Last week’s theme park accident at the Ohio State Fair reminds us again of how powerful, thrilling, but at the same time scary rides may be. One man died and 7 others were severely injured as one of the carriages of a ride called the Fireball went loose. A video from a bystander captured the exact horrific moment as people were seen flung in the air.
— JU (@obey_jbell) July 27, 2017
Times like these we are reminded by the uncertainty of life, we can never predict our futures. One minute you may be having the time of your life with your friends and family, the next you’re dead. But in going to amusement parks, the knowledge that one of the rides might malfunction is a hazard that all thrill seekers face. In a study by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, there’s a 1 in 16 million chance of dying from a ride in the United States. Also according to the website, the chance of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 775,000 which makes going on rides look safe.
And after knowing these accidents, freak or human error, (and watching that one Final Destination movie) I think I would stay away from rides for a while.
For theme parks, all’s fun and games until somebody ends up dead. Here are 8 times amusement park rides claimed the lives of people.
1. Wild River Ride, Star City Philippines
September 2006 was a grim time for Star City, one of the well-known theme parks in the Philippines. A week before their supposedly exciting and loud Christmas season opening, a 13-year-old girl plummeted 38 feet to her death while on the famous Wild River Ride. She was reported to have felt dizzy and stood up as the log boat she was on was about to fall. She fell on the metal railing and suffered broken ribs and legs, and injuries on her neck. People brought her to the nearest hospital but by then it was too late.
2. Superman Tower of Power, Six Flags Kentucky
A 13-year-old girl’s life changed after getting on the Superman Tower of Power in Six Flags Kentucky. The ride, a huge drop tower, was designed to lift people 170 feet and drop them up to a speed of 54 mph. About 45 feet into ascending the ride, witnesses say that they saw some cables snapping loose and whipping about and heard the ones on the ride screaming at the operators for it to stop. The ride did not stop and one of the cables that got wrapped around the teenager’s feet tightened, severing both her feet at the ankles. She was brought to the hospital immediately and received treatment. The doctors were able to reattach her right foot but her left foot was too damaged causing her to have prosthetics.
3. Fujin Raijin II, Expoland Japan
One woman was killed and 19 others were injured in the Fujin Raijin II accident at Expoland. The Fujin Raijin II, a six-car rollercoaster, got derailed after the axle on the wheel of the second car broke. It went on running for 300 meters more, tipping the second car to the left along the way. 19-year-old Yoshino Kogawara who was sitting at the left side of the car hit her head on the guardrail and died instantly.
After police investigation, it was revealed that the theme park has neglected to check the axles regularly and hasn’t replaced them in 15 years.
4. The Big Dipper, Battersea Fun Fair England
Like any other accident on theme parks, it started out as an exciting day at Battersea Fun Fair, until it wasn’t. In 1972, what happened to the ride The Big Dipper was considered the worst rollercoaster disaster in history, five children were crushed to their deaths and 13 were severely injured. The Big Dipper is a wooden rollercoaster ride that was very popular during that time. 30 people were on the ride when the first of the three carriages, upon reaching a high point, suddenly detached from the haulage wire pulling it. With the anti-rollback mechanism having also failed, it started careening backwards at full speed into the other cars until the children on the last car were hit and the impact crushed them.
5. Smiler, Alton Towers England
The passengers on the Smiler rollercoaster suffered severe injuries with the two teenagers in the front row losing a leg each. The operators made a lot of mistakes that day and the accident was caused by human error.
There was a gale force wind that was blowing that day and although other rides have been stopped because of it, and the Smiler’s manual clearly stated it should not operate on strong winds, the ride still continued. But the worst part was the operators were also not aware that a test carriage was left earlier in the middle of the tracks. The ride’s computer system warned them that the track ahead was occupied, but thinking it was just a faulty warning, the operators overrode the warning and started the ride.
The carriage full of people crashed with the empty test carriage with a loud clash. It was approximately 20 minutes later before 999 emergency services received a call regarding the accident. The people on the front row sustained injuries such as shattered knees, punctured lungs, and amputated legs.
6. Scream, Zhejiang Pingyang Amusement Park China
2 people fell to their deaths and 3 others were injured at the amusement park in China. It was after an operator started the ride while the passengers have yet to buckle their seatbelts. The people were plunged more than 65 feet from the ride. The amusement park had just opened that day and one of the most popular rides was the Scream, a ride that features two gondolas on either end of a large arm.
7. Haunted Castle, Six Flags Great Adventure
Haunted Castle at Six Flags was burnt beyond recognition on the eve of May 11, 1948. Haunted Castle consisted of 16 trailer trucks connected by plywood creating a maze of passageways. The fire was believed to have been started by a boy trying to find his way through the maze with the help of a lighter. When he ran into foam padding, he accidentally set it on fire and allegedly went on without warning anyone. At first, the visitors thought it was a particularly real-looking effect of the attraction until the fire spread and the smoke became too thick.
The fire brigade was notified and they immediately responded but couldn’t go in because of the thick smoke. According to news, 8 teenagers were found dead due to smoke inhalation and 7 injured were found on the same corridor.
8. Disco Dancer, Chennai India
The Disco Dancer at a fairground in India claimed the life of a 25-year-old. The accident occurred during the night the ride was on a trial run. Everyone on the ride was either a worker or was invited by management to test it and most of the people onboard claimed that they were forced to ride it. After two rounds, the people described they were hearing some sort of noise and then the whole ride derailed and fell to the side about 15 feet.
The owner and the manager has been arrested due to the incident.
Are you still brave enough to go on rides? Tell us in the comments below!