upon impact, but quickly regained her senses. Despite her injuries and disorientation, she managed to avoid crocodiles as she swam through rapids with her legs still bound, until she reached the shore.

    The bungee jump is operated by Safari Par Excellence.

    Authorities temporarily shut down local bungee attractions for a safety audit of equipment and procedures.

    RELATED STORIES
  • Broken harness blamed for bungee ride death in Canada (8/24/98)
  • Bungee rides close in New Jersey; designer, inspector fined $20,000 (10/29/98)
  • Canadian officials charge bungee ride company, owner (1/20/99)
  • Bungee ride owner gets two months to decide plea (3/26/99)
  • Bungee ride owner pleads not guilty (5/21/99)
  • Owner of fatal bungee ride admits he altered ride after inspection (11/27/99)
  • Anderson Ventures found guilty in Rocket Launcher death (2/22/00)
  • Anderson Ventures fined a record $145,000 for Rocket Launcher death (4/25/00)
  • Man falls 300 feet to his death in bungee ride accident (5/15/00)
  • Mobile bungee rides banned in Ontario (7/5/00)
  • Bungee ride malfunctions at Daytona Beach; 2 injured (7/21/00)
  • One dead, one injured in bungee ride accident (6/3/01)
  • Bungee cord snaps on Texas thrill ride; 2 injured (7/29/01)
  • Bungee jump accident kills 2 in Italy (5/1/02)
  • Ejection Seat cable snaps at Oregon carnival (6/9/02)
  • Fairground worker killed in Slingshot accident (8/4/02)
  • Slingshot ride cable snaps at Ohio State Fair, stranding riders (8/5/02)
  • Man killed in 180-foot fall after bungee cord disengages (8/26/02)
  • Girl, 14, killed in bungee ride mishap (8/9/04)
  • Bungee cord snaps; rider hospitalized (7/12/05)
  • Ride operator injured in 'Springshot' mishap (7/16/05)
  • Another bungee ride malfunctions (7/24/05)
  • Bungee jumper nearly strangled (8/1/05)
  • Cord snaps on reverse bungee ride (5/7/06)
  • Riders stranded after reverse bungee ride malfunctions (6/22/06)
  • Bungee cord snaps on Ejection Seat ride; 2 injured (8/2/06)
  • Teenage girl killed in fall from bungee ride (7/14/07)
  • Two women rescued from bungee ride after mishap (7/26/08)
  • Bungee cord snap causes near-fatal accident (2/19/09)


  • Fairfax Media

    Teen ejected from ride

    (November 20, 2011) - A 13-year-old girl was thrown from a fair ride called the Cha Cha at the Lilydale Spring Show, east of Melbourne, Australia. Reports indicate that the girl's safety bar may have malfunctioned or opened during the ride. She was flung into a metal safety fence surrounding the ride, and was then struck by the ride when she tried to stand up. She was hospitalized with deep cuts to her head, bruises, a swollen ankle, and a possible wrist fracture.

    Two other teenagers received medical treatment for minor cuts.

    According to WorkSafe Victoria, the ride did not meet Australian safety standards. WorkSafe notified the ride's owners that they must install a secondary locking device on each seat's safety bar.

    One killed, 9 injured after ride derails

    (November 9, 2011) - At a carnival near Valenzuela City in the Philippines, a man who was riding a caterpillar-type ride with his family was fatally injured after the ride derailed, ejecting him onto the tracks, where he became pinned.

    Nine other riders were also ejected; they suffered only minor injuries.

    The operator of the ride fled the scene, but was eventually apprehended and detained.

    Authorities have ordered the carnival closed. The owner and ride operator are facing charges of negligence resulting in homicide.

    Expert: Safety switch should have been implemented
    Shreveport Times, 11/6/11

    State Fair accident puts the heat on fair, amusement operators and inspectors
    Shreveport Times, 11/8/11


    KSLA News

    Child hospitalized after accident on kiddie ride

    (November 2, 2011) - At the State Fair of Louisiana, a 4-year-old boy suffered serious injuries when a kiddie ride accidentally started while the ride operator was unloading passengers. The ride operator left the control panel active, with its key engaged, leaving the ride powered and idling. As the operator was helping children exit the ride, a child who was standing in line to board the ride pressed the start button on the control panel. The victim fell and became trapped underneath one of the ride's cars.

    Rescue workers manually lifted the car to take some of its weight off of the child and help him breathe. He was left pinned for 20 minutes while workers used the jaws of life to free him. He was hospitalized in critical condition.

    The accident happened on a children's spinning car ride known as the Twin Rings, or Demolition Derby.

    According to the state fire marshal's office, the operator should have turned the ride off when he left the control panel, rather then leave it idling.

    "Anytime the operator leaves the control panel the ride should be de-energized," said Butch Browning with the state fire marshal's office. "Clearly the root cause is an unauthorized person, but the fact that the console was energized is a contributing factor."

    The ride was damaged by the jaws of life and is inoperable. No citations or fines have been issued.

    "The rides are safe, but many things have to happen for them to be safe," Browning said. "The human beings who operate the rides must follow the rules."


    Click to read the entire NTSB report.

    Disney World faulted in National Transportation Safety Board report

    (October 31, 2011) - The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the July 5, 2009, collision between two monorails at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, was the shop panel operator’s failure to properly position switch-beam 9 and the failure of the monorail manager acting as the central coordinator to verify the position of switch-beam 9 before authorizing the reverse movement of the Pink monorail. Contributing to the accident was Walt Disney World Resort’s lack of standard operating procedures leading to an unsafe practice when reversing trains on its monorail system.


    The Local Europe

    Fair ride car flies into railing; 2 injured

    (October 27, 2011) - At a carnival in Bremen, Germany, a ride called the Octopus malfunctioned, leaving a 27-year-old woman hospitalized in critical condition and another woman with serious injuries. The accident happened when the victims' car detached from the ride and crashed into a safety railing.

    Investigators believe that the accident was caused by a broken axle.


    A Tip Top ride in operation

    Woman killed in fall from Tip Top ride at Dublin fair

    (October 24, 2011) - A 31-year-old woman suffered a fatal fall from a Tip Top ride at a fair in Dublin, Ireland. She was ejected from her bucket seat and landed on the metal steps leading to the ride's platform. It is believed that she died instantly.

    The ride was inspected and found to be in proper mechanical condition. Investigators concluded that the woman somehow slipped underneath the safety bar and fell out.

    The Tip Top consists of 12 carriages that are suspended from a wheel that spins while an arm connected to the wheel lifts vertically to a height of 40 feet.

    Fair ride mishap injures 6

    (October 12, 2011) - In Columbia, South Carolina, six people suffered minor injuries when part of a Bonzai ride broke apart, sending debris flying. The accident happened at the South Carolina State Fair.

    According to a fair spokesman, a footrest underneath one of the seats came loose and struck another part of the ride. The collision of ride parts sent metal fragments flying into the air, injuring five people on the ride and one person who was riding an adjacent ride. All six were treated at the fair's first aid center and released.

    South Carolina ride inspectors are investigating.

    Water slide collapse injures 4

    (September 25, 2011) - At Atlantis Water Adventure Park in North Jakarta, Indonesia, a water slide partially collapsed, leaving four people injured. The accident was apparently caused by decorations that had collapsed onto the slide.

    The operator of the park offered free tickets to those injured.

    Top Spin strands passengers upside down

    (September 2, 2011) - At the New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York, a Top Spin amusement ride came to an unexpected stop, leaving 40 riders stranded upside down for four minutes.

