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Maintenance to Blame in Disney Crash
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- A crash on a Disneyland ride that killed one passenger and injured 10 was caused by incorrect maintenance, company officials said.
Authorities have said the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's locomotive lost the assembly that carries the rear wheels Sept. 5, causing it to strike a tunnel roof. The first car of the roller coaster then ran under the locomotive, killing Marcelo Torres, 22.
"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," Leslie Goodman, senior vice president of strategic communications for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said Tuesday.
"At no time have we ever done anything which we believe would compromise the level of safety required for the safe operation of our attractions," Goodman added.
Park officials declined to comment further until a report from the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health is released. According to a police report released last month, Disneyland mechanics had performed routine maintenance on the ride the morning of the crash.
Attorney Wylie Aitken, who represents Torres' family, believes a failure to tighten bolts on a wheel that holds the train to the tracks was to blame.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Astroworld Ride Injures Passengers
Wooden Boards Fall From Cyclone Coaster
POSTED: 10:03 a.m. CDT October 24, 2003
HOUSTON -- Officials at Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston are trying to determine what caused several people to get hurt on a roller coaster.
News2Houston reported that the injuries were apparently caused by one or more falling boards on the wooden Texas Cyclone.
Six Flags AstroWorld spokesman Daryl Freedman said Sunday night's freak accident is under investigation.
The ride will be closed until the roller coaster is again deemed safe.
Freedman said officials aren't exactly sure what may have caused at least one board to come loose.
Rider Matt Brown was with his girlfriend. Brown said one of the 12-by-2-by-6-inch boards fell directly down the middle of the train, hitting several people on the way down.
Freedman said seven passengers were injured during their ride. The two operators running the ride at the time shut the coaster down after a second train of passengers reported fallen boards.
Three passengers were transported by the Houston fire Department to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Six Flags Astroworld is only open on weekends this time of year.
Police Investigate Amusement Park Break In
POSTED: 12:17 p.m. EDT September 22, 2003
State police at Carlisle are investigating a break in at the Williams Grove Amusement Park in Cumberland County.
Troopers said someone kicked in the rear door of the park office and went through the files.
A door to a concession stand was also opened and an electric meter was removed.
Dorney Park's Hercules Laid to
Steel Coaster to Replace it in 2005
September 4th, 2003
Article by: Tony Rossi, www.rollercoasterworld.com
Allentown, PA - Dorney
Park has announced plans to dismantle the park's Hercules wooden
roller coaster to make way for a new steel coaster attraction in
2005. The park cites decreased popularity and millions spent
in upkeep, for the change.
The new ride, a B&M Floorless coaster, will cost nearly $13
million. Built by the same company as the park's Talon roller coaster, the new ride will feature super quiet operation much like
Talon. The ride's support columns and track will be filled
with sand to dampen vibrations and noise from surrounding homes and
Hercules has been plagued for years by original design flaws and several changes that have resulted in a less than
spectacular ride. Because of the speed and forces on much of
the lower section of the ride, the track has become extremely rough
which results in less re-rides by park patrons. It is also a
rare occurrence for a park to remove a standing and operating wooden
coaster. Dorney has noted that Hercules will be
dismantled. Hopefully this means not destroyed.
Could we possibly see Hercules reborn in another park?
Overall, the news was a shock to most of the roller coaster
community. Hercules closed for good on Labor Day and the
dismantling project is already in action. -RCW
See the Morning
Call's Article for additional information.
Outage Shuts Down Six Flags
Aug 23, 2003 10:35 pm
Largo, MD (WJZ)
There are more troubles
at Six Flags amusement park in Largo, Prince George's County. The
park closed Saturday evening after a power outage shut down all of
the parks' rides. BGE officials say the source of the outage came
from outside the park and are working to correct the problem. park
goers were given free passes for another day. Some park-goers say
people were stuck on rides during the
outage, but park officials wouldn't confirm this claim. Just last
month six flags had to close one of its roller coasters for several
weeks after the ride left passengers dangling nearly fifty feet
above ground for more than an hour.
