Fatal Attractions: 10 Worst Amusement Ride Tragedies In History

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Source: Roller Coaster Accident

Usually waiting in those long lines, paying for parking and the expensive food are the nightmares of going to an amusement park. But for some people, the ultimate nightmare is when the rides turn fatal.

When going to an amusement park, you never think, “this is the last place I’m going to be alive.” Many people are afraid to get on the rides because of the heights and speeds, but this may make you afraid even to get on the merry-go-round.

Roller coaster cars flying off tracks, faulty harnesses, and freak accidents these are the fun rides gone wrong.

Six Flags Great Adventure

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Source: NFPA

Haunted Castle took the lives of eight teenagers.

May 11, 1984, at the Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, a fire claimed the lives eight teenagers who were trapped inside the Haunted Castle ride.

The castle was made out of 17 interconnected commercial trailers and built out of plywood frames. Many of the safety features were faulty, the exit lights had been burnt out, and the fire alarms were vandalized and no longer working. According to some reports, the exit doors were chained, and the emergency exits were fenced in and not accessible by patrons.

The fire was started by a fourteen-year-old who accidentally caught one of the flammable props on fire which quickly spread. The bodies were burnt beyond recognition that firefighters couldn’t tell the difference between mannequins and the bodies of the kids.

When Six Flags was indicted for aggravated manslaughter, the trial jury found the defendants not guilty deeming the fire was arson, and no precautions would have saved the lives of anyone in the incident.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark

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Source: Kansas City

Boy launched into heaven on the Verruckt water slide.

On August 7, 2016, Caleb Thomas Schwab, age 10, was riding the Verruckt water slide at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City. The Verruckt slide is taller than the Statue of Liberty and was certified by the Guinness World Records as the tallest water slide, at 168 feet.

Riders go down in multi-person rafts and must be at least 54 inches tall. It originally had an age restriction of 14 and over, but the park deemed the height requirement sufficient.

Witness Esteban Castenada heard booms coming from the water slide and saw the body wash down after the raft and believed the boy was decapitated. Another witness says they saw the boy go airborne and hit the netting after the slide’s first drop. Other’s said the security harnesses weren’t working properly. The Schlitterbahn Waterpark has been closed since the incident for the investigation.

 

Disneyland

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Source: Yesterland

Disneyland cast member crushed by moving walls during a show.

On June 28, 1974, Debbie Stone was in the musical extravaganza America Sings, which had automated wall rotations that would run towards each other on the left-hand side of the stage and closed in place to separate each theater.

While the stages were shifting position, a guest heard a blood-chilling scream. When the operators rushed to the adjacent stage, they found Debbie Stone was crushed between the walls of the two theaters.

The ride was closed for two days, but the stage she passed away remained closed for over a year. Disney installed sensory lights to warn the operator if someone was too close to the walls and even breakaway walls were installed in case the sensors failed. The ride was eventually shut down in 1988 and refurbished in 1998 to become the ride Innoventions.

 

Six Flag Over Georgia

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Source: Pinterest

Teen boy decapitated by the Batman Rollercoaster.

On June 28, 2008, Asia Leeshawn Ferguson was in a restricted area of the Batman rollercoaster ride to get a hat he lost while riding it earlier. He climbed over two six-foot fences and passed restricted area signs before he was hit in the head by a coaster going at the full-speed of 50 mph striking his head and decapitating him.

According to authorities, the boy was with another boy who had gone into the restricted area with him. The riders and the other boy weren’t harmed in the incident.

Six years ago, a park groundskeeper had his life taken by the same ride when he wandered into a restricted area while the ride was operating and his head was struck by a rider’s leg.

 

Kings Island Amusement Park

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Source: Talawanda Tribune

Two freak accidents happened on the same day at the Kings Island Amusement Park.

On June 9, 1991, a Woman was thrown out of the Flight Commander ride at Kings Island, and two men were fatally electrocuted in a strange accident.

22-year-old Timothy Binning hopped a fenced-in pond when an electrical current jolted him. His friend, William Haithcoat, tried to rescue him when he was fatally shocked. Then, Darrell Robertson, a park security guard tried to save the two and was also fatally shocked. Only Timothy Binning, the first man in the water survived.