    A spokesman for the fair said that the ride's safety system engaged after it detected that the passenger restraint system had too much pressure. The ride eventually restarted, allowing the operator to lower the gondola to the platform where all passengers exited the ride safely. No one was injured.

    The system that stopped the ride was likely triggered by a tall or large rider.

    The ride was subsequently inspected and reopened shortly after the incident.


    ITV Central News

    Seven hospitalized after catastrophic ride failure

    (August 30, 2011) - At Botton's amusement park in Skegness, Linconshire, England, an amusement ride malfunction left seven riders hospitalized. The accident involved a ride called Surf Rider, which consists of a vertical arm that rotates 360 degrees through the air. A gondola attached to one end of the arm is designed to remain horizontal throughout the ride, keeping passengers upright. Somehow, the gondola crashed into the ground in a vertical position.

    Firefighters used a hydraulic platform and ropes to bring all 22 riders to safety.

    Injuries included whiplash and bruises. One woman suffered serious head injuries.

    The Health and Safety Executive is investigating.

    The park announced plans to remove the ride.

    UPDATE: All of the injured riders were released from the hospital.


    Log flume ejects, injures two

    (August 28, 2011) - In Bridlington, England, a 4-year-old girl and her 58-year-old grandmother suffered serious injuries when they were ejected from a log flume ride called Jungle River. Witnesses said it appeared there was no water on the slide at the time the victims' log slid down, causing the log to travel faster than its designed speed. The force of the log hitting the water at the end of the ride caused both victims to be flung out of the log, which ultimately tipped over. The 7-year-old landed in water and her grandmother landed on a walkway surrounding the ride.

    The girl suffered cuts and bruises to her leg, and her grandmother suffered more serious leg injuries that required her to be airlifted to a hospital.

    The Health and Safety Executive is investigating.


    A YouTube video shows the ride in operation.

    Boy falls 30 feet from thrill ride

    (August 23, 2011) - A 12-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling 30 feet from the Excalibur 2 thrill ride at Camelot theme park in Lancashire, England. His condition was not immediately reported, but his injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

    The ride consists of a circular gondola with ten 4-passenger cars, each facing outward. The gondola spins at the end of an arm that rotates 360 degrees.

    According to witnesses, the boy tried to hold on and was seen hanging from the ride briefly before he fell.

    The ride will remain shut down pending an investigation by local police and the Health and Safety Executive.

    Inspector says changes are needed to State Fair ride that injured operator
    Charleston Gazette, September 2, 2011


    A YouTube video shows the ride in operation.

    Ride operator in critical condition after collision with ride

    (August 20, 2011) - A 25-year-old ride operator was struck by a gondola that sped by him while he was in a restricted area. The accident happened at the West Virginia State Fair in Charleston, West Virginia.

    The man was operating a ride called Speed, which consists of two arms that rotate to heights of 125 feet at 13 revolutions per minute. Each arm has a 4-person gondola that rotates freely at each end. According to co-workers, the man was looking at his cell phone when he walked into the path of the ride.

    He was airlifted to a hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

    The operator is employed by Reithoffer Shows of Gibsonton, Florida.

    UPDATE: OSHA is investigating.

    Sea Dragon ride injures 5 at Morey's Piers

    (August 19, 2011) - At Morey's Mariner's Landing Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey, five people were injured when a decorative mast broke and struck them on a popular pirate ship-themed ride called the Sea Dragon. Four people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, and a 13-year-old girl was hospitalized with more serious injuries.

    Man injured in fall while boarding roller coaster

    (August 19, 2011) - At Silverwood theme park in Athol, Idaho, a man was seriously injured after falling onto the track of the Corkscrew roller coaster while he was attempting to board the train, which was stopped in the station.

    It took rescue workers about an hour to remove the man, who remained unconscious throughout the ordeal.

    The ride reopened after it was determined that it did not malfunction.

    Carnival ride operator arrested, charged with reckless endangerment

    (August 14, 2011) - At the Putnam County Fair in Cookville, Tennessee, a 23-year-old carnival worker was arrested while he was operating a Ferris wheel. The man was allegedly smoking marijuana while operating the ride. Police charged him with reckless endangerment and possession of a controlled substance.

    Ride operator dead in roller coaster accident

    (August 13, 2011) - A 24-year-old ride operator was crushed by a roller coaster train and later died from his injuries. The man left the control booth while the ride was in motion and got his legs crushed underneath the cars. Rescue workers amputated one of the man's legs on the scene to free him, then rushed him to a hospital, where he died from his injuries hours later.

    The accident happened at an amusement park called Naudières in Sautron, France.

    Investigators inspected the ride and determined that there were no mechanical defects.

    Four killed, 24 injured when amusement ride cars crash, derail

    (August 13, 2011) - At a park in Yixing, East China, four people were killed and 24 people were injured while they were riding in small carts on a roller coaster-type track that twists and turns through the woods. The carts began to crash into each other and derail after sudden heavy rains slicked the track.

    One of the injured was hospitalized in critical condition.


    João Laet/Agência ODia

    One killed, 8 injured after amusement ride malfunctions

    (August 13, 2011) - At the Glory Center amusement park outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, an amusement ride car flew off a ride and struck people who were standing in line around the ride. A 17-year-old girl who was in line to purchase tickets for the ride was killed, 2 people were hospitalized with serious cranial injuries, and 6 others were hospitalized with injuries that were less serious.

    The ride, called Typhoon, rotates as its cars are lifted and lowered rapidly through the air.

    Witnesses said that the car was loaded with as many as six passengers who were among the injured. The cars are designed for a maximum capacity of four passengers.

    The owner of the park was arrested and charged with manslaughter. She claims that the ride passed a recent inspection.

    Scrambler ride injures 3

    (August 12, 2011) - At a carnival in Tell City, Indiana, three people were injured on a Scrambler ride when a decorative light fixture fell off the ride and struck them. One person was treated at the scene for minor injuries, and two others were treated at a hospital, including a 17-year-old boy who received 70 stitches on his face.

    Inspectors believe that a metal pin came loose, causing the fixture to fall.

    The ride passed a recent state inspection and reopened after all light fixtures were removed.

    Carnival ride operator arrested, charged with reckless endangerment

    (August 9, 2011) - At a carnival in Connoquenessing Township, Pennsylvania, a 47-year-old ride operator was arrested while he was operating a looping ride called the Ring of Fire. The man was allegedly drunk and had urinated in public. Police charged him with reckless endangerment, open lewdness, and public drunkenness.


    Agencia EFE

    Three dead after carnival ride breaks apart

    (August 8, 2011) - In one of the deadliest carnival ride accidents in decades, three men were killed and a 16-year-old girl was seriously injured when a carnival ride broke apart in Villacañas, Spain.

    The ride, whose signs read "Xtrem" and "Freak Out," consists of a vertical arm that swings through the air like a pendulum. At the end of the arm, there are four rows of seats arranged in a circle, so that riders face each other. The gondola rotates as the arm swings through the air. One of the 4-passenger rows of seats broke off from the gondola and fell 30 feet to the ground, where it crashed near the entrance of the ride.

    The men who died were 21, 23, and 31 years old. The girl was hospitalized in critical condition. Her injuries include a cranial fracture and facial injuries.

    Witnesses reported that the ride had been making unusual noises. The ride is reported to have had proper permits and inspection certification. Authorities are investigating.

