2003 NEWS ARCHIVE

JANUARY

  • Arm breaks off Spin Out ride at carnival; four injured (1/2/03)
  • One killed, six injured in train ride accident (1/2/03)
  • Chairlift support collapses, 19 injured (1/3/03)
  • Two children killed, four injured in swing boat collapse (1/7/03)
  • Seven killed, 45 injured in chairlift collapse (1/19/03)

    FEBRUARY

  • Park guilty in roller coaster death (2/19/03)

    MARCH

  • Worker struck by roller coaster, killed (3/1/03)
  • Evolution ride collapses at carnival; 3 injured (3/15/03)
  • Tornado ride collapses at carnival; 4 injured (3/29/03)

    APRIL

  • Ride malfunction leaves 12 sick at Tennessee carnival (4/18/03)

    MAY

  • Girl, 11, dies after roller coaster ride (5/3/03)
  • National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act introduced to Congress (5/22/03)
  • Carnival worker killed in Louisiana (5/23/03)
  • Two injured in Zipper ride accident (5/24/03)
  • Carnival worker struck by Spider ride, seriously injured (5/26/03)
  • New ride malfunctions at Six Flags St. Louis (5/26/03)
  • Ferris wheel collapses in India; 12 killed (5/28/03)
  • Woman, 32, killed in fall from roller coaster at Holiday World (5/31/03)

    JUNE

  • Inspectors find no problems with Raven (6/2/03)
  • Witnesses, experts shed light on Raven accident (6/3/03)
  • Man falls from Scenic Skyway at Knoebels (6/13/03)
  • Tidal Force malfunctions at Hersheypark; 6 injured (6/28/03)
  • Woman injured in fall from ride at Williams Grove Park in Pennsylvania (6/29/03)

    JULY

  • Two Face roller coaster strands passengers at Six Flags America (7/1/03)
  • Woman struck, killed by ride at Six Flags New Orleans (7/10/03)
  • "Completely safe" free fall ride fails again; woman injured (7/13/03)
  • Woman struck by ride part at Orange County Fair (7/13/03)
  • Woman dies after fall from rock climbing wall (7/15/03)
  • Girl injured in fall from roller coaster (7/16/03)
  • Teen in critical condition after water park accident (7/17/03)
  • Virginia water park employee found dead in pool (7/18/03)
  • Woman's injury prompts inspector to close four rides at children's park (7/19/03)
  • Faulty cable blamed for rock climbing wall death (7/20/03)
  • Chiller strands riders at Six Flags Great Adventure (7/25/03)
  • Carnival worker charged with drunkenness, possession of marijuana (7/25/03)
  • Children's roller coaster derails (7/28/03)
  • Woman dies after heart attack on roller coaster (7/29/03)

    AUGUST

  • Man killed in fall from swing ride in India; police to charge operator (8/4/03)
  • Michigan's Adventure settles Chaos suit for $40,000 (8/13/03)
  • Man loses prosthetic leg on inverted coaster (8/13/03)
  • Tilt-A-Whirl cars collide; girl injured (8/13/03)
  • Boy, 8, severely shocked on bumper car ride at Ohio fair (8/13/03)
  • Collapsed Spin Dragon operator found guilty on 40 charges (8/15/03)
  • Man killed while working on ride at Washington fair (8/16/03)
  • Man dies from water slide injuries (8/18/03)
  • Knott's Berry Farm stagecoach ride malfunctions, 3 injured (8/18/03)
  • Paramount's Canada’s Wonderland ride injures three (8/23/03)
  • Steel Dragon 2000 derails, 2 injured (8/23/03)
  • Problems with bolts reported before coaster derailed (8/27/03)
  • Skycoaster accident injures worker (8/30/03)

    SEPTEMBER

  • Roller coaster malfunctions, strands 4 at Washington fair (9/1/03)
  • Boy, 8, dies from bumper car ride injury (9/4/03)
  • One killed, 10 injured in Disneyland roller coaster malfunction (9/5/03)
  • Carnival worker killed in Ferris wheel accident (9/8/03)
  • Raft capsizes on Efteling's Piranha river rapids ride (9/15/03)
  • Holiday World introduces 'Zero Tolerance' policy to coaster clubs (9/16/03)
  • Strong winds knock children's ride onto power lines (9/21/03)
  • Another inflatable ride mishap; 2 injured (9/21/03)
  • Boy, 9, injured in go-cart flip at fair (9/21/03)
  • Coaster cars collide at Puyallup Fair (9/21/03)
  • Chairlift ride derails in high winds (9/25/03)
  • Coaster cars collide at fair; 8 injured (9/26/03)
  • Workers union demands "Mad Mouse" investigation (9/27/03)
  • Raven investigation concludes: victim's actions caused her death (9/27/03)

    OCTOBER

  • Carnival ride malfunctions, injures 2 at Kansas fair (10/4/03)
  • Kiddie ride car flips over, falls to ground; girl injured (10/12/03)
  • Gondolas fall from ropeway; 4 killed (10/19/03)
  • Octopus ride malfunction injures 4 (10/19/03)
  • Riders struck by board on Texas Cyclone; 7 injured (10/19/03)

    NOVEMBER

  • Amusement park train derails, 8 injured (11/2/03)
  • Woman dies on Sizzler ride in Colorado(11/18/03)
  • B&B Amusements owner arrested, charged with bribing IRS agent (11/20/03)
  • California fair drops B&B Amusements (11/20/03)
  • Boy falls off rock wall at industry trade show (11/22/03)
  • Disneyland faulted for poor training, poor maintenance in coaster death (11/26/03)
  • Report: at least 14 Titanic inflatable slides have collapsed (11/26/03)
  • Boy falls from ride at Florida park (11/30/03)

    DECEMBER

  • Heart condition, not chewing gum, caused girl's death at Six Flags (12/5/03)
  • Space Mountain roller coaster derails at Tokyo Disneyland (12/5/03)


  • Space Mountain roller coaster derails at Tokyo Disneyland

    (Friday, December 5, 2003) - At Tokyo Disneyland, 12 passengers aboard the park's Space Mountain roller coaster came to an abrupt stop when a roller coaster car derailed. None of the riders was injured. A park spokesman said that the rear car 12-car train derailed near the end of the ride.

    Space Mountain had recently undergone a complete safety inspection in response to a fatal roller coaster derailment at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on September 5. Officials at Tokyo Disneyland shut down Space Mountain as a precaution and conducted safety checks. They concluded that the ride was safe to operate.


    Heart condition, not chewing gum, caused girl's death at Six Flags

    (Friday, December 5, 2003) - In Chicago, Illinois, a coroner's jury ruled that an 11-year-old girl who collapsed during a ride on a roller coaster at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee last May died as a result of a heart condition. The girl collapsed while riding the Raging Bull roller coaster on May 3. A preliminary autopsy report suggested that the girl choked on a piece of chewing gum, however the chief investigator for Illinois' Lake County Coroner has now concluded that the chewing gum, which was found in the girl's mouth, was not a factor in her death. Three physicians gave evidence that the girl had an enlarged heart, a condition for which she had seen a cardiologist.


    Boy falls from ride at Florida park

    (Sunday, November 30, 2003) - At Holiday Village in Miami, Florida, a young boy suffered minor injuries when he fell from a ride called the Avalanche.

    State inspectors are investigating the accident. They say that child was seated near the middle of the ride when he fell, and that the accident happened just as the ride started. Early reports show no evidence of a mechanical failure.

    Park owners say that they will remove the ride, regardless of the outcome of the investigation.

    The Avalanche passed a safety inspection on Friday.


    Report: at least 14 Titanic inflatable slides have collapsed

    (Wednesday, November 26, 2003) - In Waterloo, Iowa, a court case began involving the parents of a 7-year-old girl who was injured in an accident involving a Titanic inflatable slide. She fell 25 feet and landed on cement when the slide, operated by Midwest Amusements of Minnesota, collapsed. The accident happened at Waterloo's National Cattle Congress fair in 2002.

    The lawsuit alleges that the operator failed to follow safety instructions for the ride, and that the ride attendant allowed six people on board when the maximum capacity was only four. It also claims that the ride had started to tip hours earlier, and the attendant had grabbed the ride to keep it from toppling. The attorney representing the family claims that Midwest Amusements did not get a copy of the ride's manual and did not know how to properly set up the ride. He said the instruction book warned of catastrophic failure if the ride was overloaded, and that the warning featured an illustration of people falling from the ride.

    Midwest Amusements said the inflatable slide passed a state inspection before the fair, and that they had no reason to suspect it would collapse. The defense attorney representing Midwest says the company had used the slide for two years without any problems.

