Skip to comments.Six Flags closes more rides after Roller Coaster accident.
Posted on 06/25/2007 12:06:35 PM PDT by John Cena
(CBS/AP) Six Flags and another company shut down eight more thrill rides Friday around the country, including a ride at a North Carolina amusement park, after a teenage girl had her feet chopped off at the ankle on a Superman Tower of Power.
State inspectors, meanwhile, returned to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, where the accident happened, to examine the ride, which lifts passengers 177 feet straight up, then drops them nearly the same distance at speeds reaching 54 mph.
It was unclear at what point during the ride the 13-year-old was injured Thursday, said Wendy Goldberg, a Six Flags spokeswoman. The girl was taken to a hospital. She was not identified and details of her condition were not immediately available Friday.
Chris Williams, who witnessed the event, told CBS affiliate WLKY that riders saw the cable break as it got to the top on the right-hand side.
Treva Smith said it snapped again as the ride descended.
"The people on the ride just came and hit the ground," Smith said.
Next, Williams said he saw the teen maimed.
"As the ride came down, the wire swung left, struck the young lady on the back side of my children," Williams said.
Williams' daughter had traded seats with the 13-year-old, and was sitting on the other side of the ride.
Smith told WLKY she raced to the ride to find members of her group who had been on it.
"When I got up there, the lady, she was just sitting there and she didnt have no legs," Smith said. "She didnt have no legs at all. She was just calm, probably in shock from everything."
Six Flags has shut down similar rides at parks in St. Louis, Gurnee, Ill., and near Washington as a safety precaution, Goldberg said. Six Flags Over Texas, near Dallas, also has a Superman Tower of Power, but it is not the same ride, Goldberg said.
There were no reports of injuries on the ride before Thursday, she said.
"Millions of people have safely ridden this ride in our parks," Goldberg said.
The accident led Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. to shut down and inspect drop tower rides at Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C., and other four of its other amusement parks as a precaution, company spokeswoman Stacy Frole said.
The ride lifts passengers 177 feet straight up, then drops 154 feet, reaching a speed of 54 miles per hour according to the park's Web site. It opened in 1995 and was known then as "the Hellevator," reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Intamin, a Swiss company, made all the rides that were closed by both companies, said Craig Ross, a spokesman for Cedar Fair.
"We're going to keep these things down until we're certain it's safe," Ross said. "We'll wait and see."
An e-mail message sent to Intamin was not immediately returned Friday.
The four other Cedar Fair rides that will be shut down are at Kings Island near Cincinnati; Canada's Wonderland, in Toronto; Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va.; and Great America in Santa Clara, Calif.
© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
I was at Six Flags in Maryland a few years ago as I had a one day temp assignment there. At the end of the day they let me ride a few rides for free. And I'll tell you, I sure wouldn't pay park admission to go there and wait in line all day.
Isn’t danger the whole point of a thrill ride?
Man, it could have just as easily have happened to you or me if we’d gone on that ride.
Treva Smith was the best witness they could find?
I’m assuming the maintenance guys are in a peck of trouble.
That’s why I don’t ride them. Granted, it is probably safer than riding in a car but you are paying to take a risk. That’s why you can’t ride the “safe” mechanical bull without signing a waiver.
You're paying to the appearance of danger. Nobody gets on a ride believing there's a significant risk of injury.
I doubt this one was the girl's fault, but I suspect a lot of others are the rider being a dumb ass. I once saw a guy TRY to get on a roller coaster with an infant. The fact that the attendant had to AGRUE with him make me want to smack him, but not before he would have handed the infant to someone...
Dan Snyder had to cut the expenses somewhere to free up enough money to make such amazing players like adam Archuleta the highest paid players at their positions in the entire NFL(yes, I know that was last year).
No, thrills are the point of a thrill ride. Thrills from doing something that seems dangerious but that shouldn’t involve any real danger, as long as you follow the rules. But, accidents will happen, of course. Sounds like someone probably screwed up on the maintenance and inspection regimen.
Most peoples can’t speak good English no more.
I don’t know. If they haul you up to 150 feet and drop you, you assume a certain amount of risk if the brakes don’t work. It’s simple physics.
We used to have a metal ferris wheel where I worked. When it got stormy looking, you kept the wheel going until you heard thunder. Then you closed it. You just took the risk that the wheel wasn’t one of the first things hit. It took a while to unload everyone.
It's hard to see how a multi-thread wire cable would snap. I know that elevators are built with the highest factor of safety (16:1), whereas planes are built with the lowest factor of safety (1.5:1). I'm assuming the FOS for thrill rides is up there with elevators. (The "factor of safety" means that the structure is built assuming a load of X times the failure load.)
My guess would be that a connector failed, or that there was some failure in maintenance. It's hard to imagine that the design was flawed, but it is possible.
I've ridden a similar ride at Six Flags in Massachusetts. Don't know if I will again. Just tragic.
As an insider he knew just enough about what the idiots would do to make sure they kept the ticket money coming in, and just how dangerous most of the older rides are.
He was fine with the bigger park rides though, Cedar Point and Kings Island was fine, he knew the maintenance was top notch there.
Six Flags does list the Tower of Power as a Roller Coaster on their coaster list. I think you’re splitting hairs.
Are you sure the feet can’t be reattached?
Oops! The factor of safety is defined as, “The ratio between the breaking load on a member, appliance, or hoisting rope and the safe permissible load on it.”
I don't feel that way when you ride an elevator. I kind of trust the cables won't snap, don't you?
This is a ride that is in many amusement parks across the country, with a history of MILLIONS of riders riding safely.
This is a tragedy no doubt, but to bash amusement rides is ignorant.
Statistically you are far far more likely to wind up injured any other number of ways than on a ride, particuarly at a permanent park like this.
There will be an investigation, and the cause will be found. Now whether its a design flaw, or a maintenance issue, or just the fact some insanely freaky situation happened, we won’t know for a while.
Imagine folks reacted like you every time a plane crashes? Time to stop knee jerking and be responsible.