    Most similar rides that use the same name and signage are not connected to this ride's manufacturer.


    Courtesy Atlas
    EuropaPress.de

    Statement from KMG International:

    This letter is to inform anyone whom it concerns about an accident that happened on a fair in the town of Villacanas in Spain. On August 9th, 2011 a terrible accident happened to a ride called Freakout where the passenger seating facility came off the ride causing three deaths a one severe injury.

    Although the ride was called Freak Out and the outlines of the structure look likes the main structure of the KMG Freak Out, KMG states the following:

    The ride involved in the above mentioned accident is not constructed by KMG and its construction is not related in any way to the design of the KMG Freak Out ride manufactured by KMG in The Netherlands. Therefore KMG Freak Out rides are not related to this accident.

    We hope to have you informed sufficiently.

    Kind regards,

    Bas Derkink
    Mechanical Engineer KMG

    Octopus ride collapses

    (July 28, 2011) - At a carnival in Norton, Kansas, four people were injured when part of a ride called the Octopus collapsed. Investigators reported that one of the ride's arms fell about five feet to the ground.

    In June 2009, three people were injured when an Octopus ride in Virginia malfunctioned and their car fell 15-20 feet to the ground. Investigators determined that the accident was caused by a cracked bracket, which was not visible during routine inspections.

    In August 2007, two people were injured at a Wisconsin carnival when an arm of an Octopus ride fell to the ground. According to investigators, the part of the ride that broke was completely enclosed and could not be inspected visually.

    In February 1997, an 11-year-old girl was killed and two other people were seriously injured when an arm broke off an Octopus ride at a fair in Australia. Investigators found that a bearing cap had cracked, causing the ride to collapse.

    In December 2006, a 10-year-old girl was killed and six teenagers were injured when an arm of a ride called the Octopus crashed to the ground at a carnival in the Philippines.

    Child injured on inflatable slide

    (July 26, 2011) - A child suffered a minor injury on an inflatable slide that was part of a fun house attraction at the Chautauqua County Fair in Dunkirk, New York.

    RELATED STORIES: INFLATABLE SLIDES
  • Inflatable slide tips over at Texas carnival; 4 injured (3/25/00)
  • Teen dies after accident on inflatable ride (5/31/00)
  • Inflatable Titanic slide collapses at fair; 5 injured (6/2/00)
  • One killed, 12 injured in inflatable ride accident (3/11/01)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 3 children injured (5/20/01)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 9 children injured (5/21/01)
  • North Carolina slide was uninspected and overloaded, says state (5/25/01)
  • Inflatable ride tips over at Michigan carnival; 2 children injured (6/24/01)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 4 injured (7/15/01)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 5 injured (7/28/01)
  • Boy injured on Titanic inflatable (8/12/01)
  • Another inflatable Titanic ride accident; 2 injured (8/19/01)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 12 children injured (8/8/02)
  • Another inflatable ride mishap; 2 injured (9/21/03)
  • Report: at least 14 Titanic inflatable slides have collapsed (11/26/03)
  • Turbo Rocket inflatable collapses; nine hospitalized (5/7/04)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 8 children injured (6/27/04)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 9 injured (7/30/04)
  • Another inflatable slide accident; 7 injured (8/14/04)
  • Another inflatable ride accident; 3 children injured (10/16/04)
  • Inflatable ride blows away with children inside (4/9/05)
  • Woman, 24, dead after fall from inflatable climbing wall (5/25/05)
  • Inflatable rides go flying; 12 children injured (6/4/05)
  • Another inflatable ride blows away; children injured (7/3/05)
  • Another inflatable ride collapses; 6 children injured (7/28/05)
  • Another child injured on inflatable attraction (10/15/05)
  • Girl, 11, dead after fall from Titanic inflatable (4/20/06)
  • Inflatable ride collapse leaves 4 children injured (6/10/06)
  • Inflatable ride tips over in wind; 1 injured (7/1/06)
  • Another inflatable ride blows away; 1 killed, 5 injured (5/3/07)
  • Another inflatable ride flips over; 2 injured (5/27/07)
  • Inflatable tossed 50 yards offshore with 2-year-old inside (6/9/07)
  • Inflatable ride with three children inside blows away, hits fence, power line (10/20/07)
  • Another child killed in inflatable accident (12/15/07)
  • Another inflatable slide collapses (5/30/08)
  • Another inflatable slide collapses; 7 injured (6/16/08)
  • Another inflatable slide accident; 4 children injured (7/9/08)
  • Another inflatable ride injury (7/26/08)
  • Inflatable ride flips over in wind, hits steel pole; 5 children injured (8/2/08)
  • Another inflatable ride death (9/30/08)
  • Another Titanic inflatable topples over; children injured (10/1/08)
  • Boy, 3, injured in inflatable play center (3/8/09)
  • Bounce house dangers exposed, companies lack insurance (3/17/09)
  • State insurance laws may deflate Dallas-Fort Worth bounce houses (3/20/09)
  • Inflatable slide tears apart, injuring teen (5/25/09)
  • Teen paralyzed after flip on inflatable ride (6/21/09)
  • Another inflatable ride accident sends boy flying; several injured (6/27/09)
  • Inflatable ride blows into pond with girl, 5, inside (1/17/10)
  • Boy, 5, dies after fall from inflatable (3/22/10)
  • Another inflatable goes flying; 3 children injured (4/4/10)
  • Another inflatable topples in wind; 1 injured (9/25/10)
  • Boy, 5, dies in inflatable accident (10/30/10)
  • Another inflatable topples in wind; 3 injured (11/23/10)
  • Another inflatable goes flying; girl falls onto roof (2/20/11)
  • Another bounce house blows away; 2 children hospitalized (4/2/11)
  • Another inflatable topples in wind; 3 children injured (4/21/11)
  • Another inflatable slide collapses; 5 injured (4/29/11)
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  • Another inflatable goes flying; 6 injured (5/13/11)
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  • Another ride malfunctions at Camden Park
    WSAZ, August 2, 2011

    Camden Park Spider ride collapses

    (July 23, 2011) - At Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia, a malfunction on the Spider ride caused one of its arms to fall to the ground. The cars at the end of the arm were unoccupied, but one person suffered minor injuries and two others were taken to a hospital as a precaution. Firefighters evacuated passengers from all of the occupied cars.

    The ride consists of six arms that rise and fall as they rotate, while two cars at the end of each arm spin freely.

    The West Virginia Department of Labor is investigating.

    In August, 2004, four children were injured at an amusement park in Omaha, Nebraska when an arm of a Spider ride fell to the ground.

    In July, 2004, two people were injured when a car separated from a Spider ride and fell to the ground at the Delaware State Fair.

    In September, 1998, seven people were injured at the Lee County Fair in Sanford, North Carolina, when a Spider arm broke off and crashed to the ground. The ride had passed a state inspection just five days earlier.

    UPDATE: The West Virginia Department of Labor reports that the arm, or sweep, broke at the piveting point as the result of a faulty bolt. According to park officials, the bolt is not visible during daily ride inspections. In addition to its daily inspections, the ride passed an annual inspection in May.


    WGN-TV

    Go Bananas park owner, manager charged with safety violations

    (July 22, 2011) - The owner and manager of Go Bananas amusement park in Norridge, Illinois have been charged under the Illinois Carnival Rides and Amusement Safety Act with two safety violations in connection with a roller coaster accident in April that left a 3-year-old boy dead. The misdemeanor charges are the result of an investigation by the Illinois Department of Labor that cited discrepancies in the park’s record keeping.