Editor's Note: Roller
Coaster World staff was at the park during the outage. Food
stands, shows and games continued to operate, but no rides were
functional. Outage occurred at 5:45pm. Visitors flooded
guest relations to file complaints which created near-riot
conditions. Earlier in the day, Two Face Roller Coaster was
evacuated when the train got stuck in a valley. Stranded
riders were offered VIP passes (allows you to jump to front of any
line). Also, Wild One stranded riders on the lift hill just
before the outage. There were no announcements to the general
public and guests wandered around the park aimlessly. News
helicopters hovered over the park. We've never heard an
amusement park so quiet before!
Woman killed by ride at Six Flags
Friday, July 11, 2003 Posted: 9:23 AM EDT (1323 GMT)
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- A woman standing near an amusement park ride was hit by at least one of the ride's cars and killed at Six Flags New Orleans.
The cars were about three feet off the ground at the time, park spokeswoman Ann Wills said. She said it wasn't clear how Rosa Donaldson got so close to the ride Wednesday night.
"There are gates that close off the area for safety reasons," Wills said.
Donaldson, 52, was taken to Lakeland Medical Center where she died of internal injuries from a crushed pelvis, the coroner's office said.
Donaldson's sister, Dianne Bowens, said she was told Donaldson was fastening her 4-year-old grandson into the ride, called Joker's Jukebox. The ride, with spinning cars set on arms that move, started, and Donaldson was hit in the head by one car and then struck again, she said.
New Orleans police, the state Fire Marshal's office and Six Flag officials are investigating her death.
Amusement Ride Accident at
July 1, 2003 - Mechanicsburg, PA
On Tuesday, state investigators will test the amusement park ride that injured a woman at Williams Grove this weekend. Thirty-one year-old Sherry Minium says she was thrown under the safety bar of the ride called the "Airborne," and was caught by her neck.
The Department of Agriculture is investigating, and has closed the ride until further notice. It says the ride has a clean history, and was just inspected last week. Donna Pinkham/Department of Agriculture, "Well the guys went out on Wednesday and looked at this ride and checked the safety bars and found they were all operating accordingly so they didn't find anything on Wednesday that would raise flags in regard to this ride."
Minium was released from the hospital yesterday, but is still recovering from neck injuries. We asked the owner of Williams Grove for his side of the story. He told us, "I wouldn't give you my side of the story if you dropped dead." And "at this stage of the game, I'm not gonna take -insert expletive here-**** from you or from anyone else."
Copyright 2003 WHTM, Inc.
Six People Injured On Hersheypark Ride
June 30, 2003
Six people were taken to Hershey Medical Center after they were injured at Hersheypark Saturday.
According to a representative for Hersheypark, the six were aboard the Tidal Force water ride when it did not slow down as much as usual. The ride didn't slow as much as it should because of a low water level, according to News 8.
The ride ended up hitting a protective guardrail, and jostling the 19 people on board.
The six who went to the hospital were treated and then returned to the park.
The ride was closed for the day as a safety precaution.
Copyright 2003 by TheWGALChannel.com.
Man falls from new ride at Knoebel's Amusement Resort
Friday June 13th
Tense moments at Knoebel's Amusement Resort Friday afternoon after a man fell from the park's newest ride. It happened around 2:30. The man was riding the Scenic Skyway, a chair-lift that takes visitors into the park. The lift is similar to one found at ski resorts.
Officials at Knoebel's explain the man boarded the Scenic Skyway without any problems. But a short time later, he fell thirty feet to the ground. He was tended to immediately by Emergency Medical Technicians at Knoebel's, and was then flown by helicopter to Geisinger Medical Center for treatment.
Buddy Knoebel, of Knoebel's, told Newswatch 16 the air lift ride travels about two miles per hour up the mountain that surrounds the park. The ride has only been in operation for a couple weeks, and officials say there is no immediate evidence that it malfunctioned.
There is a safety bar on each car of the lift that flips down over the passengers. There is also a bar that is used as a foot rest, that helps keep the safety bar in place. When Buddy Knoebel explained the safety feature to Newswatch 16, he said there is no way the bar would flip up on its own.
