11-Year old girl chokes to death at Six Flags Great America on Raging Bull

Posted Monday, May 5, 2003 4:34 AM | Contributed by Whizzer74

An 11-year-old Gary, Ind., girl collapsed and died Saturday while spending the day enjoying opening day with her family at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, officials said. The coroner said Sunday that the girl apparently choked to death on a piece of taffy while on Raging Bull.

Read more from The Daily Herald.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 4:59 AM
Yea I saw this a lot on the news. I wonder when they will find out the whole story of what happened.
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Monday, May 5, 2003 5:05 AM
Uh... what more story do you want?

What a pointless way for a young person to die. I'm not sure there's any reason to blame anyone, but it should make you think that day to day, you just never know what's going to happen. Take advantage of the time you have.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Monday, May 5, 2003 7:13 AM
What a shame. You really do need to live for today. Who knows what tommorrow brings. And the parks ends up with a bad rep because nobody reads the signs. People this is why there are warnings and intensity ratings.
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Monday, May 5, 2003 7:19 AM
This is just one of those "Spit Happens" moments. It is extraordinarily tragic and senseless, but completely random as well. All we can do now is mourn, grieve and support one another and in the future all be a little more vigillante.

A bad day for the family....

lata, me

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Monday, May 5, 2003 7:19 AM
The conclusion to this accident was revealed. A taffy-like substance was lodged in her throat.

I dont know where this guy that they interviewed is coming from by saying he sees no signs for food not being allowed. They are all over the place. "No eating, drinking, or smoking on the ride". These signs are everywhere.

Maybe some re-training needs to be done for the ride-ops at the park. If you see anyone carrying edible items on the ride, make them throw it out or leave it in the station. Also look for people boarding a ride to see if their mouths are chewing on something. Even if its gum, make them spit it out before riding. Better to be safe then sorry especially after this incident.

I bring up this ride-op training because when my daughter and I were in the station to ride Whizzer, we saw a man with a bag of popcorn eating it in the station. That wasnt a big deal, but when he sat down in the train to ride, he was still munching away on the popcorn and no employee said anything to him.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 8:21 AM
I agree with Jeremy though... stuff does happen, and there's not much anyone can do about it. I mean, what are they going to do, open your mouth and press down your toungue with a popsicle stick to see if you've got anything in there?

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Monday, May 5, 2003 8:49 AM
Not that extreme Jeff :). Just if they see someone chewing, ask them to spit it out if they have anything in their mouth.

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Monday, May 5, 2003 8:51 AM
/me cringes at the thought of gum-covered floors in ride stations...

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Monday, May 5, 2003 9:00 AM
Just saw an interview with the family on the local NBC affiliate in Chicago. They said that they do not blame SFGAm at all. It was just a freak accident and that SFGAm did everything they could after it happened. The reporter asked if they thought they should stop selling candy that could cause people to choke and the family said that was stupid. "Accidents happen and it was her time to go"

Very sad story and my condolences go out to the family.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 9:19 AM
It is a very sad story. It's unfortunate that this girl had to die so young. The park can only do so much. They can't be responsible for searching everyone's mouth. Adults must use a bit of common sense, and if they are taking small children on the ride, they must look out for them. I would also like to note that the guy they interviewed is an idiot. There are signs posted all around. They may sell stuff to eat and drink while you’re in line, but that doesn't mean you can take it on the ride with you. Things you bring on must be secured.

I wouldn't be surprised if parks start going to procedures like CP has for Millennium Force and what I'm guessing will be the procedure for TTD. They make sure you don't have anything loose on you when you get in line. You are required to store all items in a locker near there.

My condolences go out the the family and friends of the child.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 9:25 AM
I think they should put warning signs on the candy that warns against eating this substance when traveling at high rates of speed. This is just one of those things where the family is grabbing at straws beacuse they are so broken up about the death of their daughter. Wouldn't you?

Just because you didn't see a sign doesn't mean that it wasn't there. I feel really bad for the family, but don't blame those who are not at fault.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 9:55 AM
My only question regarding this incident is if reports are true that the only medical attention given was cpr??? Because under the circumstances that took place cpr wasnt the needed medical attention for an obstructed airway and if a doctor was on the scene and with the paramedics you would have thought someone would have noticed an obstructed airway and started different procdures than cpr. In the chi. tirbune that quoted a witness(if true ) who said only cpr was attempted and nothing to dislodge any object from her throat. Im curious about that but as otherssaid it is just a tragic incident that does happen and my prayers are for the family.
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Monday, May 5, 2003 10:02 AM
First off I tend to agree with 2Hostly that this is one of those "Spit Happens" moments. It's a horrible way for that girl to die.

Second, I was just thinking about last year when I was working at Dorney. I got transferred to SkyScraper a bunch of times. Anyways during our finally checks we always made sure no one was eating gum. Sure the park states there is no food or drink but I am not sure if they enforced us too make sure on Sky Scaper to check for gum. I got into the habit at Scraper to check for gum because the supervisor (who is actually an enthusiast) always caught it and made people spit it out.

But their is a problem with that rule at Dorney because on a lot of rides (Laser, Monster, Whip, Scrambler, ThunderHawk just to name a few) people are required to take all their belongings with them. Now at laser their are two exceptions (and isn't food or drink) whose exception are basketballs and extremely large stuffed prizes. Now on Laser the lift hill isn't the fastest in the world, in fact it's probably about a little over a minute too lift the train only 96 feet. In that time someone "COULD" take a drink (bottled drinks, since all poured drinks have to be throw away) or take a bite of something.

Last thing, which is ironic is that at Steel Force about halfway through the season we made all people with ice cream, open soda (except souvenir cups), and so on too finish them or throw them out before they entered the station. Not because of the food & drink rule or choking but because we had bad problems with bees.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 11:03 AM
Common sense would tell you that you probably shouldnt be eating anything while going 70mph either...

I also feel sorry for her and the family. The girl was only 11, and usually young ones figure out stuff the hard way, just like everyone usually does. And in this event, it ended up in a tragic way.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 12:36 PM
It is common sense but just think about it. It could happen to anyone of us at almost any time. What about a car or plane ride? If your going fast and you aren't prepared you never know what will happen. It still is extremely sad and tragic. :(

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Monday, May 5, 2003 1:56 PM
This really is just a "spit happens" incident, and I don't think any amount of "oh well she should have known this" could have helped. I mean who hasn't ridden coasters or rides while chewing gum? I know I have, and I don't think I'm being stupid for doing it either. Sometimes you just don't think stuff like that would ever happen.

Having operated the coaster in which she died on for almost three seasons, this hits really close to home. I can't imagine being on platform and seeing this all unfold and being completely helpless. It really makes you think "what would I do" in that situation. I really feel for all the ride ops on platform who had to witness the whole event.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the little girl.

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Monday, May 5, 2003 4:09 PM
Is this the first death on a B&M?

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Monday, May 5, 2003 4:10 PM
What difference does it make? It wasn't caused by the ride.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Monday, May 5, 2003 5:41 PM
The death wasn't actualy on the ride, I heard she got off talking and saying "I don't feel good, It's hard to breath" and stuff like that. She collapsed after she got off the ride. Unfortunatly, this was the first death ever at SFGAm.

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There is no such thing as a stupid question, just stupid people.

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