Photos on the front page of RideAccidents.com show a broken hoist rope on the Hurakan Condor freefall drop tower at Port Aventura theme park in Spain. The ride was stopped after the rope broke, and park maintenance workers went up on an adjacent tower, got the rope clear of the gondola, then released the now-stuck gondola.
So far I have not seen any media coverage of this incident.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
<ADD> If people are wondering, this post was in response to another post that was deleted.</ADD> *** Edited 6/9/2008 10:54:33 PM UTC by Jason Hammond***
Anyway, if we go back to the findings from the KDA report on the Kentucky Kingdom mishap, the major issue there was that the rope was lacking in lubrication, which was probably part of the reason it deteriorated quickly to the point of failure. What Kevin notes is that there was apparently a mechanical problem with the ride (rope slippage) that Intamin did not adequately address, which probably resulted in the maltreatment of the ride components which led to their ultimate failure.
It would be interesting to find out if Port Aventura was also having cable slippage problems and addressed them in a similar fashion...by removing the lubrication from the hoist ropes.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
...better than a missing foot, though.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
"The ride was shut down, but the rest of the cars were running with passengers just hours later."
You would think there would be a thorough investigation of the other cables... and if the issue is related to what Dave mentioned, you would think they would lubricate the cables before continuing operation. I wish there was a more in-depth news story regarding this...
I guess I didn't blog well. I wasn't trying to say SF was blameless. However, Intamin's contributions to the incident should have been recognized in the report.
Going back and reading the KDA report of the investigation from last year for the first time, something interesting stuck out...
"In accordance with KRS 247.990(3) (c), Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom will be assessed
an administrative fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for not maintaining the Superman
Tower of Power in good mechanical condition, causing a serious injury."
Really? That's all they are getting fined for? I understand the family is likely to sue, a rightly so, but a $1000 fine is all? Seems rather insignificant for the type and size of the accident. Heck, running a red light will cost you $200-$300.
No, wait, I can't think of a serious to fatal accident that has happened on an Intamin ride that hasn't happened on a similar one within a year or so. hmmmmmmm
Knowing that Intamin's safety record is a hot topic at times, those that fight saying Intamin is a safe company one day will realize that patterns mean something...
What you brought up, though, is something many of us have seen: Intamin's mechanical designs are *ahem* infallible, and if something goes wrong, it is clearly because of some other factor: the electronics are wrong, the maintenance is poor, the operator made a mistake, the rider was too fat, too skinny, or too...human. It is not the way of Intamin to ever admit a possible mistake, or a flaw in design. The comments about the slippage problem bring to light another circumstance, something other than Six Flags' possibly-inadequate maintenance program and their potentially inept ride operators. That Intamin is not helpful in solving an operational issue with their ride, combined with another park, presumably one that learned from the SFKK incident, having a similar incident, suggests that perhaps there is something more to be learned from all of this.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Is Intamin really unwilling to help investigate things or to admit fault? I mean, typically these ride accidents are thoroughly investigated, and the INVESTIGATORS usually find that it was the fault of the rider, the operator, or the maintenance. Intamin does not make these claims, do they?
Glad to know that no one was hurt on the Spain Drop Tower.
And if you read the KDA report, the state pretty much admits they don't have anyone qualified in materials science. I have dealt with a number of state authorities, and there are few of them that would be qualified to dive into the program of a PLC either.
Most of these guys are qualified to see that the machines are maintained properly, but not qualified to examine the engineering of the machines.
I can't think of companies that come close to having as many accidents that the manufacturer will blame on these human errors as this company. Most other companies are adding devices to detect and prevent errors from becoming an issue.
I am willing to bet that the reason there was no accident here was result of what happened at SFKK. After the accident a year ago, many Intamin drop towers were fitted with a sensor to detect a snapped cable, and stop the ride if there is such an occurrence. This is a device that Six Flags came out last year saying the manufacturer should have had in place already. The device is one that makes the difference between a girl loosing her feet, and people being stuck on a ride for an hour. Had the ride been properly designed with this safety feature in the first place, there wouldn't be much of an issue.
As for the comment on Six Flags extensive accident history, I do not believe that there is substantial evidence that Six Flags as an operator has a higher accident history than others in the industry. I have heard people comment on this before, but I just haven't seen the evidence. I know people don't like the company and some of the decisions that they have made, but overall I think that they are on par in terms of accidents with the other players in the industry.
The best bet is if the parks are more proactive, including hiring third party consultants if necessary.
I think what the regulators are trying to do right now is get something where they all can get some information on what has happened when there is an incident. The problem right now is, you get a report from the inspector, that may not be as in-depth as it should be, and all of the real information is in court filings that never see the light of day.
So they never know the rest of the story. And the good guys keep doing well, and the other guys keep muddling along.
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