3/14-Fatality on Pigeon Forge Flat Ride

Sunday, March 14, 2004 8:23 PM
Tragically a woman fell to her death on a ride in Pigeon Forge Tennessee this afternoon.

There are not many news reports at this time, but what is known is that the park is called "Rockin Raceway" and the rides name is "The Hawk". I only saw the ride for a brief second on my local news, so I was unable to identify the manufacturer of the ride. But it looked very similar to the "Kamikaze" ride without the cage surrounding the ride vehicles. It is speculated that there was a failure with the over the shoulder restraints on the ride, however an OSHA investigation is pending.

This is the only news report I can find at the moment...I'll add more information later as more details become known.


Sunday, March 14, 2004 8:50 PM
Zamperla Hawk

*** Edited 3/15/2004 1:51:01 AM UTC by Raptor Pilot***

Sunday, March 14, 2004 9:01 PM
Rockin Raceway is one of the cheap little go-cart track centers that is located along the Pigeon Forge strip, a few blocks from the Dollywood Entrance near the Old Mill Patriot Park. It has the ride mentioned above, several go-cart tracks, a small powerd roller coaster and a balloon race.

My prayers go out to the woman's family. It must be incredibly depressing to come to a place like Pigeon Forge for a fun weekend, only to have it end in tragedy.

*** Edited 3/15/2004 2:02:06 AM UTC by Dukeis#1***

Sunday, March 14, 2004 11:30 PM


Here are two additional reports about the accident. *** Edited 3/15/2004 3:34:45 PM UTC by coasterfreaky***

Monday, March 15, 2004 2:22 AM
Wow, I really wouldn't expect something like that to happen on a Zamperla Hawk... what could cause a restraint failure? They don't have seatbelts but I believe they're already triple redundant.

What a horrible tragedy. *** Edited 3/15/2004 7:22:39 AM UTC by GoliathKills***

Monday, March 15, 2004 8:36 AM
Yeah, even if the OTSR lockdown fails, is there not a backup belt? And I think the cages are locked from the outside. I've never ridden one these, though I've ridden the looping starship at SFoG (that has no cages).

Here's another article from the Tennessean. According to the TV news here, the woman was actually from the suburb of Goodlettsville, which is next to me.

As sad as this already is, to top it off, I've already heard one person this morning talking about this accident at *Dollywood*.

*** Edited 3/16/2004 3:47:35 AM UTC by Raptor Pilot***

Monday, March 15, 2004 11:05 AM
I have heard that the ride in question could possibly be as well a Far Fabbri product. Can anybody confirm this?
I know some italian rides are hard to distinguish from another, but it would not be nice for Zamperla if the word goes round (it is already on Screamscape) and it was not one of their rides.

Very sad accident!

Monday, March 15, 2004 11:48 AM
If you go to the page I linked, it says it's the Zamperla Hawk, and says it's at the Rockin' Raceway. Isn't that proof enough?

Also they showed it on TV here this morning.

Monday, March 15, 2004 6:33 PM
That's really scary... I've ridden that ride before... From what i remember (it's been since 1999), there was not a cage, and no back-up seat-belt. (just an OTS restraint.)

It's really sad and scary at the same time. Guess I'll think twice before I ride one of those at a county fair...

Monday, March 15, 2004 7:31 PM
I just saw the 6 o'clock Channel 4 news piece on the accident. They only mentioned OTSR's. I'd really like to know if there are back up seat belts.
Monday, March 15, 2004 8:48 PM
The Aero 360 at Kennywood is a hawk (now that I know the generic term for it).

I love the ride. :-D

I am very sad to hear about the accident. :-(


*** Edited 3/16/2004 1:50:40 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Tuesday, March 16, 2004 1:17 AM
The park Hawk's have different restraints than the ones shown in the video. This model has the Rotoshake/Mixer style restraints.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004 7:59 PM
There was an update in todays Knoxville News Sentinel about the fact that the ride is not regulated or inspected in any way by the state or local authorities, but rather by the owner. I wonder if that will change after this accident? Frankly that's a little unsettling to me that here in TN no one specific agency oversees amusement rides safety.