    WIVB

    Darien Lake cited for safety violations in Ride of Steel death

    (July 22, 2011) - The New York State Department of Labor today issued two violations to Darien Lake Theme Park following a thorough investigation into the July 8 fatality of Army Sergeant James Hackemer while on the Ride of Steel. The incident has also led to independent investigations by local law enforcement.

    The Department of Labor’s investigation found that Sergeant Hackemer’s death was the result of operator error. The Ride of Steel is mechanically sound and all safety devices work properly. The Park’s safety and operational requirements, which were visibly posted at the entrance to the Ride of Steel, were not followed by the ride operators. These rules require that riders have both legs, because the safety devices restrain the legs, shins, and lap to hold the rider safely in the ride’s car. Sergeant Hackemer lost both his legs in combat while serving in Iraq.

    The Department of Labor is authorized to inspect amusement parks and issue violations where appropriate. Based on their investigation, the Department of Labor issued two violations to the Park:
    • Operators were not properly trained on the safety and operations restrictions of the Ride of Steel
    • Operators were unfamiliar with the safety requirements of the Ride of Steel

    On the day of the accident, the Department of Labor ordered the Park to stop operating the Ride of Steel until a full inspection of the ride was completed. Since then, the ride has remained closed.

    Following orders from the Department of Labor:
    • All employees who operate the Ride of Steel have been retrained in safety procedures
    • New, clearer signage has been posted in the Park that describes ride safety regulations
    • Park management must now review all safety restrictions on every ride prior to the start of each ride operator’s shift

    Since the Park complied with these orders, the Department of Labor approved the ride to reopen today.

    Darien Lake Theme Park Resort Set to Re-Open Ride of Steel
    Operational and Communications Changes Approved and Implemented

    Based on recommendations from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) and the park’s own internal reviews of the tragic accident that occurred on July 8, Darien Lake Theme Park Resort will re-open the Ride of Steel today, July 22.

    “The safety of both our guests and team members always has been, and remains, our top priority,” said Darien Lake General Manager Christopher Thorpe. “We were all devastated by this tragedy and are committed to doing everything we can to prevent something like this from ever reoccurring. To this end, we have enhanced training programs, increased audits of safety procedures and enforcement, and made disability ridership information more accessible throughout the park.”

    “We offer our continued condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant James Hackemer; who remain in our prayers. Our commitment to our guests is we will continue our sharp focus on safety, providing them with a secure and fun experience, while honoring the lessons we can all learn from the life of Sergeant Hackemer,” added Thorpe.

    Since opening nearly fifty years ago in 1964, Darien Lake Theme Park Resort has entertained more than 35 million guests. The park invests its greatest amount of time and resources into safety. This incident was the first-ever ride-related fatality to occur at the park.

    Working with the DOL, internal, and other experts, Darien Lake is instituting the following changes:

    Recertification – All Ride of Steel employees have been recertified including a training that includes both trainer and trainee sign-off of competency on ride protocol. The training also includes how to enforce all ride restrictions in a consistent, guest friendly manner. This recertification includes enhancements to the park’s long-time, multi-part ride training program. Additionally, all ride operators throughout the park have been re-trained with special emphasis on these important aspects of their job.

    Increased Audits – To augment its existing, daily ride operations audit program, the park has increased the frequency and type of audits that are conducted throughout the operating day. Audits will be random and unannounced and will include knowledge of ride restrictions as well as adherence to operational procedures. A dedicated auditor position has also been created to further increase the frequency of audits.

    Rider Accessibility Guide Awareness – To supplement the ride restrictions posted at the accessible entrances, and to support the materials currently available at Guest Relations, Darien Lake has added additional Rider Accessibility Guide signage at every ride throughout the park. These signs include a box featuring the Guide and also instructions for guests with disabilities to present the Guide to the ride operator, assuring both the operator and guest that they are aware of the ride’s restrictions. The Rider Accessibility Guide has also been added to the park’s web site.

    “Darien Lake wishes to express its appreciation to both local and state authorities who have diligently served our community by conducting a thorough and meticulous investigation of the tragic accident that occurred July 8 on Ride of Steel,” added Thorpe.

    Due to misinformation previously reported in the media, the park also clarified several points:

  • All of the operators exceeded the state’s age requirements for operating rides; they were all over 18 years of age.
  • Darien Lake did not continue to operate Ride of Steel after the incident. Per design and manufacturer’s specifications, Ride of Steel Standard Operating Procedure is one train is already climbing the lift as the other enters the station. In essence, one train replaces the other with only one train in the station at a time. Two trains cannot be in the station at one time.
  • Dallas bungee ride strands riders for hours

    (July 18, 2011) - Two people were left dangling in a cage suspended by bungee cords 50 feet in the air for two hours at the Zero Gravity Thrill Park in Dallas, Texas. The incident happened on a reverse bungee ride called the Texas Blastoff.

    Firefighters were called in to the bring the passengers to safety.

    The riders were not injured.

    "Darien Lake violated their own policies and procedures
    by allowing him to get on this ride."

    Sheriff Gary T. Maha, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office



    WIVB

    Investigators: park policy ignored in Ride of Steel death

    (July 13, 2011) - The man who was ejected from the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake last Friday should never have been allowed to board the ride, according to police investigators. Sheriff Gary T. Maha of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said that, while the death is being ruled accidental and no criminal charges will be filed, 29-year-old army Sgt. James Hackemer, who lost both of his legs in the Iraq war, "did not have the physical attributes to be on that ride."

    Safety restrictions are posted on signs located at entrances to the Ride of Steel roller coaster. The signs read: "For the restraint devices on this ride to fully and safely engage, guests must have two legs and be within a certain range of size and physical dimension. In addition, guests must have sufficient body strength and complete use of at least one arm and hand to hold onto the grab bar. No guest may ride holding anything or with artificial limbs attached." In addition, ride restrictions include a minimum height requirement of 54 inches. As a result of his war injuries, Sgt. Hackemer was only about 36 inches tall, according to his family. Hackemer was not wearing artificial limbs at the time he boarded the ride.

    Speaking about Hackemer's death, Sgt. Steven Mullen of the Sheriff's Department of Genesee County New York stated, "After being ejected, he hit the front of the car, then hit the track and was thrown forward into a grassy area near Route 77."

    "The hill is the second highest in the ride, but he didn't come out at the top of the hill. He maybe fell an estimated 150 feet," said Mullen.

    According to Sheriff Maha, three employees at the Ride of Steel allowed Sgt. Hackemer to board the ride, even though they were aware that he was a double amputee.


    Statement from Darien Lake (July 13, 2011):
    Darien Lake Theme Park Resort continues to mourn the loss of Sergeant James T. Hackemer and pray for him, his family and all those impacted by this accident.

    The Genesee County Sheriff's Department has completed their own investigation, concluding that no criminal charges are to be brought. Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Labor and other industry experts, continues its investigation which is expected to take more time to complete.

    "We take our responsibility very seriously," said Darien Lake Theme Park Resort General Manager Christopher Thorpe. "We are not going to rush this process. As soon as we have final information on any measures to be taken within the park, we will share those with the public."

    "I wish to express my personal appreciation to the Genesee County Sheriff's Department for their quick response and thorough work," adds Thorpe.

