"Black Sunday" at Kings Island?

Friday, June 9, 2006 1:18 AM
I was reading the roller coaster rollbacks and it said something about Kings Island.

"One (intoxicated) woman died when she fell from the Flight Commander ride; two men were electrocuted trying to fish a third from a pond when a circulating pump malfunctioned."

Does anybody have any more info on what happened. Like what pond where they in when they got electrocuted and what type of ride is Flight Commander?

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Friday, June 9, 2006 1:21 AM
Flight Commander was a circular ride that allowed guests to "fly" the airplane. You could roll the vehicle enough to make it go upside down. The woman passed out while the vehicle was upside down and slipped between the restraints.

The electrocution happened because of an electrical fault on a pump, and the circuit did not have a GFCI to protect people from electrocution.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 1:24 AM
Four people dead on the same day, in the same park, in 2 different incidences.

Now that is strange. Or very bad luck.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 4:55 AM
I thought that only one person died trying to save a guy. I'm pretty sure that happened in the pond where Viking Fury and Lieutenant Dan's backporch saloon are.
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Friday, June 9, 2006 7:14 AM
"Black Sunday" - KI's worst day.

Flight Commander was an Intamin Flight Trainer. This was a ride where there were several small two person pods that rotated around a center tower. The ride started an a ring containing all the pods would rise to the top of the tower while rotating. Once it reached the top the ring of tubs would continue to rotate, but the tubs would go into interactive mode where one could slightly raise to lower their tub, or to barrel rolls by means of a joystick mounted in the tub between the two riders. Sort of a flight simulator, and I think the first KI ride to contain a preshow as the queue area played a looping video on how to board the ride, operate the tub, and unload the ride.

In this incident, a passenger, who was later determined to be drunk, boarded the ride, rode single, passed out during the ride. After she passed out, it is presumed that her body shifted hitting the joystick causing her tub to start rolling, it is further presumed that she slid sideways through the car into the unocupied seat. As the tub rolled upside down, she fell to her death. A lot of people point out she was drunk, but still even drunk the ride tub should have restrained her, and returned her to the boarding area, leaving the ride crew with the job of getting her unconsious body out of the tub. Some also claimed the park neglected to install the canopies that would have enlcosed the tubs, but it was pointed out those were not intended to hold a riders weight, only protect those on the ground from loose articles. (I think it would have been neat if they installed the canopies if just for the enclosed cockpit feel). It runs in my mind that I saw a newscast once where they took a pod into a meeting room, and demonstrated that due to a design error (*glares at Intamin*) it could be demonstrated in the safety of the meeting room how a single rider could slide from one seat to the other from under the restraints.

The aftermath was to install a higher seat divider in the tub, and to put a guard around the joystick so you had to operate it with your hands, it could no longer be bumped by legs. By then though the ride already had a stigma, and after several years of catering to very small ridership, was removed. A Eurobungy sits on its site.

Oktoberfest Lake I beleive was determined to be an electrical fault with the lakes aeration unit. A guest for whatever reason (also presumed drunk) fell into the pond which unfortunately was electriified. A park security officer tried to effect a rescue not realizing the pond was electrified. It runs in my mind someone else tried to rescue them by using a rubber garbage can lid.

Aftermath of both incidents was that the park presumed alcohol was to blame, and took alcohol out of the park with the exception of the International Restaurant and group picnics. IT returned in a more limited availability a couple years later, and continues to be more and more available.

Very bleak times, made the local papers for several days.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 9:07 AM
How about "Black Saturday" at Holiday World on 5/31/2003? :(
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Friday, June 9, 2006 9:22 AM
You'll notice at the entrance of Adventure Express has a plaque in memory of the KI employee that was killed on Black Sunday.

I tried doing a Google Image search for a pic of the plaque but one site is 404'ing me!

~Rob Willi

EDIT: Doh! Rideman corrected me on that one, I thought I heard that at a previous Beast Buzz. *** Edited 6/9/2006 8:33:07 PM UTC by HeyIsntThatRob?***

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Friday, June 9, 2006 9:51 AM
Three people died, Lady on Flight commander to which it was determined she tried to get out of it and her daughter even said so.

Two people trying to help the original who fell into the pond behind what is now Bubba Gumps and also is under the Viking Fury. The individual was sitting on the railing and fell in. But he lived. The two helping did not. The park was cited big time for not having proper grounds on all of it's airiation pumps and fountains.

To my recolection I remember no mention of a security guard but two buddies tried to help. They are no longer with us.

Other deaths at the park, Tower Johnny, Woman had anuerism on Top Gun and Ride op struck by King Cobra.

Paramount was not owner of the park in any except the Top Gun aneurism and maintains a above average to excellent guest safety record. The only other death I recall is the PGA drop zone in the entire chain and thats the only one I know of that was off the records a restraint failure of some kind despite the persons inability to control his body. He was both mentally and physically handicap and despite that, IMHO and this is just my own view. He'd be here if there was a seatbelt from the bar to seat as there are now.

