Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ride Accidents- A Sad Day in the Amusement Park World

Ride Accidents: Sad News

 Yesterday was a very sad day in the amusement park industry. Not one but two bad accidents occurred at amusement parks on opposite sides of the US within hours of each other.

Cedar Point
 Yesterday during the early evening hours 'Shoot the Rapids' a boat style plunge ride at Cedar Point rolled back during the first lift hill and then capsized onto it's side. The ride was emergency stopped and park employees and guests rushed to aid the riders. Cedar Point isn't stating how the boat rolled over nor even how it rolled back past the safety measures. 
 All seven people on the ride were quickly transported to Cedar Point's First Aid station and treated, one person was taken to the hospital for treatment. The extent of any injuries is unknown but the Lansing State Journal states that all seven people have been released.
 Cedar Point has closed 'Shoot the Rapids' until it can be inspected by Ohio state officials and park investigators. The ride opened in 2010 and has no major reported malfunctions like this in it's past that I've been able to find. 

Six Flags over Texas

 Around 6:30pm a woman on 'New Texas Giant' was somehow ejected from the ride during the second drop when her ride harness malfunctioned.  She landed on a 'platform' which looks suspiciously like one of the rides three tunnels and was killed. It's unknown at this time if the harness was improperly secured at the station or if it malfunctioned during the ride.
 That section of the park as well as the ride at Six Flags over Texas was immediately shut down and people evacuated. Park officials and authorities don't know yet how the ride's restraint system malfunctioned and are working to find an answer.  
 However, I find it odd that only a single harness released and not the harness directly beside it. Nor did this ride emergency stop from sensors most modern coaster trains have included. This makes me believe this could either be a rider error or a ride malfunction. Reports are sketchy, one states that the woman's restraint didn't click 'multiple times' while another states 'it was loose', either way our deepest condolences go out to the family of this victim. 

 Texas Giant opened originally in 1990 as an all wooden coaster, it was closed in 2009 and was re-fitted as a wood/steal hybrid coaster which reopened in 2011. It's name was changed to "New Texas Giant" at that point. It was just featured on "Travel Channel's Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination" episode titled "0-100 in under 2 Seconds" of which it was the 'winning' coaster.

It truly is a sad day in the amusement world, two parks suffered accidents over a thousand miles apart from each other. We will update on these stories as more information is released during the investigations. I also ask you to remember that accidents like these are anomalies and don't happen every day. As sad as they really are, please don't let them sway your judgement on riding amusement attractions or let them reflect upon the parks involved.

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