That sets a clear case for the family to sue Rockin Raceway. What a tragic ending to a vacation.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004 7:59 PM
First off, I feel very sorry for her family

Yes, the ride is Manfactured by Zamperla of Italy. The Hawk has the same double locking system as the mixer and rotoshake. The pins that lock in the harness are air controlled and as far as I know cannot be opened while the ride is in motion. On the news it said that the woman was uneasy about ride and was struggling to get out of the harness which may have added to the malfunction. The only possible way for the harness to open would be if the pins retracted, but The harnessing system is VERY safe and reliable.

Also..... The owner was trying to sell the Hawk, it has been listed on a Ride Classifieds for some time?¿?

here is a picture of the harnessing system:

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 8:42 PM
That's exactly why they tell you not to mess with the harness while it's being locked.

If I'm not mistaken it must be both a hydraulic system (which raises & lowers the restraint) & a pnuematic system(that locks the pins) I alway's assumed it was completely hydraulic so this is news to me.

The only problem is that if the ride wasn't locked than the operator should've seen this on the panel & never been able to start the ride....they're also required to do a visual check of all the restraints by pulling on them to make sure the locking pins are in the correct position before they start up the ride cycle.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 10:15 PM
I believe this is a case of operator error.

If the woman was pulling and pushing on the harness it may not have locked properly, but the operator should have caught the malfunction! if the harness was not propertly lock the ride system would not have gone but it is possible to override the control board. it is possilbe the operator took a quick look at everyone and went "looks good to me" and overrid the system.

im almost 85% percent sure it was operator error.

also.... the operator should have asked the lady if she was uneasy about riding, when she was trying to get out.

I think there needs to be a sign on all rides saying, This MACHINE can cause serious injury if ridden incorrectly, please listen to all operators and follow all directions. Also....PLEASE do not adjust harnesses, WAIT for the operators help!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 11:20 PM
I think you're most likely right on the fact that the op didn't properly check the ride before starting it up,a good operator would give a push or tug on the restraint to make sure it was locked & not simply assume by just a quick glance that everyone is properly secured in their seats.

Most if not all rides have signs posted instructing riders on proper safety rules for the individual attraction...but then again seeing as how this incident happened at what appeared to be a park that's run more like a traveling carnival you can easily see how something like this can happen.

If it is a restraint failure & not operator error then it looks like they need to have tougher inspection standards for their rides....of course inspection policies vary from state to state but in this case they may need to be reviewed after this incident to avoid future accidents from occurring.

One thing I don't get is if the victim was trying to get out just before the ride started is why didn't the op notice this & simply unlock the restraints & let her out? she could've gotten the operators attention somehow to let them know she didn't want to ride after she had gotten on & could've simply asked to be let off of the ride.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 11:22 PM
k-16 said:
"I think there needs to be a sign on all rides saying, This MACHINE can cause serious injury if ridden incorrectly, please listen to all operators and follow all directions. Also....PLEASE do not adjust harnesses, WAIT for the operators help!"

Putting a sign up would no do anything to prevent this from happening again...nobody ever reads the signs anyway! The only thing that will prevent this is better training of ride ops, or better restraint systems. I have been to this park (as I said in the other thread,) and I would not have gotten on the Hawk anyway...it just did not appear to be safe. I really hate that Tennesse does not regulate these rides, and I am actually shocked that this is the first time that anything has happened like this in this area!


Thursday, March 18, 2004 9:29 AM
The attorney of the family believes that the restraint failed, according to today's Knoxville News Sentinel (3/18).

The 17-y.o. operator checked the harness and it was secure when the ride started. According to witnesses it popped open a few seconds in to the ride.

The manufacturer and other inspectors completed their investigation on Wednesday 3/17.

Read for yourself. (Sorry these KNS sites tend to go away over time)


Thursday, March 18, 2004 10:11 AM
Hate having to sign up for those news sites, LOL.

Anyhow...ASSUMING that the op checked the restraints and they WERE locked, then one of two possibilities exist: 1) Manufacturing defect (seems unlikely considering the number of Hawks out there and the lack of reported problems before), or 2) improperly performed ride maintenance which resulted in a catastrophic failure of the restraints.

Right now, I'd bet on #2.


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