Roller Coaster Fatalities
Amusement Park Fatalities from Roller Coasters
Amusement Park Fatalities Attorney
Lawyer Helping Families of Amusement Park Fatality Victims
In the last ten years, amusement park and roller coaster rides have caused the deaths of many innocent and unexpecting people. Unfortunately, many of the victims are children. The following is a timeline of some amusement park fatalities.
Boy, 3, killed in roller coaster accident
(April 2, 2011) – A 3-year-old boy was killed after falling from a kiddie roller coaster in Norridge, Illinois. The accident happened at an indoor family amusement center called Go Bananas. Early reports indicate that the child may have freed himself from the car’s safety restraint. He somehow became wedged between two cars, and ultimately fell from the ride. He sustained serious head injuries and died at the scene.
Man dead after fall from roller coaster
(March 20, 2011) – At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas, a 46-year-old man fell from a roller coaster and later died. Witnesses said the man fell from the “Hi-Miler” roller coaster as his car made a sharp turn about 30 feet in the air. The man was rushed to a local hospital, where he died.
The man struck a passerby as he fell to the ground; the passerby suffered a broken ankle.
Miniature train derails; 1 killed, 28 injured
(March 19, 2011) – At Cleveland Park in Spartanburg, South Carolina, a miniature train loaded with passengers derailed and overturned, killing a six-year-old boy and injuring 28 others. According to a police report, the 42-year-old operator of the train told one officer: “I was going too f****** fast.”
Boy, 17, drowns at indoor water park
(November 6, 2010) – At the Grand Rios Ramada Hotel and Indoor Water Park in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a 17-year-old boy was pulled from the bottom of a pool at the end of a water slide. He received CPR and was rushed to an area hospital, where he died.
Fall from roller coaster kills woman
(July 11, 2010) – At Dixie Landin’ amusement park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a 21-year-old woman fell from a roller coaster and died an hour later from her injuries.
Boy, 5, dies after fall from inflatable
(March 22, 2010) – At Pure Entertainment amusement facility in Wichita, Kansas, a 4-year-old boy suffered a fatal head injury when he fell from an inflatable attraction and landed on concrete. He was rushed to hospital, where he died within hours.
Boy, 3, drowns at Kalahari Water Park
(August 2, 2009) – A 3-year-old boy drowned in an outdoor children’s pool at the Kalahari Resorts water park in Sandusky, Ohio. Lifeguards were on duty at the time the boy died.
Man, 48, drowns at Denver-area water park
(July 21, 2009) – A 48-year-old man drowned in the Captain Jack wave pool at Water World theme park in Federal Heights, Colorado.
Disney World monorail crash kills 21-year-old
(July 5, 2009) – Two monorail trains crashed at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, leaving a 21-year-old man dead. The collision happened at 2:00am on the track near the Ticket and Transportation Center, where guests board the monorail for transport to various Disney parks and properties. The victim was the operator of one of the trains; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Teen drowns at Wet ‘N’ Wild Waterworld
(May 15, 2009) – At Wet ‘N’ Wild Waterworld in Anthony, Texas, a 14-year-old boy was found at the bottom of a swimming pool. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital after revival attempts by lifeguards and emergency responders failed.
Infant critically injured after fall from kiddie train ride
(Tuesday, March 10, 2009) – At a mall in Cutler Bay, Florida, a 12-month-old boy suffered severe head injuries when he fell 2-3 feet from a mechanical kiddie train. He landed on his head, then was partially run over by the train before it could be stopped. Rescue workers arrived to find the child unconscious and unable to breathe on his own. They began CPR, revived him, then transported him via helicopter to Miami Children’s Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.
The Miami-Dade Police Department is investigating the accident and the ride has been shut down.
UPDATE: The boy died from his injuries on March 17, 2009.
Woman Dies in Inflatable Bounce House
(Sunday, September 30, 2008) – At the Jump Zone Party Palace in Festus, Missouri, a 28-year-old woman was killed while attempting somersaults on an inflatable slide.
