Friday, July 1, 2016

11 Life-Ruining Roller Coaster Accidents

Each year, about 300 million people will take about 1.7 billion rides on American roller coasters. Considering there are only about 400 amusement parks to go around between them, that means the fast and furious thrill is such a popular draw that people will come from far and wide looking for their fix.

In the same period of time, park owners can expect about 1,415 injuries to take place. In a vacuum, that number sounds a little scary. Yet, when you compare that to how many rides are going on uneventfully, it's not surprising that those in the industry hold to the belief that these rides are safe and accidents are rare. 

Rare as they are, they do happen. Despite all the safety checks and features major amusement parks will put in place on their rides, the unthinkable will happen and terror will sometimes unleash. When news of an accident leads people to imagine the worst, it's usually a freak mechanical failure that comes to mind. While there are certainly examples of those on this list, remember that these speedy rides are still operated, overseen and ridden by humans. No matter how hard they try or how careful they are, humans can still make mistakes.

Keep this fact in mind as we look through these 11 tragic accidents. Remember also that each one created a shockwave in the industry with ride-builders across the world working to prevent them from happening again. So if you love roller coasters, please don't let this list deter you.

COMMENT and let us know what theme park mishaps you've witnessed.

1. Mindbender, West Edmonton Mall, 1986.

This ride in Canada's famous "supermall" still operates today, but it had to go through a major redesign after this incident. When the coaster's rear car came off the track during a loop, three people were thrown against a support pole before falling to their deaths.

The ride has been accident-free ever since.

2. Super Himalaya, Coney Island, 1999.

Sadly, 17-year-old Nadine Caban chose this ride because she thought it was safe. On that day, however, a coupling hook snapped between cars, which caused Caban's car to flip over and pin her to the track. She did not survive.

3. Batman, Six Flags Over Georgia, 2008.

While enjoying this ride, a South Carolina teen lost his hat. Apparently ignoring the warning signs posted, he later scaled two six-foot-high fences to try and retrieve it.

Nobody operating the ride was aware of his presence, so it kept going at about 50 miles per hour before colliding with the teen and decapitating him.

4. The Big Dipper, Battersea Park, 1972.

This wooden roller coaster was once the most exciting ride in London, but that changed one fateful day when the drive trains holding the cars to the track disconnected. The ride then suddenly shifted backwards on a tight turn and the last car derailed, killing five children.

5. Superman Tower of Power, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park, 2007.

While riding the vertical "freefall" attraction, a then-13-year-old Kaitlyn Lasitter lost her feet after a cable snapped and wrapped around her ankles. Her family sued the park and a judge ordered for the ride to be dismantled.

6. The Smiler, Alton Towers, 2015.

Bizarrely, staff at the park reportedly overrode a safety feature stopping the ride from going, which caused the lead car to collide with an empty car left on the track. The resulting crash injured 16 people, with two of them requiring leg amputations.

7. Fujin Raijin II, Expoland, 2007.

This Japanese roller coaster derailed into a guardrail when a wheel axle broke on one of the cars. One passenger died after her head collided with the guardrail and 19 others were injured before the broken car finally skidded to a halt.

8. Puff The Little Fire Dragon, Lagoon Amusement Park, 1989.

Nobody expected anything to go wrong on such a low-speed roller coaster, but one little boy was halfway out of one of the cars when he thought the ride was over. The ride operator reportedly asked if they wanted to go again, but started the ride before 6-year-old Ryan Beckstead could get back in.

Beckstead lost his balance and fell between the tracks. Before the operator realized what had happened, Beckstead tried to climb back up and was fatally struck by the lead car.

9. Space Journey, Overseas Chinese Town East, 2010.

This Chinese space shuttle simulator suddenly plummeted to the ground from 50 feet up, killing six people and injuring ten others. Initial reports blamed a loss of power or an explosion for the incident, but it seems like some decoupled screws really caused the trouble.

10. Superman Ride of Steel, Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, 2011

Three years before riding the roller coaster, Sgt. James Thomas Hackemer lost his legs while serving in Iraq. Hackemer had prosthetic legs but wasn't wearing them at the time and slipped out of his restraints before falling to his death.

11. Wild Wonder, Gillian's Wonderland Pier, 1999.

Right at this steep roller coaster's highest point, a drag chain released before it was supposed to and sent the cars hurtling backward. The roller coaster had an anti-rollback device, but this failed as well, and the extreme force threw a woman and her eight-year-old daughter out of the ride to their deaths.

The ride was permanently closed soon after the incident.

Don't forget to COMMENT and tell us what amusement park incidents you've experienced.


Author: verified_user