    Reports cited by the plaintiffs' attorney show that at least 14 inflatable slides with the Titanic design have collapsed in recent years.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Disneyland faulted for poor training, poor maintenance in coaster death

    (Wednesday, November 26, 2003) - An investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) has concluded that September's fatal roller coaster accident at Disneyland theme park in Anaheim was the result of improper maintenance and poorly trained employees. An OSHA report says that outside machinists who were called in to help in the investigation did not understand or follow the park's maintenance procedures, and that the park did not give ride operators correct guidelines.

    The accident happened on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster on September 5. One rider was killed and ten others were injured when one of the ride's trains derailed. The same train had been taken out of operation for routine maintenance on September 2, and remained idle until it was put back into operation, less than an hour before it derailed.

    Investigators believe that during the train's 12th circuit, two bolts securing the rear axle of the lead car loosened. The wheel assembly then fell off the car. Several ride operators told investigators that they had heard a strange noise coming from the train, but they failed to take any action. They said that they planned to take the train back out of operation after it completed its 13th circuit. Investigators say that the accident happened about one-third of the way through the 13th circuit when an axle assembly shifted and a connecting rod broke as the train entered an uphill grade. The lead car -- an unoccupied car designed to resemble a locomotive -- then disengaged and struck a tunnel roof. The first passenger car then ran under the lead car, killing the 22-year-old victim.

    The report found that maintenance workers had erroneously failed to tighten two screws properly.

    Disney officials admitted that the accident was the result of poor maintenance.

    "Our own analysis found that the accident was caused by incorrectly performed maintenance tasks required by Disneyland policy and procedures that resulted in a mechanical failure," said a park spokeswoman.

    While OSHA concluded that the ride is safe, it recommended that outside machinists be retrained and that Disney write new, clear guidelines instructing ride operators to take action if an unusual noise is heard.

    Click here for the complete OSHA investigation report.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Boy falls off rock wall at industry trade show

    (Saturday, November 22, 2003) - At the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, a 15-year-old boy suffered minor injuries when he fell from a rock climbing wall.

    At last year's IAAPA trade show, a 13-year-old boy was seriously injured when he jumped from the platform of a freefall-type ride and the safety system failed to catch him.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Teen seriously injured after "completely safe" free fall ride fails (11/22/02)
  • "Completely safe" free fall ride fails again; woman injured (7/13/03)
  • Woman dies after fall from rock climbing wall (7/15/03)
  • Faulty cable blamed for rock climbing wall death (7/20/03)


    California fair drops B&B Amusements

    (Thursday, November 20, 2003) - The San Mateo County Fair board has announced that it will seek a new contractor to provide rides and attractions for next year's fair after the owner of the current contractor was arrested by federal agents. Stephen "Buddy" Merten, co-owner of Arizona-based B&B Amusements, was arrested by U.S. Treasury agents in October. Federal investigators say that Merten tried to bribe a federal tax collector to erase delinquent payroll liabilities owed by his company.

    "We've had success with them, but now they've run into a lot of problems," said Stan Pastorino, president of the San Mateo County Exposition and Fair Association Board.

    The fair board voted last week to solicit new proposals for operating the fair.

    Three years ago, Merten's brother and B&B co-owner Robert Merten pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in the death of a 15-year-old girl who was thrown from one of the company's rides at a Texas fair in 1998. He spent a month in jail and was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.

    B&B Amusements is the only carnival operator in the United States to be held criminally responsible for the death of a patron.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    B&B Amusements owner arrested, charged with bribing IRS agent

    (Wednesday, November 19, 2003) - United States Treasury agents have arrested Stephen "Buddy" Merten, co-owner of Arizona-based B&B Amusements, after he allegedly tried to bribe an IRS agent. Federal investigators say that Merten offered a federal tax collector $20,000 to erase $300,000 in delinquent payroll liabilities owed by his company. Merten reportedly made two bribery payments of $2,000 each before his arrest. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    Three years ago, Merten's brother and B&B co-owner Robert pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in the death of a 15-year-old girl who was thrown from one of the company's rides at a Texas fair in 1998. The company became the only carnival operator in the United States to be held criminally responsible for the death of a patron through negligence. Merten spent a month in jail and was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Woman dies on Sizzler ride in Colorado

    (Tuesday, November 18, 2003) - In Prescott, Arizona, a 22-year-old woman lost consciousness and died while riding a Sizler ride. The ride is owned and operated by Frazier Shows of America.


    Amusement park train derails, 8 injured

    (Sunday, November 2, 2003) - At Griffith Park's Traveltown in Los Angeles, California, eight people suffered minor injuries when a train ride derailed and tipped over. The train, called the Chief, was traveling at about 5 miles per hour when it derailed. The train's cars are relatively small, measuring about 10 feet long and 3 feet high. Police reports indicate that the weight in one of the cars may have shifted suddenly when a passenger or two leaned too far to one side, causing two of the cars to tip over.

    Those injured suffered bruises and scratches.


    Riders struck by board on Texas Cyclone; 7 injured

    (Sunday, October 19, 2003) - At Six Flags Astroworld in Houston, Texas, seven people were injured when a falling board struck them as they were riding the Texas Cyclone roller coaster. Reports indicate that the board -- a 12-foot long 2" x 6" -- fell onto the middle of the train about halfway through the ride. The injured riders were treated at a local hospital and released.

    The ride has been closed pending an investigation and re-inspection. Park officials say that ride was inspected on Sunday morning, but that they do not know what caused the board to loosen.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Knott's Berry Farm accident injures 5 (8/23/99)


    Octopus ride malfunction injures 4

    (Sunday, October 19, 2003) - At Dream World amusement park in Pathum Thani, Thailand, four people were injured after a support arm fell off a ride called the "Giant Octopus." The arm was carrying four 2-passenger cars. Three of the injured riders were hospitalized and the other was treated and released.

    The park offered to pay all of the victims' medical expenses.


    Gondolas fall from ropeway; 4 killed

    (Sunday, October 19, 2003) - In Darjeeling, India, a ropeway cable car-type ride which carries passengers from Singamari to Tukvar malfunctioned, killing four people. The accident happened when a support cable snapped. Three of the cars disengaged from the cable and plunged more than 300 feet before they came to rest. Nine riders survived the accident, and were hospitalized at the North Bengal Medical Hospital with critical injuries. Fifty other passengers were left stranded for nearly three hours in the ride's thirteen other gondolas before rescue workers freed them.

    The ride has been shut down pending a state investigation. The manager of the ropeway, a ropeway operator and two station helpers were arrested under the state's Negligence Act.


    Kiddie ride car flips over, falls to ground; girl injured

    (Sunday, October 12, 2003) - At the Cumming Country Fair in Cumming, Georgia, a 3-year-old girl was injured in an accident involving a kiddie ride. The ride features cars designed to look like bumble bees that are attached to arms which whirl a few feet off the ground. The girl's car flipped completely over, and witnesses say the girl then fell out of the car to the ground. She was taken to a hospital where she was treated for her injuries and released.

    The rides at the fair were operated by James H. Drew Exposition.


    Carnival ride malfunctions, injures 2 at Kansas fair

    (Saturday, October 4, 2003) - At the Udall Fall Festival in Udall, Kansas, two people were injured when an amusement ride malfunctioned. The accident involved a teacup-style ride that features several cup and saucer seats. One of the seats broke away from its mount after a shaft broke. The two passengers landed on the ground and suffered minor injuries. They were treated at a Wichita hospital and released.

    The ride is owned and operated by Cardinal Amusements of Franklin, Kansas. It was shut down after the incident.


    Raven investigation concludes: victim's actions caused her death

    (Saturday, September 27, 2003) - The prosecutor's office of Spencer County, Indiana has released a final report which concludes its investigation of the May 31 fatality at Holiday World theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana. The following is the text of that report:

    The Spencer County Prosecutor's Office has reviewed the reports, statements, photographs and other evidence regarding the May 31, 2003 death of Tamar Fellner who fell from the last car of the Raven roller coaster at Holiday World. We met with the lead investigators, Clifton Lee White and Kristi Raibley of the Santa Claus Police Department and Spencer County Coroner Bob Duley. Finally, we reviewed a report from the Indiana State Police and Detective Brad Cieslack who were consulted to provide a separate analysis of the evidence in this case. After reviewing all the evidence in this case we find no indication of any crimes or criminal activity by any individual or entity. Furthermore, the evidence supports the Coroner's Office ruling that the death was accidental. All indications are that Tamar Fellner's own conduct caused her to fall out of the Raven roller coaster car to her death on May 31, 2003.

