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.
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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.
There’s been no mention of reattachment, which leads me to think there’s not enough left to even try.
Trust they don’t snap, but also know that if they do the emergency brakes will immediately engage..... And yes, there is a small chance that this won’t happen, or they won’t work, or something else....
There is always a risk in life.
This is a tragic accident, but to portray it as something inately risky or evil with amusement parks is insane.
Couple of years ago I went to Kings Dominion just outside of Richmond VA and 1/4 to 1/3 of the rides were shut down, the park was a mess. The year before that I went to the Six Flags outside DC and quite a few of the rides were out of service.
Don't know if they are owned by the same company, but I would never recommend any of them. Hershey Park and Busch Gardens always seem to be in tip-top shape.
She was in surgery immediately following the accident and her legs where sent with her to the hospital. No other information has been released about the girl.. the type of surgery, her condition etc.... citing patient privacy the hospital has released to my knowledge no other information.
I don’t pay to ride an elevator for fun. Elevators are not intended to “thrill” you.
After the elevator messed up in my building while I was in it, I used the steps a lot more.
Where was that ride built? Was it USA or China?
I was at a minor league ballgame this week and a boy won
some tickets to a Six Flags as part of a between innings contest. A woman in my row was heard to laugh, “Ah, so he
can get his legs cut off...”
Perceived danger, not real danger.
I wouldn’t ride these things no more. The Tilt-a-Whirl is a good way to get a detached retina. I might go on The Swan again if I had the chance. That was my first ride. A huge wooden boat shaped like a swan that went around slowly in a circle.
Were her legs chopped off or just her feet?
My wife and I were at the local fair a while back and thought about getting on the Ferris wheel. Got up close and saw that the entire cage was fiberglass. You could see the whitening of the stress areas where it attached to the wheel. It changed our minds really quick.
Reports I heard were amputated below the knee. Cable wrapped around her legs.
If they could find the pack of stray dogs that carried them off.
You could well be safer riding ON the ride than doing something else instead of attending the park.
No. I’m not splitting hairs. I understood that this is a ride where the passengers are dropped a long distance—hence the use of a cables which might snap. That seems a bit different from a rollercoaster. I could be wrong. At any rate, there’s no need to make an accusation like that.
It wasn’t a roller coaster, it was a “ride” where they drop you. The most scared I have ever been on a “ride” was at Knotts Berry Farm and it was the same kind of ride, where it takes you up really high then drops you fast. I was so scared, not my brain, but my heart. It was pounding, adrenaline was pumping. I was laughing and saying I am not really scared, I am just shaky, because I know it is SAFE. Turns out I was wrong, it wasn’t safe, it was the same kind of ride that this young girl was injure on. Scary stuff.
They couldn't find nobody better.
Don’t give me that crap about kneejerking and being responsible. I guess it’s easy to say that when it has no direct on you. But what if this had happened to a friend or family member of yours? Would you still be talking about your statistics then.
This was a 13 year old girl who got on an amusement ride, like many other 13 year old girls do. And now her life is ruined because somebody didn’t do their job.
If the pic in #29 is the ride, then they can classify it any way they want. That’s not what I call a rollercoaster, and that’s not what I expect to ride when I’m looking for a rollercoaster.
From the article: Intamin, a Swiss company, made all the rides that were closed by both companies...
I wouldn’t call it a roller coaster either but I also wouldn’t cynically correct someone who did.
I agree with YOU 100%! That is why we rarely go to amusement parks now. Disneyland is still OK but so crowded. The Six Flags parks do not do enough maintainance on their rides. They had one I think it was called the Batman Ride at Houston Astroworld (now defunct) where you had to remove earrings. Because the ride banged your head/ears into the sides of the headrest so hard that earrings would hurt you. It was a great ride when new, but instead of replacing the foam that surrounded the head/ears - they just made you take off earrings. They just didn’t do the maintainance and the rides got bumpier and even painful. The good old wooden rollercoaster was good though. They are supposed to be bumpy.
At Disneyworld last year we rode the ride that two people have died on. It simulates a landing on Mars. I swear if it had lasted one more second my chest would have exploded. It was too real.