Park worker in critical condition after roller coaster accident
(Sunday, July 13, 2008) – A 21-year-old man suffered a critical head injury when he was struck by a roller coaster at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Park officials said that he was attempting to retrieve a child’s hat that landed in a restricted area underneath the Star Jet roller coaster, and that he may have been walking along the side of the track when a car struck him. The man was airlifted to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
UPDATE: On July 16, it was announced that the man died from his injuries.
Girl drowns at water park
(Sunday, June 15, 2008) – A 4-year-old girl drowned at the indoor Caribbean water park in East Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania. Police are investigating.
Boy, 16, drowns in pool at water park
(Wednesday, May 28, 2008) – A 16-year-old boy died in a drowning accident at Sun Valley Beach water park in Powder Springs, Georgia.
Fifteen lifeguards were on duty at the time the boy was discovered at the bottom of the pool — none of whom reported noticing any signs of distress.
Police are investigating.
Man dies shortly after roller coaster ride
(Tuesday, July 25, 2006) – A 52-year-old man died less than two hours after riding the Gwazi roller coaster at Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa Bay, Florida. He complained about feeling sick after the ride, and later lost consciousness. He was taken to a hospital, and within two hours, he was pronounced dead.
It is believed that the man had a heart attack and that his death was not related to the operation to the ride.
Boy, 8, collapses on carnival ride
(Saturday, July 22, 2006) – An 8-year-old boy collapsed while he was riding an amusement at a carnival in Ionia, Michigan. Witnesses say that he went unconscious on a ride called the Fireball, a highly intense swinging and rotating ride. He was removed from the ride and given CPR immediately, then rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The boy’s family and investigators believe the boy died of natural causes because he was born with heart problems and suffered heart murmurs. An autopsy is scheduled.
The Ionia County Sheriff said that investigators inspected the ride after the incident and found it to be safe operating condition.
“There was nothing faulty with the ride. The ride has been inspected. It was working as it was designed to work.”
Boy, 7, critical after water park accident
(Monday, July 10, 2006) – A 7-year-old boy was seriously injured at a water park in Montérégie, Quebec, when he was sucked through an underwater intake pipe located in a pool where water slides empty. Investigators say that there was no screen covering the opening at the time of the accident. It is believed that the boy’s body was sucked through 20 feet of pipes until his feet hit the pump’s turbines. A ride operator rushed to a shed where the pump’s controls are located and shut down the system. The child’s heart had stopped, but a lifeguard resuscitated him. He was hospitalized in critical condition.
UPDATE: The boy’s life is no longer in danger, however, both of his legs were amputated below his knees. The screen that was supposed to block the opening of the pipe was found by police at the bottom of the pool. Investigators found 24 safety violations at the park that posed various risks, ranging from falls to electrocution. The park has corrected the violations.
Boy, 6, dead after 90-foot-fall from Ferris wheel
(Sunday, June 18, 2006) – At the San Joaquin Fair in Stockton, California, a 6-year-old boy died from injuries he suffered in a fall from a giant Ferris wheel. The boy was riding the 90-foot-tall ride alone, even though he was only 6 years old, and the gondolas are not equipped with seat belts or safety restraints.
The ride’s manufacturer and operator require that riders be at least 42 inches tall to ride alone, and the boy’s height exceeded 42 inches. But there is no requirement that children over 42 inches tall be accompanied by an adult, and there is no requirement that children be a minimum age to ride alone.
According to witnesses, the wheel had turned 2-3 times then stopped to unload passengers, leaving the boy’s gondola at the top of the wheel. Apparently, the boy became scared and panicked, and attempted to exit the gondola. He fell about 90 feet, hit a railing, and landed on the ground.
According to Sacramento’s KXTV News, the boy’s mother expected that her child would be seated in a gondola with other passengers.
“I know when he was inside he was yelling he was scared.
“I don’t think he realized it stops, and it lets people out at the bottom.”
The ride is owned and operated by Butler Amusements of Fairfield, California. It was manufactured by Chance Rides.
The Stockton Police Department and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health are investigating.