    On May 31, 2003, Holiday World hosted an event called "Stark Raven Mad 2003." Roller coaster enthusiasts from around the country, including Tamar Fellner and her fiancé, Robert Weitzner, of New York attended the event. Before the event, records show the Raven roller coaster was inspected on May 31, 2003 and the roller coaster ran all day and evening without any problems or guest complaints. Holiday World warned participants of "Stark Raven Mad 2003" that any attempt to interfere with safety mechanisms on any ride would subject the violator to removal from the park. At approximately 8:00pm Tamar Fellner and her fiancé, Robert Weitzner, got into the rear seat of the rear car of the Raven roller coaster. A ride operator states she specifically recalls checking Tamar Fellner's seat belt and lap bar before the coaster left the station. The coaster returned to the station and Fellner and her fiancé, Weitzner, stayed in their seats and decided to ride the coaster again. Another ride operator states she checked Fellner's seat belt and lap bar again before the coaster left the station. Fellner's fiancé, Robert Weitzner, also stated that he and Fellner were both restrained by the seat belts and lap bars at the beginning of the last ride and that both were checked by an operator prior to departure. At the time the last ride was in progress, three individuals in the Holiday World parking lot observed an individual matching the description of Ms. Fellner in the last car of the Raven roller coaster virtually standing up during the ride. Two of the witnesses were visiting the park and one of the witnesses was a tram operator in the park. Authorities verified the individuals could see the Raven from their vantage points. At the mid-course drop (Hill #5) Weitzner states Fellner fell out of the car and onto the tracks. Other passengers seated in front of Fellner and Weitzner stated that after the last decline Weitzner began yelling and when the coaster returned to the station Weitzner told them that Fellner had fallen out. Weitzner, ride operators, and a passenger who was a doctor ran back along the tracks where they found Fellner lying under the wooden structure of the coaster at the last drop. The doctor and park medical personnel immediately began CPR until an ambulance arrived and Fellner was pronounced dead by Coroner Bob Duley en route to the hospital. Fellner's body was examined by a forensic pathologist at St. Joseph's Hospital in Huntingburg and his opinion as to the cause of death was exsanguination (blood loss) as the result of multiple injuries as the consequence of a forty-foot fall from the roller coaster. He further stated the injuries included multiple open and closed bone fractures to her body. Blood and urine toxicology results were negative.

    When the coaster returned to the station without Fellner a ride operator noticed that Fellner's seatbelt was unfastened. The coaster was evacuated and then quickly secured by a Santa Claus Deputy Marshall. The car was examined and photographed. Fellner's seatbelt was found unfastened and each end was tucked between the cushion and the sidewall on both sides of her seat. The lap bar where she had been sitting was down.

    The coaster car was then examined by an inspector from the Indiana Department of Fire and Building Services on June 1, 2003 and the lap bar and seatbelt where Fellner had been sitting were found to be free of defects and functioning properly. Afterwards, the car was also examined by an independent roller coaster inspector who also found the car and its restraining devices to be in proper working order. An engineer from an engineering firm also tested the coaster and car and concluded that the forces experienced on the Raven wooden roller coaster are well within industry accepted standards and if Ms. Fellner would have been properly seated in her seat, with either one of the restraining devices properly used, she would not have left the roller coaster vehicle. The independent coaster inspector also reviewed all documentation of the Raven including operator handbooks, training records, maintenance records, ride manuals, and verbal and written guest instructions and found them to be complete and consistent. His preliminary opinion based on the evidence was that:

    "Ms. Fellner engaged in conduct contrary to the rules of operation and in disregard of verbal instructions and posted written warnings. These actions resulted in Ms. Fellner placing her body in a position that the ride was not designed to carry human passengers. Once in this undesigned riding position, the forces exerted on the body resulted in Ms. Fellner leaving the passenger carrying area of the car and falling down through the wooden structure to the ground. The injuries sustained resulted in the unfortunate loss of Ms. Fellner's life."

    The independent coaster inspector also stated his preliminary opinion was that the ride structure and ride vehicles have been maintained, operated and used in accordance with the design standards and industry accepted standards. He concluded the Raven roller coaster is fit for use by the general public and that the ride will provide an enjoyable, safe experience for all passengers who are riding in the designed manner.

    We believe it is also significant that there were no problems with the Raven before the incident and that there have been no problems since the incident.

    Unfortunately, other than his original statement, we were unable to obtain further information from Ms. Fellner's fiancé, Robert Weitzner. He failed to return our calls or cooperate in the investigation despite several requests to do so. We continue to extend our sympathies to the family of Tamar Fellner and again I have been pleased by the thorough work of the investigating officers as well as the full cooperation of Holiday World under these difficult circumstances.

    Jon A. Dartt
    Spencer County Prosecutor

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Woman, 32, killed in fall from roller coaster at Holiday World (5/31/03)
  • Inspectors find no problems with Raven (6/2/03)
  • Witnesses, experts shed light on Raven accident (6/3/03)
  • Holiday World introduces 'Zero Tolerance' policy to coaster clubs (9/16/03)


    Workers union demands "Mad Mouse" investigation

    (Saturday, September 27, 2003) - The Australian Workers Union is urging government officials to investigate Friday's accident on the Mad Mouse roller coaster at the Royal Melbourne Show in Melbourne, Australia. The union's secretary, Bill Shorten, said that two maintenance men, who worked on the ride until they were fired in July, were prepared to give evidence.

    "We want to know what the effect of laying off two experienced men, who carried out both maintenance and the operation of the Mad Mouse, would have had on the accident," said Shorten.

    "We will press the State Government to investigate."

    The accident happened when two of the ride's cars collided. Two girls, aged 10 and 13, suffered back and abdominal injuries and remain hospitalized in stable condition. Six other people suffered minor injuries.

    The Mad Mouse is owned and operated by Entertainment Services, formerly known as Wittingslow Amusements. Last month, Wittingslow Amusements was found guilty of 40 charges of failing to protect the public and its workers in connection with the September, 2000 collapse of its Spin Dragon ride at Australia's Royal Adelaide Show which injured 37 people. Investigators found that 44 of the 48 bolts which held the ride's carriage to its two lifting arms had either failed, loosened, or had been undone completely. The bolts sheered off from the ride, causing the passenger platform to break free from its mountings and crash to the ground.

    A court magistrate said that the collapse would not have happened had the ride been properly maintained and inspected.

    "Had appropriate attention been devoted to the security of the bolts in question at the interval recommended by the manufacturer... the accident on September 2, 2000 would not have occurred."

    The company was found guilty of 33 counts of failing to take adequate steps to avoid risk to members of the public; four counts of failing to protect the safety of employees; two counts of failing to comply with the maintenance recommendations of the ride's manufacturer; and one count of failing to ensure that the ride was maintained in a safe condition.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Ride collapses at fair in Australia; 37 injured (9/2/2000)
  • Collapsed Spin Dragon operator found guilty on 40 charges (8/15/03)
  • Strong winds knock children's ride onto power lines (9/21/03)
  • Chairlift ride derails in high winds (9/25/03)
  • Coaster cars collide at fair; 8 injured (9/26/03)


    Coaster cars collide at fair; 8 injured

    (Friday, September 26, 2003) - At Australia's Royal Melbourne Show, eight people were injured when two roller coaster cars collided. Five people were taken to hospitals with head and neck injuries and three others were treated at the scene.

    The 40-year-old wooden coaster, named "Mad Mouse," had recently been inspected and certified to run. It has been shut down pending an investigation into the cause of the crash.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Strong winds knock children's ride onto power lines (9/21/03)
  • Chairlift ride derails in high winds (9/25/03)


    Chairlift ride derails in high winds

    (Wednesday, September 25, 2003) - At Australia's Royal Melbourne Show, a chairlift ride left thirty-eight people stranded for nearly an hour in their seats 60 feet in the air after high winds derailed the ride's cables. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade rescued the stranded riders, and there were no reports of injuries.

    The ride's operators were in the process of shutting the ride down when the accident happened. It was the third time this year that high winds have forced the ride to close.


    Coaster cars collide at Puyallup Fair

    (Sunday, September 21, 2003) - At the Puyallup Fair in Puyallup, Washington, two cars collided on a roller coaster ride. A fair spokeswoman said that two of the cars on the giant coaster bumped at the station.

    "They exchanged a little bit of paint, so it was not a major incident at all."

    Five people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.

    The ride passed a safety check and reopened shortly after the accident.