    Sheriff: Coaster death not caused by ride malfunction - WGRZ, July 13, 2011
    NY park to face no charges in vet's coaster death - Associated Press, July 13, 2011
    Inspectors study NY roller coaster in vet's death - Associated Press, July 10, 2011


    WGRZ


    WGRZ


    WGRZ


    WIVB 4 News


    WIVB 4 News

    Man, 29, killed in fall from Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake

    (July 8, 2011) - A 29-year-old man was killed in a fall from the front seat of the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake theme park in Darien Lake, New York.

    The victim was an Iraq war veteran who lost both of his legs in a roadside bomb explosion in 2008. He lost his right leg below the knee and his left leg below the hip.

    Witnesses said that the man was ejected from the ride as the train climbed the ride's first incline after the initial drop. The train was traveling at about 50mph when the victim was ejected.

    The ride will remain closed until investigators determine the cause of the accident. Initial reports indicate that no defects have been found with either the seat belts or the lap bars, and that all safety restraints were checked by operators before the train was dispatched from the loading station.

    In May, 1999, a rider was ejected from the same roller coaster when the park was operated by Six Flags and the ride was named Superman Ride of Steel. The victim, a 37-year-old man, was thrown from the ride near its end. He suffered only minor injuries. Investigators determined that the passenger restraint system was working properly, but that the man, who was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed about 400 pounds, was too big for the ride. The man later won a $4 million lawsuit against the park. The jury found that the park was negligent in its failure to properly train employees to assess a rider's potential risk for ejection.

    In 2004, a man was killed in a fall from the Intamin-designed Superman Ride of Steel roller coaster at Six Flags New England theme park. A report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety concluded that the victim was not properly secured by the ride's safety restraints. The report blamed park workers for failing to ensure that the victim's restraints were locked properly. It also blamed Intamin, Six Flags, and the victim himself, who failed to inform ride attendants that he suffered from a pre-existing medical condition, as mandated by state law. The victim rode a scooter to the boarding platform and witnesses say that the ride's attendants assisted him to his seat. Six Flags officials stated that ride attendants were not permitted to assist passengers who are boarding the ride. While investigators found "no apparent mechanical defects," they stated that Six Flags workers should have denied the victim access to the ride because his large girth prevented the lap bar restraint from fitting firmly against his thighs. The victim was 5-foot-2 and weighed about 230 pounds.


    Statement from Darien Lake (July 8, 2011):
    Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is deeply saddened by an incident that occurred at 5:30pm today on Ride of Steel. An adult male guest came out of the ride and unfortunately the guest has passed. We are currently investigating the circumstances of the situation along with local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the guest at this time.

    Our guests should be assured that nothing is more important than the safety of our guests and team members. More facts will be shared with our guests and the public once confirmed. Ride of Steel will not operate until the investigation is complete. The rest of the park is in operation.

    Guests who were at Darien Lake and were witness to the July 8 incident on Ride of Steel are encouraged to contact the park to provide information or seek assistance by calling 585-599-5120 or emailing support@godarienlake.com.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Rider thrown from new Darien Lake roller coaster (May 16, 1999)
  • Man killed in fall from Intamin's Superman Ride of Steel roller coaster at Six Flags New England (May 1, 2004)
  • Investigators: Superman victim was not secured; park workers should have turned him away (May 7, 2004)
  • Six Flags, Intamin to modify Superman Ride of Steel restraint system (May 7, 2004)
  • Superman Ride of Steel ready to reopen with new safety restrains (May 28, 2004)

  • Reason behind carnival death debated
    WOOD-TV 8, July 7, 2011


    WOOD TV 8

    Carnival worker electrocuted while dismantling ride

    (July 5, 2011) - A 41-year-old carnival worker was killed while he was dismantling a looping amusement ride called the Fireball after a Fourth of July carnival in Sand Lake, Michigan. Witnesses said that the man came into contact with power lines then fell 30-40 feet to the ground.

    Woman's leg shattered during bungee jump

    (July 5, 2011) - A 22-year-old woman suffered multiple leg fractures during a bungee jump in West Bolden, United Kingdom.

    Roller coaster accident injures 6

    (July 3, 2011) - At the Salem Fair in Salem, Virginia, six roller coaster passengers were injured after a rider's hat blew off and got stuck underneath his car. The car came to a quick stop, which led to a 5-12mph collision with the trailing car.

    Fair officials said that the man whose hat jammed the ride was told to remove the hat as he boarded the ride. He removed the hat before his car was dispatched, from the loading station, but a ride camera captured a picture of the man wearing the hat once the ride started.

    UPDATE: The ride reopened after minor repairs to the parts of the car that were damaged as a result of coming into contact with the hat.

    Park worker killed in Florida

    (July 2, 2011) - A 30-year-old ride maintenance worker was killed while he was making repairs to a ride called the Star Flyer at Magical Midway amusement park in Orlando, Florida. He was somehow knocked unconscious and fell some distance, but it appeared that he was properly secured in his safety harness and that he had taken all safety precautions.

    Rescue workers found the man dangling inside the harness about 40 feet in the air. They said it was apparent that he had suffered multiple injuries, including head trauma.

    The Star Flyer is a 235-foot-tall tower with rotating swings that are slowly lifted to the top of the ride, then back to the ground. The ride was closed to the public for maintenance at the time of the accident.

    The Florida Department of Agriculture is investigating. The ride will remain closed pending a state inspection.


    View more videos at: http://www.nbcsandiego.com. (KNSD)

    Fair ride operator, passenger injured

    (June 21, 2011) - At the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, California, a ride called Techno Power suddenly restarted after it had stopped to unload passengers. A teenage girl who was exiting the ride suffered scrapes and bruises. The ride operator suffered a laceration to his head and other injuries. The operator was attempting to guide the girl out of the ride's path when the ride struck him, sending him tumbling over the fence around the ride platform and onto the ground.

    The girl and the operator were hospitalized; both are expected to make full recoveries.

    The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating.

    The ride was manufactured by Tivoli of England and is operated by Wood Entertainment of San Antonio, Texas.

    UPDATE: Investigators determined that a computer glitch was to blame for the mishap.

    Part of a Carnival Ride Hits Woman in Livonia: MyFoxDETROIT.com


    WJBK

    Woman injured at Michigan carnival

    (June 21, 2011) - A 36-year-old woman suffered head, neck, and back injuries when part of a fixture struck her in the head while she was riding an amusement ride called the Fighter at a carnival in Livonia, Michigan. She was hospitalized, but is expected to make a full recovery.

    Investigators believe that one of the ride's hydraulic arms struck the decorative lighting fixture, possibly as the result of a worn bolt. The ride was ordered shut down and all of bolts in the ride's arms were to be replaced.

    The Fighter is operated by Wade Shows. It passed a state inspection two months ago.


    Hürriyet WebTV

    Girl, 18, killed in fall from ride

    (June 19, 2011) - At Kavakli amusement park near Istanbul, Turkey, an 18-year-old girl was killed after falling 30-40 feet from an amusement ride called Discovery. According to news reports, the victim's safety restraint somehow opened in mid-air.

    A friend who was seated next to the victim tried to grab the girl when she started to fall, but was unable to hold onto her.

    An ambulance rushed to the scene, but the park had already transported the victim to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

    Last month, a similar accident on the same ride left two people injured. Park officials say that equipment was replaced after that accident.

    The Discovery consists of a 32-passenger circular gondola that is attached to a large pendulum. The gondola rotates as the pendulum swings through the air to heights up to 60 feet.