Later that day, Candy Taylor, fell from the Flight Commander ride, striking the ground head-first. She was rushed to the Miami Valley Hospital but did not survive.

 

Battersea Park Fun Fair

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Source: Independent

Five children crushed by the Big Dipper wooden roller coaster.

In May 1972, the rope that carried the cars to the top of the hill snapped. This sent the train careening backwards ultimately crushing five children, and 13 more were seriously injured. Carolyn Adamczyk, now 57, remembers what happened that day when she was only 14-years-old.

“I turned around and saw the brakeman desperately trying to put the brake on, but it wasn’t working. Most of the carriages didn’t go around the bend, one detached and went off the side through a wooden hoarding. People were groaning and hanging over the edge. It was awful.”

The Big Dipper was England’s Battersea Park Fun Fair’s main attraction.After that incident, the amusement park was crippled until it finally shut down in 1974.

 

Six Flags Over Texas

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Source: NY Daily News

Texas Giant Roller Coaster

July 19, 2013, Rosa Ayala-Gaona Esparza complained to the attendant that she didn’t think her restraint was secure enough for the ride. The ride’s computer registered it as locked, but as they made it through the third ascent, Esparza fell 75 feet onto the metal roof of the ride’s Honky Tonk Tunnel severing her body in half.

Esparza’s daughter said she turned around and saw her mother upside down during the ride and the people seated behind her frantically tried to help her when they saw Esparza’s feet in the air.

When Esparza’s daughter sued Six Flags and went on record saying “Rosa Esparza’s daughter heard screaming and yelling behind her and turned to see her mother in the process of being thrown out of the car, out from behind the safety of her seat.” Court documents claimed it was not responsible because it was not the manufacturer or designer of the Texas Giant ride. Since then Six Flags has changed the restraints in the very car Esparza was riding.

 

Ecoventure Valley of Overseas Chinese Town

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Source: Thee Poch Times

Space Journey takes the lives of six passengers.

June 29, 2010, unconfirmed reports and inconsistent eyewitness reports make this ride’s accident a mystery. One of the ride’s cars broke off and fell to the ground, taking the lives of six of its passengers. The ride plunges 50 feet to the ground while spinning at high speeds.

Some accounts claim it was the ride’s power outage that caused the crash, and others say they could smell burning electronics while others claim they saw an explosion. The car came loose, and the dome ricocheted around creating an electrical fire before plunging to the ground with 40 people on board.

Since the incident, the ride has been closed permanently, and the incident has already caused so much damage to the park’s reputation.

 

Galaxyland Amusement Park

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Source: Wikipedia

Three people were thrown out of their seats while on the Mindbender.

June 14, 1986, three people were thrown from their cars in a mall roller coaster. They were seated in the last car of the four-car train. Bolts were missing on the left inside wheel, and as the car reached its third and final loop, it went off track. They stalled at the top before sliding backwards and hitting a concrete pillar. The ride was sondiered the “world’s Safest Roller Coaster” before the incident happened.

One of the riders, Rod Chayko recalls that fateful day, “I tried to stand up at first but when I tried, all I saw were my knees. I saw my legs were pointing in the other direction. I tried to sit up, and that’s when I realized I had a punctured lung — I couldn’t breathe.” He was lucky, his best friend, David Sager was one of the few who passed.

The ride was redesigned and has been accident-free since the incident. The trains were reduced to three cars instead of four, an anti-roll back mechanism was added to each car, a seatbelt and headrest were added to the lap restraint, and seats were reduced from 16 to 12.

 

Expoland

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Source: The Richest

Fujin Raijin II Roller Coaster

May 5, 2007, the Fujin Raijin II roller coaster was derailed, and cars were sent flying off the tracks. A broken axle caused the derailment after 15 years of wear and tear and was never replaced.

Yoshino Kogawara, a 19-year-old university student, lost her life, and 19 riders were hurt in the Osaka roller coaster accident.

After the incident, the park reopened before another incident involving another machine occurred. As a result, it closed permanently December 9, 2007.