    Boy, 9, injured in go-cart flip at fair

    (Sunday, September 21, 2003) - At the L.A. County Fair in Pomona, California, a 9-year-old boy was injured when the go-cart he was driving overturned after being bumped by another go-cart. The boy was treated at the scene and was taken to a local hospital to be treated for a possible injury to his arm.


    Another inflatable ride mishap; 2 injured

    (Sunday, September 21, 2003) - Two children were injured when a gust of wind tipped over an inflatable castle they were jumping in. The accident happened in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia.

    One of the victims, a 7-year-old boy, suffered a bloody nose and the other victim, the boy's 4-year-old sister, suffered an injured shoulder.

    The gust of wind reportedly lifted all of the ride's stability pegs out of the ground, then tipped it over. Several other children who were on the ride were not injured.

    The children were given first aid on the scene by workers who had been setting up a display on how to stay safe in wind and thunder storms. The display was part of "Storm Safe Week."

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Strong winds knock children's ride onto power lines

    (Sunday, September 21, 2003) - At Australia's Royal Melbourne Show, a mini bungee-trampoline ride for children blew over under heavy winds and fell onto some power lines. The accident happened before the fair opened for the day, and no one was injured.

    A spokesman for the show told reporters that the mishap "is just one of those things that happen."


    Holiday World introduces 'Zero Tolerance' policy to coaster clubs

    (Tuesday, September 16, 2003) - Will Koch, the president and general manager of Holiday World and Splashin' Safari theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana, issued a letter to roller coaster enthusiast groups introducing a new 'Zero Tolerance Policy' and canceling scheduled enthusiast events at the park. The action comes in the wake of a deadly accident on Holiday World's Raven roller coaster on May 31. A roller coaster enthusiast was killed after she removed her seat belt and stood up while riding in the rear car of the Raven. The accident brought the spotlight onto roller coaster enthusiast groups whose members encourage such practices and brag about riding coasters with loosened seat belts and lap bars in high positions, away from the lap.

    The following is the text of Koch's letter:

    It is time to add my voice to the discussion about coaster enthusiasts and ride safety. During the investigation that followed the tragic accident at Holiday World earlier this season, we became aware of actions taken by—and encouraged by—a number of enthusiasts. We are appalled to learn that this minority of enthusiasts continues to practice unsafe and even illegal behavior at parks, and brag about it on the Internet.

    For this reason, we will not host any special events for coaster enthusiasts in 2004.

    We are also initiating a Zero Tolerance Policy in regards to safety. In the past, we have relied on a stern warning and ejection from the park when a rider broke a safety rule. Effective immediately, a park guest who compromises his or her own—or others—safety will be permanently banned from the park.

    This Zero Tolerance Policy extends to false and harmful information spread on the various Internet newsgroups and forums. This includes posting advice about how to defeat safety devices and how to sneak cameras (when forbidden) onto coasters. It also includes making libelous claims regarding park policies and procedures.

    Coaster clubs are at risk of losing the trust of parks. The future of these relationships and special events may well be at stake. We urge you to take a Zero Tolerance stand with your members. We encourage you to communicate with other clubs—as well as parks—as we work together to weed out the bad influence that threatens to erode a friendship we have grown to treasure over the years.

    Please share this letter with your members.

    Sincerely,
    Will Koch
    President and General Manager
    Holiday World and Splashin' Safari

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  • Woman, 32, killed in fall from roller coaster at Holiday World (5/31/03)
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  • Witnesses, experts shed light on Raven accident (6/3/03)


    Raft capsizes on Efteling's Piranha river rapids ride

    (Monday, September 15, 2003) - At Efteling theme park in Holland, four people were injured when a raft capsized on a river rapids ride called Piranha.

    The ride has been shut down.

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    Carnival worker killed in Ferris wheel accident

    (Monday, September 8, 2003) - In Longview, Texas, a 20-year-old carnival worker was electrocuted as he was preparing a Ferris wheel for the opening of the Gregg County Fair. The man, an employee of Crabtree Amusements, was working 40-50 feet off the ground behind some lights at the center of the wheel when his knee touched a power source.

    The Longview fire marshal is calling the death "a tragic accident." The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

    The fair opened as scheduled on Tuesday, but the Ferris was closed out of respect for the victim.


    One killed, 10 injured in Disneyland roller coaster malfunction

    (Friday, September 5, 2003) - At Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, one man was killed and ten others were injured after a malfunction on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster. Reports indicate that the lead car of one of the ride's trains -- an unoccupied locomotive car -- disengaged and possibly derailed as it traveled into a tunnel near the end of the ride.

    Some riders were trapped in the tunnel for an hour, until rescue workers freed them and began to treat them.

    Two of the passengers were treated at the scene and released. Eight others were taken to hospitals with mostly minor injuries. One man, whose injuries were described as "moderate," suffered facial injuries, a broken collarbone, and rib fractures.

    Anaheim police and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating. The ride has been shut down.

    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a runaway mine train-style steel roller coaster. It opened in 1979.

    "We are shocked and saddened," said Disneyland president Cynthia Harris.

    "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of those involved."

    The fatality is the park's tenth since it opened in 1955.

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Boy, 8, dies from bumper car ride injury

    (Wednesday, September 4, 2003) - An 8-year-old boy has died from injuries he suffered on a bumper car ride last month at the Lake County Fair in Ohio. The boy was severely shocked when he touched a pole on a bumper car ride called the Scooter.

    The ride is owned and operated by Buffalo Amusement and was inspected by state officials before the fair opened.


    Roller coaster malfunctions, strands 4 at Washington fair

    (Monday, September 1, 2003) - At the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, Washington, four people were trapped on a roller coaster 30-35 feet off the ground when one of the wheels underneath their car jumped a rail. The accident happened on the Zillerator, a family-style steel roller coaster owned and operated by Butler Amusements of Fairfield, California.

    Firefighters rescued the passengers with an extension ladder. No one was injured.


    Skycoaster accident injures worker

    (Saturday, August 30, 2003) - At Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe water park in Greensboro, North Carolina, a 22-year-old park worker was seriously injured during a routine test ride on a Skycoaster rip-line type thrill ride. The accident happened just before the park opened to the public.

    The Skycoaster, a giant swing-type ride, is commonly located at major theme parks. Riders are strapped into harnesses and then climb up onto a platform underneath a tall, arch-like structure to which the harness cables are attached. Another cable is then attached to the harness which lifts riders backwards to the top of a 100- to 300-foot-tall tower. The loading platform is then rolled out of the way and the ride operator signals to them to pull a ripcord, releasing them from the lift cable and swinging them underneath the arch through a large arc.

    Reports indicate that the victim pulled the ripcord before the loading platform had been moved out of the way. It is estimated that the victim struck the metal platform at 50-55 miles per hour.

    Park officials say that the ride operator had not indicated to the victim that the cart had moved out of the path and that the victim would have been able to see that the cart had not been moved.

    The victim was hospitalized in critical condition.

    "We have no idea what happened," said a park spokesman.

    The ride has been shut down. The North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating.


    Problems with bolts reported before coaster derailed

    (Wednesday, August 27, 2003) - Police investigating Saturday's Steel Dragon 2000 roller coaster malfunction at Nagashima Spaland in Nagashima, Japan say that problems with the ride were discovered and reported earlier this month. The park's own maintenance records show that during routine inspections on August 11 and August 17, the bolts securing the wheels to the front car of one of the ride's trains were found to be loose or defective. All twelve of the bolts on the car were replaced.

    The same front car derailed when several of its wheels disengaged in an accident last weekend, injuring 2 people.

    The park says that no problems were found with the vehicle during a Saturday morning inspection.


    Steel Dragon 2000 derails, 2 injured

    (Saturday, August 23, 2003) - At Nagashima Spaland in Nagashima, Japan, two people were left seriously injured after the front car of a roller coaster's train lost several of its wheels and derailed. The accident happened on the Steel Dragon 2000 roller coaster. The wheels disengaged from the right side of the front car shortly after the ride had opened for the day.

    One rider suffered a broken hip. A man who was in a nearby swimming pool was also injured when one of the wheels which had disengaged from the vehicle struck him.

    Park officials say that no problems were found with the ride during routine inspections earlier in the morning.

    "We are sorry for those who got injured in the accident. We examine the roller coaster every morning. No problem was found when we checked the vehicle on that morning. We are determined to prevent a recurrence."

    The ride was manufactured by D.H. Morgan Manufacturing of California. It opened three years ago. It is currently the world's longest roller coaster and one of the fastest, reaching top speeds of 95 miles per hour.

    Police are investigating.