Inspectors were on scene this afternoon and said it could be weeks until a written report is complete.
Newswatch 16 could not confirm the name or condition of the man who fell, but we are told he was at the park with a group from Selinsgrove Center. That's a home for mentally challenged people in Snyder County. We are also told he was riding in the car by himself when he fell.
WNEP-TV Newswatch 16
Inspectors Find No Problems With
Holiday World Roller Coaster
(SANTA CLAUS, Ind., June 2nd, 2003, 6 p.m.) --
State inspectors have found nothing wrong with a wooden roller
coaster in southern Indiana from which a woman fell from her seat
and died over the weekend.
"Our inspection discovered no mechanical problems,"
Alden Taylor, spokesman for the state Department of Fire and
Building Services, said Monday.
Tamar Fellner, 32, of New York City, fell Saturday night from The
Raven at Holiday World amusement park in Santa Claus, about 40 miles
east of Evansville.
Investigators have disclosed only that Fellner fell from the ride
and classified her death as an accident, according to the Spencer
County Sheriff's Department.
Inspectors on Sunday checked the seat belt and bar restraint
where Fellner had been sitting and found everything working
properly, Taylor said.
The Raven and another roller coaster, called The Legend, were to
undergo a complete inspection on Monday as a precaution. Taylor said
the agency was working with local police to investigate the death.
He said an inspection of The Raven in April found that a grease
fitting on one of the cars needed to be replaced, which he described
as a minor problem.
That problem was not related to Fellner's death, he said.
"It had nothing to do with this and had nothing to do with the
safety of the ride," Taylor said.
State records indicate the park has not had any serious accidents
since at least 1988. "The park has an excellent safely
record," Taylor said. "They are very concerned about their
William Koch, the president of the amusement park, said that the
six-car train had 20 people aboard when it left the station and that
all were strapped in with a seat belt and bar restraint.
He said Monday he did not know how Fellner fell, but that in the
past some of the coaster enthusiasts have done "some things
some of us wouldn't try to do."
"The enthusiasts stretch things to do what they can,"
Sean Flaharty, spokesman for American Coaster Enthusiasts, to
which Fellner belonged, was at the amusement park about 40 miles
east of Evansville on Saturday for the park-sponsored "Stark
Raven Mad" event.
Flaharty said the club emphasizes safety, and that Fellner had
not unnecessarily put herself at risk.
"It's like a big mystery right now," Flaharty said of
her death. "Nobody knows for sure what happened."
Fellner is the first member of the 25-year-old club to have died
on a roller coaster, Flaharty said.
State inspectors on Sunday checked the seat belt and bar
restraint where Fellner had been sitting and found everything
working properly, said Alden Taylor, spokesman for the state
Department of Fire and Building Services.
Fellner fell from the ride while it was in the midst of a loop
that is 69 feet high at its peak, park officials said.
A doctor who was visiting the park and the park's emergency
medical staff arrived within minutes but were unable to revive
Fellner, who was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The park was closed Sunday but reopened Monday. The Raven and The
Legend, however, remained closed.
(Copyright 2003 By The Associated Press. All
Woman Dies in Roller Coaster
Accident at Holiday World
(Santa Claus, IN, Sunday, June 1, 2003, 8:30am)
-- Spencer County authorities are investigating a roller coaster
accident last night at Holiday World that left one woman dead.
Park officials say the woman was in a car on The Raven roller
coaster when it left the station, but wasn't in the car when it
returned to the station.
The incident happened shortly after 8 p-m Saturday night. It
wasn't immediately clear if the woman fell from her seat or jumped
from the ride.
The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced
dead by the county coroner. Her name and age were not immediately
Holiday World is closed today out of respect for the victim.
Officials say this is the first fatality at the southern Indiana
amusement park, located about 40 miles east of Evansville.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All
POINT TO DEBUT WORLD’S TALLEST, FASTEST ROLLER COASTER ON OPENING
DAY OF 2003 SEASON: SUNDAY, MAY 4
“BEST AMUSEMENT PARK IN THE WORLD,” CEDAR POINT ROLLS INTO
ACTION FOR 134TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON
SANDUSKY, Ohio, April 25, 2003 –
If you’re searching for the ultimate thrill, look no more. Cedar
Point, voted the “Best Amusement Park in the World,”
will wow the world when the historic amusement park/resort debuts
Top Thrill Dragster – the tallest and fastest roller coaster on
Earth – on its Opening Day of the 2003 season, Sunday, May 4.