Carnival worker killed while setting up ride
(Tuesday, August 23, 2005) – In Syracuse, New York, a 29-year-old carnival worker was crushed by an amusement ride he was working to assemble. The man was placing wooden stabilizing blocks underneath the structure of the Enterprise ride when the ride shifted and fell on top of him. Rescuers had to use a forklift to free him. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died.
The man worked for James E. Strates Shows of Florida. His death has been ruled an accident by state police. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun its own investigation.
Boy drowns in theme park wave pool
(Sunday, August 7, 2005) – A 12-year-old boy drowned in a wave pool at the Magic Mountain water park in New Brunswick, Canada. He was found floating in the park’s wave pool. Lifeguards pulled his body from the water, but were unable to revive him. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead several hours later.
Child dies at Rye Playland
(Wednesday, August 3, 2005) – At Rye Playland in Westchester, New York, a 7-year-old boy died on “Ye Olde Mill,” a dark ride that consists of a 1,200-foot tunnel through which passengers travel while riding in small boats. The boy somehow left his seat and for some reason either jumped or fell into the water. He died of blunt head trauma.
The boy’s mother alerted the ride attendant that she had not seen her son get off the ride. A half-hour later, after park officials drained the ride, the child’s body was found underneath two conveyor belts in a place where the water level is normally two-and-a-half feet deep.
The boy’s height exceeded the ride’s minimum 42-inch requirement. He was riding alone.
Inspectors found no mechanical defects in the ride. However, park officials admitted that they are aware that some passengers ignore posted warnings and leave the boats to walk around inside the attraction.
“You find them running around the ride… Sometimes they want to scare somebody in the boat behind them, sometimes they want to go play with some of the exhibits,” said Playland Director Joseph Montalto.
In May, 2004, a 7-year-old girl was killed in an accident on another Rye Playland ride that operated in the dark. An investigation into her death revealed that she was thrown from the Mind Scrambler ride after she eluded her safety bar and began to kneel and move around in her seat. Park officials made several safety modifications before they reopened the ride, including the assignment of a second ride attendant to monitor the ride’s passengers. In addition, changes were made to the lighting, giving ride attendants the ability to see any potential hazards posed by riders’ behaviors — hazards that may not be noticeable in darkness.
Man dies after roller coaster mishap at Universal Orlando
(Wednesday, September 22, 2004) – A 39-year-old man died from complications following surgery he needed as a result of a mishap on the Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida. On Tuesday, the man was attempting to board the ride in the front row of seats when he fell from the platform and struck his head on the ride’s steel track.
Universal Studios says that the ride did not malfunction. Park officials will investigate.
Sizzler breaks apart at Massachusetts carnival; 1 killed
(Sunday, September 19, 2004) – At a church carnival in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, one man was killed and another was critically injured when parts of a Sizzler ride broke apart. A third person suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Witnesses say the two men fell out of their car when the outer side of their seat broke off. One of them was then struck by another of the ride’s cars as he attempted to get away from the ride.
The ride is owned and operated by Jaro Amusements of Carlisle, Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety, the Worcester district attorney’s office, and local police are investigating the accident. The National Consumer Product Safety Commission is also expected to investigate.
Boy, 13, dies from water park injury
(Friday, August 20, 2004) – A 13-year-old boy died from internal injuries he suffered in an accident at Wacky Waters Adventure Park in Davenport, Iowa. Witnesses say that the boy fell from a rappelling rope into a pool of water.
One killed, 10 injured in Disneyland roller coaster malfunction
(Friday, September 5, 2003) – At Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, one man was killed and ten others were injured after a malfunction on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster. Reports indicate that the lead car of one of the ride’s trains — an unoccupied locomotive car — disengaged and possibly derailed as it traveled into a tunnel near the end of the ride.
Some riders were trapped in the tunnel for an hour, until rescue workers freed them and began to treat them.
Two of the passengers were treated at the scene and released. Eight others were taken to hospitals with mostly minor injuries. One man, whose injuries were described as “moderate,” suffered facial injuries, a broken collarbone, and rib fractures.
Anaheim police and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating. The ride has been shut down.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a runaway mine train-style steel roller coaster. It opened in 1979.
“We are shocked and saddened,” said Disneyland president Cynthia Harris.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of those involved.”