    Paramount's Canada’s Wonderland ride injures three

    (Saturday, August 23, 2003) - At Paramount's Canada's Wonderland theme park in Canada, three children were injured when their car fell from the Jimmy Neutron Brainwasher ride. The car fell 2-3 feet. The children's injuries are minor.

    The Ministry of Labour is investigating.


    Knott's Berry Farm stagecoach ride malfunctions, 3 injured

    (Monday, August 18, 2003) - At Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, three people were injured on the Butterfield Stagecoach ride when one of the ride's six coaches lost its brakes. The coach was being pulled by four horses and was carrying eleven riders. It failed to stop as it entered the station, sending the horses into a fence. One horse was killed.

    Riders' injuries included a shoulder injury and a sprained ankle.

    The park says it will inspect each of the ride's six coaches before the ride reopens.


    Man dies from water slide injuries

    (Monday, August 18, 2003) - A 45-year-old man who was injured on a water slide in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire on Sunday died from injuries he suffered in the accident. Emergency medical personnel who responded to the scene say that the man was unconscious when he landed in the pool, and that lifeguards rescued him from the water. He later regained consciousness and complained of a headache, leading investigators to believe that he somehow struck his head while on the slide.

    The man was hospitalized, but his condition worsened and he finally died.

    The Tramways and Rides division of the New Hampshire Department of Safety is investigating.


    Man killed while working on ride at Washington fair

    (Saturday, August 16, 2003) - At the Island County Fair in Langley, Washington, a 40-year-old man was killed while he was working on an amusement ride that he owned. The man, co-owner of Paradise Amusements of Post Falls, Idaho, was spraying lubricant on the tracks of his company's Super Loops roller coaster-type ride while it was in operation. According to witnesses, his arm got caught up in the cars which were filled with passengers. The cars dragged him up as high as 40 feet, as his clothes and hair also became caught up in the ride. The victim was scalped, then fell back-first onto an aluminum fence surrounding the ride.

    Hundreds of people witnessed the accident.


    Collapsed Spin Dragon operator found guilty on 40 charges

    (Friday, August 15, 2003) - Wittingslow Entertainment Services has been found guilty of 40 charges of failing to protect the public and its workers in connection with the September, 2000 collapse of its Spin Dragon ride at Australia's Royal Adelaide Show which injured 37 people. Investigators found that 44 of the 48 bolts which held the ride's carriage to its two lifting arms had either failed, loosened, or had been undone completely. The bolts sheered off from the ride, causing the passenger platform to break free from its mountings and crash to the ground.

    Industrial Relations Court Magistrate Richard Hardy said that the collapse would not have happened had the ride been properly maintained and inspected.

    "Had appropriate attention been devoted to the security of the bolts in question at the interval recommended by the manufacturer... the accident on September 2, 2000 would not have occurred."

    The ride is manufactured by the Fabbri Group of Italy.

    Hardy found the company guilty of 33 counts of failing to take adequate steps to avoid risk to members of the public; four counts of failing to protect the safety of employees; two counts of failing to comply with the maintenance recommendations of the ride's manufacturer; and one count of failing to ensure that the ride was maintained in a safe condition.

    Hardy found the company liable to pay $20,000 to each victim and $147,500 in other penalties, however he declined to order the company to pay, as it is now insolvent. Lawyers who have begun class action suits say the decision will not affect their cases because the company was insured.

    Wittingslow Entertainment Services, once one of Australia's biggest amusement operators, is now doing business as Entertainment Services International.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Ride collapses at fair in Australia; 37 injured (9/2/2000)


    Boy, 8, severely shocked on bumper car ride at Ohio fair

    (Wednesday, August 13, 2003) - At the Lake County Fair in Ohio, an 8-year-old boy was severely shocked when he touched a pole on a bumper car ride called the Scooter. He was taken to an area hospital where he remains in a coma.

    The ride, owned and operated by Buffalo Amusement, was inspected by state officials before the fair opened.


    Tilt-A-Whirl cars collide; girl injured

    (Wednesday, August 13, 2003) - At a church carnival in Burbank, Illinois, a Tilt-A-Whirl car disengaged and collided with another car, injuring a girl.

    The ride is owned and operated by Fantasy Amusements.

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    Man loses prosthetic leg on inverted coaster

    (Wednesday, August 13, 2003) - At Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida, a man's prosthetic leg fell off while he was riding the Dueling Dragons inverted roller coaster. Park officials believe that the leg fell into a pond underneath the coaster and sent dive teams to search for it.

    Inverted roller coaster trains travel beneath an overhead track, allowing riders' legs to dangle below the trains.


    Michigan's Adventure settles Chaos suit for $40,000

    (Tuesday, August 12, 2003) - A teenage girl who was injured when an amusement ride crashed to the ground at Michigan's Adventure theme park in 2001 has received a $40,000 settlement from the park's owner, Cedar Fair LP. The girl was left with permanent scars caused by cuts to her knees that she suffered in the accident, which injured 31 other riders. It is expected that some of those riders will also file lawsuits against the park.

    The Chaos features eighteen cars which border a circular platform. The cars, each of which seat two riders, flip through 360 degrees as the platform lifts, tilts and rotates. It had been operating at Michigan's Adventure since 1996.

    Investigators from the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services' Bureau of Commercial Services and the Michigan Carnival-Amusement Safety Board concluded that bolts at the center of the ride loosened, bent, and ultimately broke, causing the ride platform to break off its axle and crash to the ground. They also say that Michigan's Adventure did not provide any evidence to the state that all required inspections of the ride were performed and certified by "special commissioned inspectors," as the state requires, nor that the bolts had been inspected according to the specifications of the ride's manufacturer, Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas. The state also says that the park failed to provide documentation of regular monthly torque checks of the bolts as required by a service bulletin issued by Chance. Investigators also say that park inspectors told them that the bolts were visually inspected most of the time, and not checked with a wrench.

    An outside metallurgical laboratory, which was brought into the investigation to examine the ride parts which broke and caused the collapse, concluded that the parts "were of proper materials and of good workmanship," and that "the most likely cause of the failure is loosening of the fasteners due to impact loads."

    Chance Rides denies any responsibility for the accident.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Ride collapses at Michigan's Adventure; 31 injured (7/30/01)
  • Mechanical failure blamed for Chaos collapse at Michigan's Adventure (2/6/02)


    Man killed in fall from swing ride in India; police to charge operator

    (Tuesday, August 4, 2003) - Investigators determined that a man who was thrown from an amusement ride at Appu Ghar park in New Delhi, India on Sunday, died from the injuries he sustained in the accident. The man fell from a swing ride called My Fair Lady. Initial reports indicated that the man died as a result of a heart attack, however the autopsy report confirmed that the man died as a direct result of his injuries, which included broken ribs.

    "The cause of death is shock and hemorrhage as a result of multiple injuries as described."

    In response to the findings of the report, police have brought charges against two Appu Ghar employees, the operator of the ride and the ride attendant. Under the Indian Penal Code, the two will be charged with causing death due to a rash and negligent act, and causing the disappearance of evidence or giving false information.

    Police are questioning other Appu Ghar officials and more charges may be filed.

    The park faces closure.


    Woman dies after heart attack on roller coaster

    (Wednesday, July 29, 2003) - An 34-year-old woman died a day after suffering a heart attack during her ride on the Top Gun roller coaster at Paramount's Kings Island theme park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The woman had no history of heart problems, but doctors say she may have had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure which contributed to her death.


    Children's roller coaster derails

    (Monday, July 28, 2003) - At Festival Village in Puerto Rico, a children's roller coaster ride came to an abrupt stop when a two-foot long section of steel rail sheared off beneath the wheels of one of the cars. Some of the children suffered bruises, but none of them was seriously injured.

    The ride is owned and operated by Empresas Pastrana of Puerto Rico. The owner of the company says doesn't know how the accident happened, and that the ride had recently been inspected by a mechanical engineer.


    Carnival worker charged with drunkenness, possession of marijuana

    (Friday, July 25, 2003) - An employee of Pennwood Amusements of Emmitsburg, Maryland was charged with operating a children's carnival ride while drunk and in possession of marijuana. On Saturday, police officers on duty at a carnival in Greencastle, Pennsylvania approached the man after a woman reported to them that she had noticed him acting as if he were inebriated. A breathalyzer test indicated the man's blood alcohol level was 0.18%. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is 0.10%.

    Police also reported that there was an outstanding warrant for the man's arrest which had been issued in Northampton County.