With a skyscraping 420-foot-tall hill
at a 90-degree incline, blazing speeds of 120 mph over 2,800 feet of
track and a twisting drop of 400 feet at a dramatic 90-degree angle,
Top Thrill Dragster is redefining thrill- riding the world over as
the first coaster ever to break the 400-foot-high barrier. This
incredible $25 million “strata-coaster” – termed for its
towering height – is also Cedar Point’s 16th roller coaster,
which is more than any other place on the planet.
Riders begin their wild ride by
launching out of a “starting line” position using a high-tech
hydraulic acceleration system. They then rocket up the 420-foot-tall
hill where the train rotates 90 degrees at the 230-foot height,
crests the peak and then plummets down the 400-foot vertical drop
where the train spirals 270 degrees in a free fall starting at the
330-foot level. After twisting for 115 feet, the train completes the
coaster’s drop, reaches speeds of 120 mph for the second time and
crosses the finish line before returning to the station.
The grand opening of Top Thrill
Dragster will feature The Ohio State University Spring Athletic
Band, making its fourth appearance at Cedar Point. Under the
direction of Assistant Director Jon Waters, the 200-member band will
perform at the park’s main gate plaza (8:45 a.m.) and near the
Iron Dragon (1 p.m.).
Roller coaster enthusiasts can
rejoice in a new season of thrills with the park’s incredible
collection of 16 scream machines, including the No. 1-rated steel
roller coaster in the world, Millennium Force; the venerable Magnum
XL-200; and other fan favorites such as Raptor, Blue Streak, Mantis,
Mean Streak, Gemini and the Jr. Gemini for thrill-seekers in
For those who prefer to keep their
feet on the ground, Cedar Point’s array of award-winning live
entertainment will premiere on Opening Day with Campground Capers in
Camp Snoopy. Seven additional live shows, plus “Snoopy’s Summer
Spectacular” laser, light and sound show will be added to the
entertainment schedule throughout the season.
Cedar Point has plenty of fun in
store for families and kids again in 2003 with rides and attractions
suited especially for them. Camp Snoopy charms guests with the
popular PEANUTS characters such as Snoopy and Charlie Brown; plus
seven family rides, including the centerpiece attraction Woodstock
Express, a rollicking 38-foot-high roller coaster, get two thumbs
up. Kiddy Kingdom and its pint-sized rides also await Cedar
Point’s youngest guests, while the rousing “Snoopy Rocks! On
Ice” returns in the Good Time Theatre.
The park’s wide range of resort
properties will begin welcoming overnighters daily on Friday, May 9
with Lighthouse Point, the Hotel Breakers, Breakers Express and
Camper Village RV campground. Sandcastle Suites Hotel will be open
on Friday and Saturday, May 16-17 and will begin daily operation on
Friday, May 23. Cedar Point’s Radisson Harbour Inn is open
Cedar Point kicks off the 2003 season
on Sunday, May 4 and begins daily operation on Friday, May 9 through
Labor Day, Sept. 1. The park will reopen for Bonus Weekends on Sept.
6, 7, 13, 14 and for HalloWeekends on Friday evenings,
Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, Oct. 3, 4, 5,
10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26.
Closing of Cypress Gardens
For Immediate Release
April 10, 2003
Florida Cypress Gardens announced today its plans to cease normal park operations when the park closes at 7:00pm Sunday, April 13th. This announcement comes from Bill Reynolds, President and CEO.
This painful decision is one which the owners and operators of Florida Cypress Gardens have little to no control over. The circumstances dating back to September 11th, 2001 which brought about an immediate decline in the tourism industry are part of the decision to close. Attendance, the park’s major source of revenue, has never rebounded from this event. Even with the best entertainment offering in its history, the park’s March attendance was down 42,000 visitors from the previous year.”