The fatality is the park’s tenth since it opened in 1955.
Boy, 8, dies from bumper car ride injury
(Wednesday, September 4, 2003) – An 8-year-old boy has died from injuries he suffered on a bumper car ride last month at the Lake County Fair in Ohio. The boy was severely shocked when he touched a pole on a bumper car ride called the Scooter.
The ride is owned and operated by Buffalo Amusement and was inspected by state officials before the fair opened.
Woman dies after heart attack on roller coaster
(Wednesday, July 29, 2003) – An 34-year-old woman died a day after suffering a heart attack during her ride on the Top Gun roller coaster at Paramount’s Kings Island theme park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The woman had no history of heart problems, but doctors say she may have had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure which contributed to her death.
Girl dies after fall from Ferris wheel
(Monday, July 15, 2002) – A 15-year-old girl who suffered severe head injuries in a 30-foot-fall from a Ferris wheel at Gulliver’s World theme park in Warrington, England on Saturday has died from her injuries. Authorities say they have not yet made any conclusions about how the girl – who had Down’s Syndrome – fell out of her car, or whether the safety bar of her car had opened.
Chesire police and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating.
Poor maintenance to blame for deadly amusement ride fire
(Sunday, July 14, 2002) – Investigators in Thailand have concluded that last month’s amusement ride fire which killed two children was sparked by a faulty ventilation fan.
The accident happened on a skytrain ride at Fashion Island amusement park, an indoor facility at a shopping center in Ban Chan, Thailand.
The fan, which was located at the top of the car in which the children were riding, overheated, resulting in the deadly fire. Two other children who jumped from the ride were also injured.
A police chief who led the investigation said that the fan was old and in poor condition before the accident.
“Investigators concluded the fire was due to the recklessness of the individuals responsible for the upkeep of the ride. They failed to regularly examine the condition of the ride and keep it in good condition.”
The manager of the park, the owner of the ride and those responsible for its maintenance face criminal charges.
One killed, dozens injured in Kennywood ride collapse
(Friday, May 31, 2002) – At Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a severe storm caused the roof of an amusement ride called The Whip to collapse, killing a 30-year-old woman and injuring as many as 50 people. The woman, who had just left the line for the ride, was walking toward another building when winds suddenly lifted the ride’s roof and moved it about 20 feet until it crashed to the ground, pinning the victim against an iron fence. She was crushed and died at the scene. As many as 100 people may have been trapped underneath the roof. Most of the injuries suffered as a result of the storm were not serious.
The storm’s strong winds also uprooted trees, downed power lines and damaged several other buildings in or near the park, sending branches and other debris flying about the area.
The park was shut down after the accident and park officials have not said when it will reopen.
The Whip, one of the park’s oldest rides, features 16 cars which spin as they rotate about an oblong track. It originally opened in 1918 but had been relocated to its current building in 1995.
The collapse happened during a tornado warning which had been issued for Allegheny County, where the park is located.
Woman killed in 100-foot fall from Perilous Plunge at Knott’s Berry Farm
(Friday, September 21, 2001) – A 40-year-old woman sustained fatal injuries after falling out of a ride at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. The accident happened on the park’s Perilous Plunge chute ride.
Perilous Plunge was designed and manufactured by Intamin AG of Switzerland and opened in 2000. It is described by the park as the world’s tallest and steepest water ride. It features a 121-foot-tall lift hill, followed by a 75-degree angle drop into a 115-foot-long water chute. The ride’s three 24-passenger boats reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
The woman fell more than 100 feet to her death, even though park officials say that her seat belt and lap bar “were in their correct and locked position” when her boat returned to the dock. It is believed that the victim fell out of her boat during its plunge down into the chute. She was treated at the scene and rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The cause of death is multiple blunt force trauma.
The ride has been shut down. Officials from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the ride’s manufacturer are investigating.
The fatality is the park’s second this month. On September 1, a 20-year-old woman collapsed during her ride on the park’s Montezuma’s Revenge roller coaster and went into full cardiac arrest. She was rushed to a hospital where she died from a ruptured brain aneurysm hours later.
