The Dangerous Side Of Amusement Parks
Amusement parks are fun places for both parents and children to feel like they are just innocent little kids in a giant playground, just having a grand time.
In some cases, that’s true, in some, it’s scary, especially since it’s also no secret that some rides look even more dangerous than they have any right to be.
Hold On for Dear Life
Reaching heights of up to 218 feet, the amazing roller coaster from Kings Island amusement park in Ohio is first on the list of the most dangerous roller coasters. It’s not surprising to see why this coaster was eventually shut down in 2009. Apparently, even the roller coaster drop is 214 feet, which means people literally felt like dropping almost immediately when they reached the top.
The first problem with this coaster is that ithad a split in the wooden track. Since the Son of Beast, the aptly-named coaster, can reach up to speeds of up to 78 miles an hour, it injured many passengers on a ride in 2006 when the split in the wooden track injured 27 people. Its fate was sealed when, in 2009, “a woman reported that the roller coaster caused a blood vessel in her brain to rupture.’
As further listed down by Reader’s Digest, an American general interest family magazine, the second scary and dangerous ride, Verrückt waterslide, was unveiled fairly recently, just last 2014. This one had been an attempt by the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City to “produce the world’s largest water slide to be featured on the show Xtreme Waterparks.
When it was opened, people marveled at the 170-foot-tall slide and the 264 steps it took to ascend it. As if that wasn’t enough, thrill-seekers would even get a kick on the ride’s 17-story drop. The death and subsequent closure of the ride to the public, however, came in the form of a ten-year-old boy dying while riding it as he was flung from the raft, hit his head on a metal pole, and died instantly.
In another entry for the waterslides and waterparks comes the Catapult, the ride that was closed for doing exactly what its name indicated when it almost catapulted two passengers after one of the cables snapped. Unlike the first two incidents, though, no one was hurt in this event, but it had been for the safety of their reputation that Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park saw fit to just close it down.
In the list of these dangerous, heart-pounding rides, only Cyclone emerges from the pack still running, although it definitely had a round of mechanical issues in its history. For instance, this 60-miles-an-hour, 85-foot-high behemoth had a total of 12 drops throughout the rides. You just have to pray you’re not part of the batch that will have to endure using the ride’s steep steps on the track to get down, as this usually happened to the Luna Park Cyclone. It was in 2015 that passengers were forced to evacuate after being stuck at such a high point of the ride because of a mechanical issue. It happened again, just last year. In those two moments, no one was seriously injured.
When Disaster Strikes
Inherent mechanical issues aren’t always the reason some theme or amusement parks find themselves in hot water for rides getting stranded or being flung out of rafts. Some are brought about by forces no one can control or anticipate, just like the 7.1 earthquakes that hit near the Mojave Desert town of Ridgecrest.
The event caused quite the stir in some amusement parks like Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Thankfully, people were evacuated even before there was anyone seriously injured from the rides. Six Flags even reached out to users on the internet about how they were handling it: “The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority and as a precautionary measure, we are conducting an extensive visual, structural, and operational safety checks on all of the rides before re-opening.”
Gone but Not Forgotten
Sports Illustrated tells the tale of one waterpark that was once in New Jersey, and which locals there say they will never forget. According to the American sports magazine, this is the odd nostalgic response that people keep giving for the Action Park, even though it had a rap sheet of astoundingly inaccurate numbers of death.
Writer Jack McCallum states: “Six of them [died] between 1978, when the park was born, and ’96, when it went out of business. And there is simply no way of calculating how many injuries, ranging from minor to major, were sustained at the sprawling 250-acre playground that came to be known, variously, as Class Action Park, Traction Park, Friction Park, and Accident Park.”
But the funny thing was, the people hadn’t minded the danger. Frank DeBerry, a former lifeguard at the said park, certainly thinks so, believing that part of what made Action Park such a fun place for people who were lucky enough to visit it when it was still alive was the amount of chaos one could get into and escape afterward.
It’s far from a good joke when you think of all those who died in it, although the NJ crowd seems to still hold it in high regard.
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