    Cedar Point roller coaster accident injures 7

    (June 6, 2011) - Seven people suffered minor injuries after two cars collided on the Wildcat roller coaster at Cedar Point theme park in Sandusky, Ohio. One car was stopped at the loading platform and the other was finishing its run.

    In May, 2008, a collision on the same ride left nine people with bruises and sprains. That accident happened when one car failed to roll past the initial incline and rolled backward into another car.

    WildCat ride reopens at Cedar Point
    Toledo Blade, 6/8/11

    Cable snaps on rock climbing wall; man injured

    (June 5, 2011) - A 21-year-old man was injured in a 20-foot fall from a rock climbing wall when his cable snapped. The accident happened at the Kidstar Amusement park in Port Charlotte, Florida.

    The man was hospitalized in fair condition.

    Girl, 11, dies after falling from Ferris wheel

    (June 4, 2011) - An 11-year-old girl died after falling from a Ferris wheel while on a school field trip at Morey's Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey.

    Witnesses said that the girl, who was riding alone, fell from her gondola when it was near the half-way point from the top of the 156-foot-tall ride, called the Great Wheel, and landed on a metal platform at the base of the ride. She was pronounced dead at a hospital 45 minutes later.

    The park closed for the night out of respect for the victim's family and issued a brief statement: "The Morey staff and family offer our thoughts and prayers to the family."

    The accident is under investigation. Early reports indicate that it was a freak accident, and that there are no mechanical faults with the ride, which passed a state inspection in March, as well as daily park inspections.

    IN THE NEWS:

  • No eyewitnesses to Pleasantville girl's fatal plunge from Wildwood ferris wheel, police say - Press of Atlantic City, June 6, 2011

  • Woman critical after LI bounce house mishap
    Long Island Press, June 6, 2011

    NY accident, other mishaps illuminate perils of inconsistently regulated ‘bounce houses’
    Washington Post, June 7, 2011

    "I wish this was a rarity, but it's not. It happens all the time. These are probably the most dangerous amusement devices they have."

    "You see more injuries on inflatables than almost any other amusement ride you can think of -- more than roller coasters."

    - Jim Barber, spokesman for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials

    Three inflatables blow away with children inside; 17 people injured

    (June 4, 2011) - In Oceanside, New York, three inflatable castles with children inside them were blown through the air in a gust of wind. Seventeen people were injured, some of whom were struck by the inflatables once they hit the ground and started rolling. One person was hospitalized with critical injuries; the others were treated at hospitals for minor injuries.

    CBS News reported that the inflatables were installed by Affordable Inflatable Entertainment of Oceanside, and the company owner said that all of the inflatables were anchored properly.

    At least 10 inflatables have either blown away or toppled over in the last 2 months, injuring more than 40 people, most of whom were children.

    The District Attorney's Office of Nassau County, Long Island, New York, is investigating.

    Three children rescued from carnival ride

    (May 29, 2011) - At a carnival in Canton, Massachusetts, three children were left stranded atop a ride called the Roll-O-Plane after the ride stalled. Firefighters who were called to the scene stabilized the ride with ropes, then cut a chain, allowing them to bring all three riders to safety. The riders were stranded about 40 feet in the air inside a car that was tilted at a 45-degree angle. One rider complained of minor leg pain, but there were no injuries.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Boy falls from Roll-O-Plane at carnival (8/5/05)
  • Roll-O-Plane strands riders at Rhode Island carnival (9/24/99)

  • Another inflatable blows away; 3 children hospitalized

    (May 29, 2011) - In North Yorkshire, England, a bounce house with three children inside of it was blown through the air in high winds, leaving the children seriously injured. One child suffered spinal, leg, and arm injuries; another suffered broken bones; the third is believed to have sustained a head injury and possible concussion. All three victims were hospitalized.

    Another inflatable slide topples; children injured

    (May 27, 2011) - Eight children were sent to a hospital after an inflatable slide toppled over at an elementary school in Lyons, Illinois. Some of the children fell as high as 15 feet and landed on asphault.

    The victims' injuries were not life-threatening.


    WGHP Fox 8

    Carnival workers fall from Ferris wheel; 1 killed

    (May 16, 2011) - A 42-year-old carnival worker was killed and another was hospitalized in critical condition after they fell from a Ferris wheel they were dismantling in Greensboro, North Carolina. Police suspect a broken safety cable may have caused the accident.

    The ride is owned by James H. Drew Exposition of Augusta, Georgia. The company issued this statement: "The Drew Exposition family is saddened by the loss of one of our workers and the injury of another. After our six day event at the Greensboro Youth Council's Carnival, the Seattle Wheel was being dismantled when two of our employees fell from the equipment being used to take the machine down."

    OSHA is investigating.

    Since 1985, at least 13 carnival workers have been killed while assembling or disassembling a Ferris wheel.

    UPDATE: The North Carolina Department of Labor cited Event Coordinators Inc. of Augusta, Georgia, for 12 serious safety violations in connection to this fatal accident. Fines ranged from $900 to $3,500 per violation and totaled $27,100. According to the labor department report, a fitting failed on a wire cable being used to take apart the ride.

    Teens injured in fall from Zipper ride

    (May 14, 2011) - At a carnival in Greensburg, Louisiana, two teenagers fell were injured after falling from a Zipper ride. The teens fell 15 feet after the ride accidentally started while they were attempting to exit their car.

    The ride is operated by Mac's Carnival and Attractions of Huron, South Dakota.

    According to the state fire marshal, the accident was the result of operator error. The operator accidentally activated the switch that starts the ride while the teens were exiting.


    KABC News

    Another inflatable goes flying; 6 injured

    (May 13, 2011) - In Tucson, Arizona, a whirlwind tossed an inflatable castle through the air and left it wrapped around a light pole. Six children were struck by parts of the attraction and suffered minor injuries.


    Car derails from ride at NJ park; 3 injured

    (May 7, 2011) - At Storybrook Land amusement park in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, three people suffered minor injuries when the front car of the "Big Truck Ride" derailed as it made a turn. The riders were ejected from the car and fell about two feet to the ground. The car landed on its side.

    The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs is investigating.

    Another inflatable slide collapses; 4 injured

    (May 7, 2011) - At a festival in Encino, California, four children suffered minor injuries when an inflatable slide collapsed. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, too many children were on the slide, and there was no adult supervision at the time of the accident.


    KGPE-TV CBS 47

    Another inflatable slide collapses; 5 injured

    (April 29, 2011) - At an elementary school in Clovis, California, five children were injured when a wind gust toppled an inflatable slide.

    Four injured on Disneyland Paris roller coaster

    (April 26, 2011) - At Disneyland Paris, four people were injured while they were riding the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster. The accident happened when part of the ride's scenery fell onto the track, causing a collision with the front car of the train. Five riders were struck by the debris; four were treated for minor injuries at the park and released, and the other was hospitalized with serious head injuries.

    Boy, 11, killed in fall from zip line

    (April 24, 2011) - An 11-year-old boy suffered a fatal fall from a zip line called the SwampFlyer at Greenwood Forest Park in Wales. The ride is 475 feet long and reaches heights of 30 feet.

    The park claims that all equipment was inspected just hours before the accident.

    UPDATE: A July 2011 report by the Health and Safety Executive claims that "the accident was probably caused because of the client being 'mis-clipped' onto the zip wire."

    Another inflatable topples in wind; 3 children injured

    (April 21, 2011) - At a carnival in New Square, New York, three children were injured when a gust of wind toppled an inflatable castle.


