A roller-coaster at Six Flags in New Jersey malfunctioned Saturday, leaving 14 people injured. Two of the riders were in critical condition, and most suffered head, neck, back and spine injuries, according to one of the officials. The accident occurred on the Kingda Ka ride, which reaches speeds of 128 miles per hour during its 4-minute journey up and down its 19-story tracks. It was closed for about two hours following the accident, which occurred around 5 p.m., officials said.
Six Flags responded to the incident, by closing the coaster for repair. No cause has been determined, but what does seem apparent is that this was a mechanical error, as opposed to human error. The risk of such incidents can be minimized by routine maintenance and inspections. Safety rails should also be inspected annually. In this case, the safety harnesses released the passengers from the ride prematurely before it had come to a stop. With trains traveling faster than 90 miles per hour, even small incidents can have serious consequences for both riders and workers who maintain these coasters.
While a spokesperson for the amusement park is unsure what caused the breakdown, they did state that this type of thing has not happened in their experience. The ride is inspected every night before we open and then there’s additional inspections by each shift, said Six Flags spokeswoman Kristin Siebeneicher. Injuries sustained were broken bones and other bumps and bruises that are not life threatening.
One of the victims said, I never imagined anything like this happening because I always feel safe on those rides.
More than three hours after the incident occurred, it was confirmed that all customers had been removed from the ride safely with no more injuries reported.
This past Saturday, a roller coaster at Six Flags amusement park in New Jersey began to climb the first peak, but stalled and became stuck midway up. The park immediately shut down the ride while rescue teams attempted to free passengers. The derailment left 14 people injured from being thrown from their seats or from hitting objects around them. One person’s injuries were so severe that they had to be transported to a nearby hospital by helicopter for treatment. After a 40 minute shutdown, the park allowed others waiting in line for the ride to go ahead and enjoy it with no further incidents.
According to the National Safety Council, amusement ride injuries cost people more than $1 billion per year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an average of four children are killed on amusement rides every year. Moreover, 30% of all nonfatal amusement ride injuries take place at smaller attractions such as fairs and carnivals where these injuries are more likely to go unreported or treated. It is important to remember that while accidents may be infrequent, they still occur often enough for safety precautions to be a top priority.
How did this happen?
The height of the ride makes the potential for malfunction that much more deadly, given that the rider is dangling in an uncomfortable position for a prolonged period of time. When building a tall amusement park ride, engineers must factor in a possible number of variables and problems associated with such a contraption. If a mechanic neglected to tighten an essential bolt, it could have led to this series of unfortunate events.
Having this realization may cause future amusement parks builders to pay closer attention to detail while constructing their creations and making sure they think out all scenarios when designing rides.
Three rides every parent should know about before going to an amusement park with kids
The three rides parents should be most aware of when going to an amusement park with their kids are the roller coaster, log flume, and the ferris wheel. The roller coaster is considered one of the scariest but also one of the most popular rides in any amusement park. Log flumes have a downward drop that can make anyone feel a little sick, and some even come complete with water jets for added excitement. And finally, many don’t even know that there is a minimum height requirement on the ferris wheel which could leave you stuck halfway up with no way to get down until you figure out how to get someone up top to release your car.