    RELATED STORY:

  • Carnival ride operator arrested, charged with working while intoxicated (9/25/02)


    Chiller strands riders at Six Flags Great Adventure

    (Friday, July 25, 2003) - At Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson, New Jersey, 20 people were left dangling upside down 75 in the air for 20 minutes when the Batman and Robin: The Chiller roller coaster malfunctioned. Park maintenance workers were able to move the train to a section of track from which riders could easily exit their cars. They then lowered the riders to the ground using ladders. None of the riders was injured.


    Faulty cable blamed for rock climbing wall death

    (Sunday, July 20, 2003) - A police affidavit filed in connection with the death of 22-year-old woman who fell from a rock climbing wall last week indicates that the woman's safety cable failed. The accident happened during a sporting event on the campus of the University of Missouri on Monday. The woman died from her injuries on Tuesday.

    "The cable appeared to be rusted. There was duct tape covering the point of break on the cable. The cable was collected as evidence."

    The police also confiscated the attraction itself.

    Federal, state and university officials continue to investigate.

    The ride was manufactured by Extreme Engineering of New Castle, California and is operated by Columbia Climbing Gym.


    Woman's injury prompts inspector to close four rides at children's park

    (Saturday, July 19, 2003) - A woman's injury on the carousel ride at the Enchanted Forest park in Hopkinton, Rhode Island prompted the town's building inspector to shut down four of the park's amusement rides. The woman was injured when a crossbeam fell and struck her in the back. The steel beam supported the shafts of three horses, all of which became displaced from their base. The horse which the woman was riding ended up hanging over the edge of the ride's platform.

    When the town building inspector went to the park to investigate, he ordered the ride closed, citing structural concerns. In addition, he ordered the park's bumper cars, Ferris wheel and swing rides closed due to electrical concerns. A state inspector was also called to the scene to investigate.

    The park's website describes the park as "a safe and unique recreational facility designed especially for children under the age of 12 and their families."

    The building inspector promised a complete re-inspection of all the park's rides.


    Virginia water park employee found dead in pool

    (Friday, July 18, 2003) - A 24-year-old maintenance worker was found dead in a pool at Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The ride is newly constructed, and has not yet been opened to the public. A group of employees had been testing the new ride earlier in the day, but the man was alone when he died.

    The ride, called the Hurricane, features an enclosed slide which drops riders into a giant funnel, which empties into a pool of water.

    An autopsy will be performed to determine how the man died.

    The ride is expected to open soon, pending an investigation into the man's death, a state inspection and certification.


    Teen in critical condition after water park accident

    (Thursday, July 17, 2003) - At Splash Down Dunes water park in Porter, Indiana, a 14-year-old boy who was helping a lifeguard and a maintenance worker repair a filtration system pipe grate was injured when he was somehow sucked into the pipe and trapped under water for 2-5 minutes. The boy, who is the son of the park's owner, was hospitalized in critical condition.


    Girl injured in fall from roller coaster

    (Wednesday, July 16, 2003) - At the Kenton County Fairgrounds in Independence, Kentucky, a 10-year-old girl was injured in a fall from a kiddie roller coaster. Police reports indicate that after the ride had come to a stop and children began to exit their cars, someone -- perhaps a child -- pressed the start button. The girl fell through the track of the ride, struck her head, and landed on the ground.

    The accident is under investigation.


    Woman dies after fall from rock climbing wall

    (Tuesday, July 15, 2003) - A 22-year-old woman died from injuries she suffered in a 25-foot-fall from a transportable rock climbing wall attraction on Monday in Columbia, Missouri. The accident happened during a sporting event on a college campus.


    Woman struck by ride part at Orange County Fair

    (Sunday, July 13, 2003) - At the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California, a 23-year-old woman was injured after a metal pin fell from an amusement ride and struck her in the jaw. The accident happened on the Booster ride. The ride consists of a 130-foot beam that pivots on its center. It carries four passengers in compartments that spin at each end.

    The pin, which measures 6 inches long and a half-inch in diameter, was used to attach a sign to the ride, and was not a part of the ride's mechanical system.

    "There was never a time the ride was in jeopardy," said a spokesman for the ride's operator, Ray Cammack Shows.

    The ride is manufactured by Fabbri Amusements of Italy.

    According to her family, the woman suffered a broken jaw, several broken teeth, and facial wounds requiring more than 20 stitches.


    "Completely safe" free fall ride fails again; woman injured

    (Sunday, July 13, 2003) - At the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California, a 30-year-old woman was injured when a free fall ride failed to properly catch her in its net. The ride, called Adrenaline Drop, is manufactured by Montic of Germany. It also known as a suspended catch air device, or "SCAD Dive."

    The ride operating in Costa Mesa consists of a platform 130 feet above the ground. Riders are placed into harnesses and are dropped from the platform into a net which is located 20 feet above the ground. There is a also a mat on the ground underneath the net.

    The woman was injured when the net stretched to the ground and she hit a 5-inch-thick foam pad.

    State investigators say that the ride's safety system failed.

    "The whole issue is the safety net wasn't where it was supposed to be," said Susan Gard, a spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

    She said that the net was not positioned high enough to prevent the woman from hitting the ground, and that the second net made no difference.

    "There was some kind of break in the procedure, whether mechanical, operator error or a combination of both."

    If the net had been set at the correct height, it would have stretched, bounced several times with the rider safely inside it, and finally come to rest 10 to 15 feet above the ground.

    The woman was taken to a hospital with injuries which are not life-threatening. She did not suffer any broken bones.

    The ride has been shut down and its permit has been revoked, pending an investigation.

    Adrenaline Drop is operated by Amusement Management International of Carrollton, Texas. The owner of that company said that all the ride's safety systems were in place, and that they all seem to have worked.

    The fair's general manager expressed her hope that the ride would reopen.

    Another rider was injured on a SCAD Dive last November at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Trade Show in Orlando, Florida. The 13-year-old rider suffered a broken leg and a broken hip after falling 30-40 feet and landing on a 4-inch-thick mat lying on the ground. That accident happened because the net failed to move into position when the boy jumped. A spokesman for Montic said that signal lights had incorrectly indicated to the ride's operators that the net was in position to catch the jumper.

    Montic's website claims that all its free fall rides are "completely safe."

    RELATED STORY:

  • Teen seriously injured after "completely safe" free fall ride fails (11/22/02)


    Woman struck, killed by ride at Six Flags New Orleans

    (Thursday, July 10, 2003) - A 53-year-old woman was killed after being struck by the Joker's Jukebox ride at Six Flags New Orleans. She was reportedly standing between the ride and the rail surrounding the ride when she was struck. Witnesses say she was checking to make sure her grandson's seat belt was properly fastened. She died on the way to the hospital.

    The ride will remain closed while Six Flags and New Orleans Police investigate. Police are calling the death accidental.


    Two Face roller coaster strands passengers at Six Flags America

    (Tuesday, July 1, 2003) - An apparent electrical problem left twenty-eight passengers stranded in their seats up to 130 feet in the air on a roller coaster at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland. The incident happened on Two Face: The Flip Side, an inverted looping shuttle roller coaster. The train stopped after it was lifted up to the top of the ride's incline. It remained stuck there for two hours, until park workers were finally able to lower it back into the station.

    None of the passengers was injured.

    The ride was manufactured by Vekoma of the Netherlands and has been in operation at Six Flags America since 1999. It has been shut down and will remain closed pending repairs and inspections.


    Woman injured in fall from ride at Williams Grove Park in Pennsylvania

    (Sunday, June 29, 2003) - At Williams Grove Amusement Park in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a 31-year-old woman sustained neck injuries in a fall from an amusement ride called Airborne, more commonly known as the Paratrooper. The woman claims she was thrown underneath her safety bar and then hung from her seat by her neck until her car was brought to the ground.

    When asked to comment on the incident, the park's owner told Harrisburg's WHTM-TV News, "I wouldn't give you my side of the story if you dropped dead," and "I'm not gonna take [expletive] from you or from anyone else."

    The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has shut the ride down until an investigation is complete.

    The ride passed an inspection last week.


    Tidal Force malfunctions at Hersheypark; 6 injured

    (Saturday, June 28, 2003) - At Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, six people were injured while riding the park's Tidal Force chute ride when their boat failed to stop and collided with a guardrail. The boat carries a maximum of 20 riders and reaches a top speed of 53 miles per hour.


    Man falls from Scenic Skyway at Knoebels

    (Friday, June 13, 2003) - A man was seriously injured in a 30-foot-fall from the Scenic Skyway chairlift ride at Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. The man was a member of a group home for mentally disabled people and was riding alone. He was airlifted to a local hospital and is expected to recover.