The ensuing worsening economy, and the effect on those who rely on interest for their income – the majority of Cypress Gardens’ clientele – have also been contributing factors. The threat of terrorism and the Iraq threat and ultimate war have impacted the park’s ability to sustain itself.
This unavoidable action will result in the immediate layoff of essentially the entire staff, although a skeleton crew will remain for a short time to secure the property and wrap up the park’s affairs in an orderly manner.
Reynolds stated that this is purely a financial decision. “It is mandated by our lack of funds to sustain the normal operations. These diminished funds have impacted the company and placed it in this faltering and distressed situation. This distressed situation has been created as previously mentioned by unforeseen factors beyond the control of Cypress Gardens’ management and efforts.”
Reynolds and his ownership team acquired the Cypress Gardens property on April 1, 1995 from the Anheuser Busch theme park division. This sale took place in an effort to better position Cypress Gardens for continued operation. It was believed that a private entrepreneurial ownership would be the best course of action for this small Central Florida attraction. Over the eight years of private ownership, despite imaginative and creative marketing strategies and substantial capital investment in the park, the operations have accumulated losses of over six million dollars.
Financial issues pertaining to creditors and others will be dealt with in accordance with the limited resources available, and in consultation with financial advisors and legal counsel.
Reynolds commented that one reason this decision is so painful is because of the tremendous efforts that have been undertaken by the Cypress Gardens’ employees to provide a wonderful experience for its guests. “I’d like to thank them for all of their dedication and work over the years.”
The park will be open Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am to 7:00pm.
-- end --
Enthusiasts Enjoy A Walk Back On Opening Day
At Paramount's Kings Dominion
305-Foot Drop Zone Stunt Tower Is A Hit!
March 22, 2003
RICHMOND, VA. (March 22, 2003) - Paramount's Kings Dominion officially opened for its 28th season today. About 50 ride enthusiasts joined public relations manager Mark Riddell for a walk back to be first in line at the parks newest attraction, the awesome 305-foot Drop Zone Stunt Tower. The smiling faces and loud cheers after the inaugural drop signaled to park officials that the ride was a hit. Many high-fives and congratulations were exchanged. Thanks to everyone who came out and joined in the fun.
Named after the 1994 Paramount Pictures release, Drop Zone, about a U.S. Marshal (played by Wesley Snipes) on the trail of skydiving criminals, the Drop Zone Stunt Tower gives park guests the opportunity to experience freefall sensations previously reserved for skydivers and Hollywood stunt doubles.
"We're literally taking the thrill of freefall to new heights with our DROP ZONE attraction," said Richard Zimmerman, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Paramount's Kings Dominion. "DROP ZONE will be the tallest free fall experience anywhere in North America." DROP ZONE at Paramount's Kings Dominion snatches the height record previously held by sister park Paramount's King's Island in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Daring riders plunge 272 feet at a rate of 106 feet per second before magnetic brakes engage and stop the ring of 56 seats encircling the tower structure.
DROP ZONE EXPERIENCE PROVES ALTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Brave DROP ZONE riders take their position in one of the 56 seats that encircle the huge tower. With their backs against the 305-ft. tower, riders are perched on a single seat with no cage or metal enclosure surrounding them. Anticipation builds as they face the crowd of on-lookers. Their feet dangle. Suspense mounts as the powerful shoulder harnesses lock into position.
Suddenly, the ascent begins. Riders slowly and smoothly climb toward the sky. As they approach the top of the tower, the upward motion slows. The lift comes to a stop 272 feet above the park. There is a momentary pause as the anxious riders catch their breath, take in the mile-wide panoramic view of central Virginia and peer down at the launch station nearly 300 feet below them. Without a sound or warning, the transport lift disengages from the tower and WHOOSH - the riders drop at 72 miles per hour. While it's over in an instant, it feels like an eternity as riders hold on tight and attempt to scream. Twenty-seven stories down, DROP ZONE's silent magnetic braking system begins to slow the high-speed descent and safely return riders to a smooth landing at the base of the tower.
The Drop Zone Stunt Tower is located in the center of the park on The Grove.