Autopsy: boy died as a direct result of roller coaster accident
(Thursday, September 13, 2001) – An autopsy report released by the coroner’s office of York County, Pennsylvania states that the 7-year-old boy who was injured in this week’s roller coaster accident at the York County Fair died as a direct result of injuries he sustained when the ride stopped abruptly. The child’s cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma.
The accident happened Monday. The boy was riding a roller coaster called the Flitzer when a brake engaged and stopped the ride abruptly. The child was taken to a local hospital where he died during surgery, about an hour later.
Police are investigating the accident.
The ride is owned and operated by Reithoffer Shows.
Kennywood Entertainment sued for negligence in Lake Compounce drowning death
(Monday, July 30, 2001) – The mother of the 6-year-old boy who died after an accident at Lake Compounce amusement park in Bristol, Connecticut last year is suing the park’s parent company, Kennywood Entertainment, for negligence.
The accident happened on July 1, 2000. The boy drowned in Lake Compounce after riding one of the park’s water slides. The slide, called Lake Plunge, carries riders sitting upon inner tubes through twists and turns and then sends them into the lake. Then, riders must paddle over to a dock, which sits in water about 10-12 feet deep. The boy fell off his raft as it entered the lake. Lifeguards found him a half-hour later, curled up in a fetal position at the bottom of the lake, beyond the dock, 15 feet below the surface. He never regained consciousness, and died one week later.
“It was an accident that did not have to happen had they taken basic precautions,” says the lawyer representing the mother. “The things they did and failed to do cost the child his life.”
The lawsuit claims that the park should have required children to use life jackets, and that the boy should not have been allowed to ride the slide because he was not tall enough to use the ride safely.
While a spokesman for the park denies the allegations, a police investigation into the cause of the drowning concluded that the park and its employees did contribute to the child’s death. Police also said that the boy’s father was partly to blame for the accident.
The lawsuit was filed in Hartford Superior Court.
Since 1999, more people have died at Lake Compounce than at any other amusement park in the United States. In August 1999, an employee was killed after a ride struck him. The Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited and fined the park for violations of safety regulations, saying that the park “did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards and that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.” Last month, another worker was struck by a roller coaster and killed. That accident is still under investigation.
Boy, 11, killed in fall from Blackpool roller coaster
(Saturday, July 22, 2000) – An 11-year-old boy suffered fatal injuries to his head and body after falling from the Space Invader roller coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park in Blackpool, England. The ride, which is enclosed, is described by the park as a “high-speed turbulent coaster ride in the dark.”
The boy was riding the coaster with two of his friends, who say that at some point during the course of the ride, the victim fell out of his car. The boy’s friends remained in the car until it returned to the station, then told the operators of the ride what had happened.
The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Space Invader has been shut down pending an investigation by police and Health and Safety Executive.
Boy, 3, drowns at Texas water park
(Saturday, July 8, 2000) – A 3-year-old boy was found unconscious in a pool at Splashtown water park in San Antonio, Texas. The child was taken to an area hospital where he died a short time later.
Girl, 3, killed in Illinois go-cart crash
(Saturday, July 1, 2000) – A 3-year-old girl died after a go-cart accident at Hi-Speed Race Karts race track in Palatine, Illinois. The accident happened on Friday night. The car in which the victim and her 21-year-old mother were riding collided with another car which had spun out directly in front of them. The girl was riding in between her mother’s legs at the time of the accident. When the two cars collided, she was crushed between the steering wheel and her mother’s body.
The steering wheel was padded, in accordance with state safety regulations, and authorities found no defects in the brakes, steering or tires. However, none of the go-carts had seat belts, and a sign posted at the front entrance to the ride states: “Every rider must be 5 feet tall, all riders must sign release.”
The Palatine Police Department has confiscated the go-carts which crashed. The accident is under investigation.
Ferris wheel collapses, kills worker
(Monday, June 26, 2000) – In Pine Plains, New York, a 23-year-old carnival worker was crushed to death after the ferris wheel which he was assembling collapsed. Another worker suffered minor injuries.
The ride is owned by Country Amusements of Newton, Connecticut.
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