    The ride opened just 2 weeks ago. Inspectors found no problems with the ride.


    Witnesses, experts shed light on Raven accident

    (Tuesday, June 3, 2003) - A statement issued by the Spencer County Prosecutor's Office in Indiana reports that witnesses of Saturday's fatal accident on the Raven roller coaster at Holiday World say that the victim who fell from the ride may have unlatched her safety belt and stood up during her ride.

    "Witnesses state that at the time of the accident, an individual matching the description of [the victim] was seen in the last car of the roller coaster virtually standing up while the ride was in progress."

    "When the last car returned to the station, she was not in it and witnesses indicated that her seatbelt was unbuckled but her lap bar was locked."

    In addition, an independent ride inspector who was hired by Holiday World concluded that "a person who is sitting correctly in a roller coaster seat -- with backside down on the seat and feet on the floor of the car -- would not come out during a ride, even if that person were not holding on."

    The investigation will continue for two weeks, and a definitive conclusion about the cause of the accident has yet to be made. The woman's death has been ruled accidental, and police believe that no crime was committed.

    Holiday World has cooperated fully with the investigation, even choosing to voluntarily close its other roller coaster -- the Legend -- and subject it to a complete reinspection. The Legend will reopen tomorrow, as it was found to be in completely safe operating condition.

    The Raven has been operating safely at Holiday World since 1995. Yesterday, inspectors concluded that the victim's seat belt and lap bar mechanisms were not defective.


    Inspectors find no problems with Raven

    (Monday, June 2, 2003) - The Indiana State Department of Fire and Building Services says that the Raven roller coaster at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana was in perfectly safe operating condition Saturday night, when a 32-year-old woman was killed in a fall from the ride.

    Upon an inspection of the restraining devices in the seat from which the victim fell, inspectors found "no violations."

    An inspection of the seat belt found "no wear, no defects of the buckle, no slippage of the belt, and no defects of the anchor attachments."

    An inspection of the lap bar found "no wear, no loose fasteners or missing components... no defects."

    The woman was attending a special, park-sponsored event for roller coaster enthusiasts.

    In his comments on the accident, Holiday World president William Koch told reporters that he believes some roller coaster enthusiasts do "some things some of us wouldn't try to do."

    Koch may have been referring to the practices of disallowing the lap bar from lowering to its proper position, loosening seat belts, and even standing up as some people have been known to do, all to increase the effect of "air time," the zero-gravity sensation enthusiasts crave when a roller coaster train crests a hill at high speeds.

    "The enthusiasts stretch things to do what they can," he said.

    The Spencer County Sheriff's Department has classified the woman's death as an accident.

    The park is keeping the Raven closed, pending more inspections.


    Woman, 32, killed in fall from roller coaster at Holiday World

    (Saturday, May 31, 2003) - A 32-year-old woman was killed when whe fell from the Raven roller coaster at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana.

    The accident happened at the highest point of the roller coaster where riders experience the most "air time," the zero-gravity feeling experienced as a roller coaster train crests a hill. The victim was seated in the last seat of the rear car of the train, where air time is experienced most significantly. She fell 60-80 feet. Paramedics responded to her immediately, but they were unable to save her. They say she died instantly.

    It is not yet known how the victim got ejected from her seat.

    "All I know is that she was in the car when it left the station and was not in it when the car returned," says park spokeswoman Paula Werne.

    The Raven, a wooden roller coaster manufactured by Custom Coasters International, opened in 1995.

    The fatality is the first for the 57-year-old park.

    The park voluntarily shut down the Raven, as well as the Legend, the park's other roller coaster. The rides will remain closed until inspectors complete an investigation later this week.

    In response to the tragedy, the park issued the following statement:

    It is with great sorrow that we inform you there was a fatality at Holiday World on Saturday, May 31. A female guest visiting from the East Coast was involved in an accident at The Raven roller coaster shortly before the park closed to the public for the evening. She was not in her seat when the train returned to the station. A doctor who was a guest at the park, plus the parks' EMTs were on the scene within minutes and performed CPR and other emergency procedures until an ambulance arrived. The woman, whose name has not been released, was transported to the local hospital, where the coroner pronounced her dead.
    The Koch family and everyone at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari are devastated by this tragedy. Our prayers go out to the family.
    The park family will be in mourning on Sunday, June 1, and Holiday World & Splashin' Safari will be closed to the public on that day. A private counseling session will be available to all employees at the park at 1:00 pm Sunday.
    An investigation is underway.
    Sincerely,
    The Koch Family


    Ferris wheel collapses in India; 12 killed

    (Wednesday, May 28, 2003) - At a festival in New Delhi, India, a Ferris wheel collapsed under strong winds and rain, killing 12 people. At least 20 others were injured. The victims were crushed by the ride, which was carrying at least 30 people when it collapsed.

    Police say that the owner of the ride did not have legal permission to operate the ride, and that criminal charges will be filed.


    New ride malfunctions at Six Flags St. Louis

    (Monday, May 26, 2003) - At Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka, Missouri, ride operators were forced to shut down the park's new Xcalibur ride after it malfunctioned. Operators saw that the ride began to spin incorrectly and stopped it while passengers were still aboard. No one was injured.

    The ride, more commonly known as Evolution, was relocated from Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, where it spent much of its time shut down. It was manufactured by Nauta Bussink of Germany.

    Xcalibur features 16 four-passenger cars that flip as the wheel to which they are attached rotates. The wheel itself is attached to a giant arm which rotates vertically, lifting the spinning wheel 360-degrees through the air to a high point of 113 feet.

    A park spokeswoman told reporters that it is common for rides to be stopped and inspected.


    Carnival worker struck by Spider ride, seriously injured

    (Monday, May 26, 2003) - A carnival worker was hospitalized in serious condition after an accident at the Macomb Fair and Expo in Mount Clemens, Michigan. The victim, a 38-year-old Florida man, was injured when the Spider ride he was operating struck him in the head. A witness reported that the operator, an employee of Wade Shows, had walked into the path of the ride's whirling arms to throw his jacket toward a canopy at the center of the ride. When the man backed away to return to his position, one of the ride's whirling cars struck him, splitting his head open and knocking him unconscious.

    "Just a freakish accident," says Wade Shows general manager Brad Cox.


    Two injured in Zipper ride accident

    (Saturday, May 24, 2003) - At the Dubbo Fairgrounds in Dubbo, Australia, two girls were injured when a Zipper ride began to move before the two had boarded it completely. One girl, 16, jumped from the carriage and was struck by another car. She injured her neck, back, shoulders, and arms and was hospitalized for two days. The other girl, 15, clung to the ride as it continued its movement. She became suspended upside down at the top of the ride until ride operators brought her to the ground minutes later. The operator was allegedly loading people into another car while the girl remained suspended.

    The incident is under investigation.


    Carnival worker killed in Louisiana

    (Friday, May 23, 2003) - At the Louisiana State Fairgrounds in Shreveport, Louisiana, a 32-year-old carnival worker was crushed to death as he was working to set up an amusement ride. Employees say that a safety pin was apparently missing from a hydraulic support arm, causing a steel plate to fall upon the victim and pin him face down. Several people rushed to the man in an attempt to free him, but were unable to lift the ride. Firefighters arrived at the scene 15 minutes later, and used a hydraulic press to lift the metal plate from the victim, who had already died.

    The ride, a Trabant, is owned and operated by Funland RBS of Arkansas.


    National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act introduced to Congress

    (Thursday, May 22, 2003) - Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) has once again introduced ride safety legislation in the U.S. Congress which would restore jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) over amusement park rides. The bill would close a loophole in the Consumer Product Safety Act that prevents investigations of accidents in theme parks by federal safety experts, prevents safety upgrades by the CPSC, and prevents the adoption of a national clearinghouse of safety information that could potentially save lives.

    Theme park rides had been subject to federal safety regulation by the CPSC prior to 1981, when the amusement park industry succeeded in carving out a special-interest political exemption in the law -- the so-called "Roller Coaster Loophole."

    "Every other consumer product affecting interstate commerce -- a bicycle or a baby carriage, for example -- endures CPSC oversight," Markey noted.

    "But the theme park industry acts as if its commercial success depends on remaining exempt from reasonable safety regulation. As a result, when a child is injured on a defective bicycle, the CPSC can prevent similar accidents by ensuring that the defect is repaired. If that same child has an accident on a faulty roller coaster, no CPSC investigation is allowed. That's just plain wrong. Fifty-five fatalities have occurred on amusement park rides in the last 15 years, and over two-thirds occur on 'fixed-site' rides in our theme parks."