    WLS ABC 7 News

    Suit: Amusement park negligent in boy's death
    Chicago Tribune, 4/20/11

    Boy, 3, killed in roller coaster accident

    (April 2, 2011) - A 3-year-old boy was killed after falling from a kiddie roller coaster in Norridge, Illinois. The accident happened at an indoor family amusement center called Go Bananas. Early reports indicate that the child may have freed himself from the car's safety restraint. He somehow became wedged between two cars, and ultimately fell from the ride. He sustained serious head injuries and died at the scene.

    The park was closed while state inspectors are investigating.

    According to rcdb.com, the ride, called Python Pit, reaches a top speed of 15mph and has been operating since 1997.

    Another bounce house blows away; 2 children hospitalized

    (April 2, 2011) - In Tucson, Arizona, 2 children suffered serious injuries after a bounce house was blown into the air by a sudden gust of wind while they were inside it. According to Tucson Police, the inflatable blew across three lanes of traffic before it landed on the side of a road. The children were hospitalized; both were expected to make a full recovery.


    Risks associated with the use of water walking balls, a new type of water-related recreational activity, include the potential for suffocation, drowning, and impact injuries, according to the CPSC.

    CPSC warns of deadly danger of water walking balls

    (March 31, 2011) - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to stop participating in a new type of water-related recreational activity, due to the potential risks of suffocation and drowning. The activity is called water walking and the water walking ball has numerous brand or ride names.

    The fact that the product has no emergency exit and can be opened only by a person outside of the ball significantly heightens the risk of injury or death when a person inside the ball experiences distress. Pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart, lung, or breathing issues, can be made worse by use of this product.

    An individual climbs into the large, see-through plastic ball; it is inflated with a blower through the zipper opening; and the zipper is closed, making the ball air-tight. The ball, with the person locked inside, then rolls around on a number of surfaces, including water, ice, or grass. The product is most commonly used by children and is used mainly as a ride in amusement parks, carnivals, malls, sporting events and other high-traffic areas. The product is also sold directly to the public for personal use.

    Several states have banned or refused to provide permits for rides that use this product. CPSC is aware of two incidents involving this product. In one incident, a child was found unresponsive after being inside the ball for a very brief period of time, and emergency medical treatment was sought. In the second incident, a person inside of a ball suffered a fracture when the ball fell out of the shallow, above-ground pool onto the hard ground.

    CPSC is warning consumers that there is a combination of risks associated with this product, including the potential for suffocation, as well as the potential for drowning and impact injuries. Because the ball is airtight, an inadequate air supply can result when oxygen is depleted and carbon dioxide accumulates inside the ball. Such a dangerous scenario can occur in as little as a few minutes. Because the water walking balls have no padding, impact injuries can occur if the balls collide with each other, or fall out of the pool onto concrete or other hard surfaces, such as ice or tile. These water walking balls are also being used on open water, creating the potential for injuries if the ball is struck by a boat or strikes a solid object, such as a buoy or pier. Additionally, the balls present a high risk of drowning if there is a leak or a puncture.

    CPSC has informed state amusement ride officials of the risks associated with this product and encourages state officials not to permit this ride in their state.

    CPSC does not know of any safe way to use this product.

    The CPSC is interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product or involve a different hazard with the same product. Visit saferproducts.gov for more information.

    Riding roughshod over safety
    Calgary Herald Editorial, 3/26/11


    Arrows point to the failed weld section of the Scorpion ride that broke apart last summer, injuring 10 people.

    Engineer's report cites faulty repairs, poor inspections in Scorpion collapse

    (March 25, 2011) - The Scorpion ride that broke apart and injured 10 people last July at the Calgary Stampede fair and rodeo showed visible signs of fatigue cracks and faulty welding, according to the analysis of independent engineers who have been investigating the accident. The report, issued by Anderson Associates Consulting, was released by the Minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs on Thursday.

    The Scorpion is owned and operated by North American Midway Entertainment. The ride consists of three arms. At the end of each arm is a wheel-like structure that carries 8 cars. As the arms whirl, they tilt the wheels of cars up into the air, as the wheels spin and the cars swing. One of the wheels broke off its arm, fell off the ride platform, and crashed into a barrier. Some cars flipped over and fell to the platform where the whirling cars that were still attached to the the ride crashed into them.

    According to North American Midway Entertainment (NAME), the ride passed an inspection just hours before the catastrophic failure. Nevertheless, NAME general manager Tony Diaz says that the company has "full faith" in its inspectors, and the Calgary Stampede says that it has not lost confidence in NAME.

    Excerpts from the engineer's report are listed below.


    Click to read engineer's report in its entirety.
    Examination of the Scorpion amusement ride after the July 16, 2010 incident in Calgery, Alberta and detailed evaluation of the fracture surface revealed that at the time of the incident the green spinner hub flange was connected to the barrel with minimal weld material. The final failure of the welded joint occurred suddenly in a single event tensile overload mode as the remaining weld material could no longer withstand the normal operating load. The reason that there was minimal weld material holding the parts together is that fatigue cracks had extended through most of the weld material prior to its installation in Calgary.

    Review of the available background information revealed that fatigue cracks had previously been found at the failure location. Normal industry practice would be to completely grind out the crack and re-weld the joint. However, these cracks had been improperly repaired by simply welding over the crack. The repair was so poorly done that [the] original crack still remained and portions of the crack extended beyond the end of the repair. As a result, the repair welds failed and the fatigue cracks continued to extend further into the welded flange-to-barrel joint.

    Manufacturer recommended inspections of amusement rides are to be carried out by the owner to discover fatigue cracks before they grow to the extent that sudden catastrophic failures occur. Once there was a known incidence of cracking at a spinner hub flange-to-barrel joint, it was important for the owner to instruct their inspectors to carefully examine this area on all subsequent inspections. These particular inspections were not performed on this Scorpion ride. Apparently, the owner's inspections subsequent to the weld repair did not look at the failure area very closely, if at all. Otherwise, the owner's inspectors would have found at least portions of the original crack that extended beyond the weld repair. By the time the incident occurred, almost two years after the repair, a crack had extended almost completely around the barrel. This crack could have been seen had the owner performed a visual inspection of the joint.

    In performing repairs, the owner of the Scorpion ride did not consult with the manufacturer as recommended in the operation and maintenance manual nor did he consult with a knowledgeable engineer/technologist. After a faulty repair was complete, it appears that the owner never made any attempt to direct any inspector's attention to the repair area in order to check the adequacy of the repair or if other cracks were developing. As a result, cracks developed and grew undetected to the point of joint failure.


    Arrows in this picture point to a visible crack on the blue spinner sweep assembly.
    A visual inspection of the blue spinner sweep arm assembly revealed a significant crack in the weld located between the top flange and barrel of the spinner hub assembly in close proximity to the location where the fixed secondary sweep arm was pinned to the top flange plate. It was also noted that a weld repair was evident on the opposite symmetrical side of the fixed sweep arm.

    Failures of this nature could have been prevented if the owner followed the manufacturer's recommended inspection criteria. When cracks were found during the owner's routine inspection, repair procedures and verification should have been developed and approved by a professional engineer or suitably qualified individual. Their instructions would normally include the owner to carry out additional inspections to insure that cracks were no longer a threat to the integrity of the ride. Henceforth, the owner would be obliged to carry out these additional inspections along with those recommended by the manufacturer.

    This incident would not have occurred if the original crack was assessed by a qualified engineer who would have recognized it as a fatigue crack. Once recognized as a fatigue crack, steps could have been taken to combat the effects of fatigue. The owner's inspection requirements would necessarily increase and include non-destructive testing so that the cracked component could be repaired or replaced before reaching a critical state.