    The industry has fought against safety oversight, claiming that it is safer than other industries. But Markey, relying on the National Safety Council's method of comparing fatality rates per mile across industries, found that the number of fatalities per passenger mile on roller coasters is actually higher than on passenger trains, passenger buses, and passenger planes. Moreover, CPSC data indicates that amusement park injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms rose 96 percent since 1996.

    "The industry has a good safety record," said Markey, "but not a remarkable one. Many family tragedies can be prevented if this industry would simply accept the same level of safety oversight as the rest of America."

    Markey's bill is supported by the nation's leading consumer-protection advocates, including Consumer's Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, Saferparks.org, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The American Academy of Pediatrics also expressed its support for the measure, saying, "a first step to prevention of these injuries is adopting stronger safety regulations that allow for better inspection and oversight of the fixed-rides."

    Nine of Markey's colleagues are co-sponsoring the legislation: Representatives George Miller (D-CA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Barney Frank (D-MA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Richard Neal (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and John Tierney (D-MA).

    CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORIES


    Girl, 11, dies after roller coaster ride

    (Saturday, May 3, 2003) - At Six Flags Great America theme park in Gurnee, Illinois, an 11-year-old girl died shortly after her ride on the park's Raging Bull roller coaster. Witnesses say it was obvious that the girl was having trouble early into the ride, and that when the ride ended, she complained that she didn't feel well, and was unable to breathe. She finally collapsed and was unresponsive when rescue workers arrived at the ride. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.

    Investigators concluded that the victim choked on a piece of gum or candy, and that the ride was not a factor in her death.

    The park closed the ride after the incident, but reopened it three hours later after state inspectors deemed it safe.

    The fatality was the park's first since it opened in 1976.

    According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least one other amusement ride fatality has resulted from similar circumstances. On September 9, 1988, an 8-year-old girl suffocated to death after a piece of chewing gum became lodged in her throat while she was riding an amusement ride in Westchester County, New York.

    A spokeswoman for Great America called the incident "a tragedy."

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

    In response to the incident, Representative Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts who is introducing a bill in Congress that would mandate federal oversight and regulation of amusement park rides, said that "the safety community needs to work harder and harder to keep up with how riders are getting hurt and how accidents can be prevented."

    Jim Barber, spokesman for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials told reporters, "If you follow the rules that are posted and you follow the rules of the operators, you'll not only have a great time but you'll have a safe time."

    Unfortunately, statistics show that Barber's statement does not hold true in all cases. While the majority of amusement ride accidents can be blamed on riders' misconduct, a significant number of amusement ride accidents -- including fatal ones -- are caused by equipment failure or operator error.


    Ride malfunction leaves 12 sick at Tennessee carnival

    (Friday, April 18, 2003) - At a carnival in Knoxville, Tennessee, an amusement ride failed to stop for 10 minutes, leaving 12 people sick. The ride, called Zendar, is similar to the more commonly known Round Up. Initial attempts to stop the ride failed as it continued at full speed, tilted in midair. No one was seriously injured.

    The Zendar is owned and operated by Wade Shows. A manager from the company says that the incident was the result of an electrical malfunction.

    The state of Tennessee does not inspect or regulate amusement rides.


    Tornado ride collapses at carnival; 4 injured

    (Friday, March 29, 2003) - At the Lehigh Spring Fest in Lehigh Acres, Florida, a Tornado ride collapsed, injuring 4 children. The Tornado features eight spinning 4-person gondolas which rotate about a central column. Witnesses say that one of the gondolas clipped the ground, causing the central column to break off its axis.

    The children's injuries were "seat belt-type" injuries, and none appeared to be serious.

    The Tornado is owned and operated by Midwest Midways.

    Inspectors and other officials are investigating.


    Evolution ride collapses at carnival; 3 injured

    (Saturday, March 15, 2003) - An Evolution ride carrying 14 riders collapsed at a carnival in Jacksonville, Florida. Three riders were treated at hospitals for minor injuries.

    A state ride inspector says that he found no problems with the ride when he inspected it on Friday afternoon.

    The carnival has been shut down pending more inspections.


    Worker struck by roller coaster, killed

    (Saturday, March 1, 2003) - At Jeepers restaurant and game room at the Wonderland Mall in Livonia, Michigan, a 43-year-old man was struck by a roller coaster car and killed. The man, an assistant manager of the restaurant, was working on the ride at the time of the accident. Investigators say that he was standing on the ride's rails when he was struck from behind, and that he probably died instantly.


    Park guilty in roller coaster death

    (Wednesday, February 19, 2003) - The owner of Rotunda Amusement Park of Kent, England, has been found guilty of negligence in the 1999 death of an 8-year-old girl who fell from one of the park's roller coasters. Under section 3 of the of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, the jury found that the park's operator, Dreamland Leisure, "failed to ensure so far as reasonably practicable that passengers were properly contained in the ride between August 15, 1999 and September 11, 1999."

    The girl was riding the Mini-Dragon roller coaster on September 11, 1999. During her third ride, the girl fell out of her car and struck her head on a steel support during her fall. She died a day later.

    A judge fined the company $40,000 and ordered it to pay more than $200,000 to the victim's mother.

    The park denied any responsibility.


    Seven killed, 45 injured in chairlift collapse

    (Sunday, January 19, 2003) - In Pavagadh, India, seven people were killed and 45 others were injured when a chairlift ride partially collapsed. Investigators say that a drive pulley got displaced near the third support tower, causing the cable to separate from the pulley and snap. Two cars fell 150 feet and crashed to the ground. Three cars slid down the cable and hit a support tower, knocking at least three passengers to the ground. One of the cars that hit the tower crashed to the ground about an hour later.

    More than 100 people were left stranded on the ride for up to 8 hours as rescue workers used ladders and military helicopters to free them.

    The chairlift, used to carry pilgrims to a temple at the top of the mountain, is 14 years old.

    The state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident.


    Two children killed, four injured in swing boat collapse

    (Tuesday, January 7, 2003) - At the Baku State Circus in Baku, Azerbaijan, two children were killed and four others were seriously injured when a metal amusement ride cabin fell 50 feet and crashed to the ground. Investigators say that a cable broke, causing the accident.

    The circus' commercial director and two circus employees have been arrested, and the Azerbaijani prosecutor's office has begun criminal proceedings which include charges of murder by negligence and violation of labor protection regulations.


    Chairlift support collapses, 19 injured

    (Friday, January 3, 2003) - At Arthur's Seat National Park on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, nineteen passengers were injured while riding the Arthur's Seat Scenic Chairlift after a support tower failed, partially collapsing the ride. Four people suffered serious injuries including fractures and spinal injuries. Sixty-five other passengers were left stranded in their cars aboard the ride, but none of them was injured. Emergency Service workers used ropes, pulleys, and cherry pickers to rescue the trapped riders.

    The ride operator reports that the safety systems worked effectively, stopping the ride when the support tower collapsed to the ground.

    The ride had operated for 42 years. The owner of the ride says the attraction will be shut down and may never reopen.

    An investigation into the cause of the collapse is underway.


    Arm breaks off Spin Out ride at carnival; four injured

    (Thursday, January 2, 2003) - At the "Fair2000" carnival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, four people who were riding an amusement ride called Spin Out were injured when one of the ride's arms broke off during operation. The victims were riding in the car that was attached to the end of the arm that broke. The car fell 12 feet and crashed onto the ride's platform. Two of the victims suffered serious injuries and the other two were treated for multiple bruises. Twenty-one other passengers were left stranded on the ride for about thirty minutes, but none of them was injured.

    Last June, the same Spin Out ride, which is owned and operated by Amusements of America, malfunctioned at a New Jersey carnival, trapping riders in the air for nearly 90 minutes. None of those riders was seriously injured.

    The ride was manufactured by Tivoli of Canterbury, England.

    Last August, two men were injured while riding another Tivoli ride called the Re-Mix when their seat flew off the ride and hurled them 15 feet through the air. The men ultimately landed face-first on the ground but escaped serious injury. That accident was blamed on a welding break.

    RELATED STORIES:

  • Ride malfunctions at New Jersey carnival; several injured (6/12/02)
  • Seat flies off ride at Ohio State Fair; 2 injured (8/15/02)
  • Re-Mix accident blamed on design flaw (10/9/02)


    One killed, six injured in train ride accident

    (Thursday, January 2, 2003) - One woman was killed and six people were injured in an accident involving a train ride at an amusement park in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The accident happened when the last of the train's cars separated from the others. The train was carrying passengers for the first time. A park worker said that it had been adequately tested.

    The park has been shut down.

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