    Lawsuit filed over Houston roller coaster death
    Associated Press, 3/25/11


    FOX Houston


    KTRK-TV ABC 13 News, Houston


    KTRK-TV ABC 13 News, Houston


    KTRK-TV ABC 13 News, Houston

    Man dead after fall from roller coaster

    (March 20, 2011) - At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas, a 46-year-old man fell from a roller coaster and later died. Witnesses said the man fell from the "Hi-Miler" roller coaster as his car made a sharp turn about 30 feet in the air. The man was rushed to a local hospital, where he died.

    The man struck a passerby as he fell to the ground; the passerby suffered a broken ankle.

    The ride is owned by Ray Cammack Shows. It passed an inspection before it opened in Houston, and no defects were reported.

    The accident is under investigation.

    READ:

  • Complaint filed after man's death at rodeo

  • Lawsuit filed against Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Ray Cammack Shows

  • Complaint from rider raising concerns over Hi-Miler roller coaster
  • Officials: Excessive speed caused Cleveland Park train crash
    GoUpstate.com, May 23, 2011

    Ride inspector in fatal train crash case issued 1 citation
    WCSC-TV 5 News, May 27, 2011


    Associated Press

    Child's video of train ride (ABC News)


    Click to read statement by investigating officer.

    Miniature train derails; 1 killed, 28 injured

    (March 19, 2011) - At Cleveland Park in Spartanburg, South Carolina, a miniature train loaded with passengers derailed and overturned, killing a six-year-old boy and injuring 28 others. According to a police report, the 42-year-old operator of the train told one officer: "I was going too f****** fast."

    Despite the statement from the conductor, police say that the investigation is ongoing, and no conclusion has been made as to what factors may have contributed to the accident.

    "We cannot analyze the entire incident based on a single uttered statement. At this point we have not reached a conclusion as to the technical or mechanical findings of the investigation. The statement, while important to the investigation, does not provide conclusive evidence of the actual speed or the functionally of the train or tracks."

    The train, named Sparky the Family Train, is designed to operate at a maximum speed of only 10mph.

    The accident happened on the train's first run of the year.

    Two medical helicopters and numerous ambulances responded to the scene. At least six children were hospitalized, but all were expected to make a full recovery.

    According to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the ride was scheduled to be inspected three days before the accident by a state inspector, however that inspector could not inspect the ride because its battery was dead. Nevertheless, the inspector documented that he had inspected the ride and indicated that it was running properly. State officials have since fired the inspector who approved the ride for operation. They said that he admitted falsifying the inspection report.

    Spartanburg Public Safety Captain Art Littlejohn cautioned that the investigation is still in its early phase, and no conclusions should be made until investigators have examined all the evidence.

    "The investigation of this tragedy continues. We are continuing to utilize resources from a variety of agencies to ensure a comprehensive investigation. Every effort is being made to determine the events prior to the derailment and the contributing factors. The investigation is also focusing on whether this incident was caused by mechanical failure or human error.

    "We are currently reviewing all reports, statements, 911 recordings, and an amateur video. Contrary to media reports, we have not identified any information that suggests the accident was the result of sabotage.

    "Once all information is reviewed, the Spartanburg Public Safety Department will compile a comprehensive report which will include the accident reconstruction from the Highway Patrol. A report of all findings will be given to Solicitor Barry Barnette for review. All local media outlets will be notified once the investigation is completed."


    WSPA News

    WSPA News

    MORE:
  • Driver admits he was operating deadly train ride too fast - ABC News
  • Conductor says he’s suffering after crash; attorneys blame mechanical failure - Washington Post
  • Attorney files lawsuit for train crash victims - WYFF News
  • Church describes train wreck victims' injuries - WYFF News

  • Disney World worker suffers fatal roller coaster injury

    (March 14, 2011) - A 52-year-old maintenance worker suffered fatal head injuries while he was repairing the Primeval Whirl roller coaster at Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World on Sunday. He died Monday morning.

    A co-worker reported that the man had been struck by a moving car while he was performing routine maintenance on the ride, which was closed to the public at the time.

    MORE:
    Second death on Disney World's Primeval Whirl ride as worker dies after being struck on head - Daily Mail

    "I actually saw a fully inflated square bounce house come rolling over my next-door neighbor's roof. There was a child in the bounce house."

    Another inflatable goes flying; girl falls onto roof

    (February 20, 2011) - In Marana, Arizona, two girls were tossed out of an inflatable jumping castle when a gust of wind carried it at least 100 feet through the air. One girl was tossed out onto the ground and suffered only minor injuries; the other was ejected onto the roof of a neighbor's house and suffered serious injuries, including head injuries.


    Photo: EFE

    Girl, 3, killed inside kiddie ride

    (February 6, 2011) - At a carnival in Moral de Calatrava, Spain, a 3-year-old girl was fatally injured inside an amusement attraction for children. The girl got caught between a moving cylinder and the wheel that turns it.

    The location of the cylinder is inside the ride and not visible to the ride attendant. The girl remained trapped until her father noticed that she did not exit the attraction with the other children. Firefighters rushed inside and managed to free the victim, but she died in an ambulance on the way to a hospital.

    According to El Dia newspaper, witnesses said that it appeared that a floor board either gave way or was missing, causing the victim to fall upon the moving wheel, where her head got caught.

    The ride passed an inspection and was properly insured.


    A YouTube video shows the ride in operation

    Man killed in fall from roller coaster

    (January 30, 2011) - At Tokyo Dome City amusement park in Tokyo, Japan, a 34-year-old man suffered fatal injuries when he was ejected from a roller coaster and fell 20-25 feet. The accident happened on 'Maihime' -- a steel roller coaster whose cars spin as they roll along the track.

    Tokyo Police are investigating reports that the victim may have too large to ride; that the victim's lap bar did not lock properly because of his size; that the ride operator did not manually check to ensure that the safety bar was locked; and that employees did not receive proper training.

    According to investigators, the ride operator, a part-time employee, said that she did not manually check the victim's lap bar because it "appeared to be locked as it was positioned right on his stomach." The ride's lap bars are designed to rest and lock across riders' legs. Normally, a lap bar is not effective as a restraining device if it rests upon a rider's stomach, even if it is locked. Police suspect that the victim exceeded the size limit of a rider, and that he should not have been allowed to ride.

    According to the Daily Yomiuri, the ride operator told police: "I told passengers to lock the safety bars, but I didn't confirm [whether they were in the correct position] with my hand. I thought customers would lock [the bars] by themselves because they're grownups."

    The report also indicates that the operator was quoted as saying, "At the time of the accident I was looking at a staff assignment sheet, so I didn't monitor the roller coaster operation at all."

    The ride has been ordered closed while police continue their investigation.

    MORE:

  • Police raid HQ of Tokyo amusement park operator in wake of roller coaster death (Mainichi Daily News)
  • Safety flaws found in Dome ride investigation (Japan Times)
  • Just one part-timer in charge of fatal coaster (Daily Yomiuri)
  • Ride's manual lacks safety steps (Daily Yomiuri)

  • Roller coaster car derails at Florida carnival

    (January 30, 2011) - At a carnival in North Palm Beach, Florida, two women were left stranded at the top of a roller coaster when the front wheels of their car disengaged from the rails. Rescue workers brought the women to safety with the help of a ladder truck. No one was injured.

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