Chuck

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Friday, June 9, 2006 9:57 AM
Born to coast? Since when does Tamar Felner breaking rules taking her belt off and standing to begin with put a black mark against HW?

If you need the information reguarding that inccident, Just do a simple search of her name.
and let it be a hard learned lesson for everyone what can happen doing foolish things.

Chuck, still upset to learn others would try something three years later (I don't know what it was, from on ride photography to undoing belts) but it happened.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 11:26 AM
True, Chuck, that ultimately Tamar Felner's decision to break the rules and violate just about every safety guideline known to mankind was the ultimate cause of her death. However, I still have to wonder if the atmosphere of the event in the coaster stations (though the incident happened before ERT) was a contributing factor toward whatever "relaxed" attitude she was taking at the time.

I know the park put a stop to it when they learned about it, but at previous SRMs groups of people bragged about 1-click rides, holding up lapbars with lanyards, and other bad things they did. I can't help but wonder if those experiences and stories from past SRMs contributed to her behavior, even though it was ultimately her choice.

The atmosphere in the stations at HWN couldn't have been further from any of that. I noted security camera footage being reviewed repeatedly on Raven checking that everyone on certain trains was restrained properly, there were ride ops with searchlights scanning the Legend lift hill, there was a "no hand slapping" rule when leaving the station, and, apparently, the zero-tolerance policies put into place resulted in the ejection of several people before the event even started on Friday.

By the way: I've never heard the whole story about Tower Johnny. I've searched all I can and no hits. Details?

*** Edited 6/9/2006 3:27:07 PM UTC by Michael Darling***

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Friday, June 9, 2006 11:30 AM
HeyIsntThatRob the plaque at the entrance to Adventure Express has nothing to do with the events of June 9, 1991. That plaque honors Robert G. Rinckel, Kings Island Construction Manager from 1974-1990. The monument was dedicated on April 12, 1991, two months before the fatal incidents.

(see here for a photo)

I did some research on the incident, and according to newspaper reports:

Timothy Binning (22) was apparently jolted by an electrical shock when he entered a fenced-in pond. His friend William Haithcoat (20) went in after him, followed by park security guard Darrell Robertson (20). Haithcoat and Robertson were both fatally shocked. Binning was hospitalized and was in good condition by the following night. In fact he was released on June 12.

In the other incident, Candy Taylor was riding alone in the Flight Commander and died of multiple trauma when she hit the ground. A coroner's report indicated her blood alcohol level was 0.30 at the time of the accident. In a story published on July 26, 1991, the Cincinnati Enquirer showed a series of photos of ride inspector John Dodson demonstrating how a rider could come out of the Flight Commander if the restraint is open on the empty seat. The Department of Agriculture ruled that the ride design was defective, and therefore cleared the park of any wrongdoing in Taylor's death. OSHA fined the park $23,500 for various violations relating to the electrocutions. Of particular interest is the $5,000 fine for the lack of GFCI protection on a pump circuit, given that such protection was not required by the electrical code when the pump was installed in 1971.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 11:31 AM

Charles Nungester said: The only other death I recall is the PGA drop zone in the entire chain

Someone wiggled out of the restraints on PKD's Togo standup in 1999. I can't find specifics right now, but I seem to remember they were underage and did it deliberately.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 11:32 AM
^^ Don't forget about the Timothy Fan incident at PKD, where it's presumed that he tried getting out of his restraint(s) on Shockwave and was thrown from the car and killed.
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Friday, June 9, 2006 11:45 AM
Not sure of this fact, but if I recall correctly, there was also a PKI employee killed by "the Bat". Don't know if this anything to do with the removal of this ride or not.
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Friday, June 9, 2006 11:50 AM
no one ever died on on 'the bat', it was purely design flaws that eventually lead to its removal
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Friday, June 9, 2006 11:51 AM

Coasterville Dave said:

Some also claimed the park neglected to install the canopies that would have enlcosed the tubs, but it was pointed out those were not intended to hold a riders weight, only protect those on the ground from loose articles. (I think it would have been neat if they installed the canopies if just for the enclosed cockpit feel).


I worked on Great America's version called the Skyhawk. I think it may have been the first one. Anyway, our's originally did have the canopies but they were a nightmare. Not only did they severly increase loading times, but they required a lot of maintenance. They were really uncomfortable for riders on hot days.

And they were dangerous. How do I know? I was checking shoulder harnesses and someone had already pushed the button to closer the canopy. Some canopies had a problem with slamming shut instead of slowly closing as designed. I was checking one of those 'slamming' canopies and it landed right on my head. After a trip to the hospital and some stitches (and complaints from the maintenance department), the canopies were removed. I'm sure after all that, KI decided to learn from our problems.

Anyway, the canopies *might* have saved the woman, but it seems strange that someone could get from under the shoulder harnesses. Then again, if I recall, the seats did not have deep buckets as you would find on a typical Arrow train.

Canopies aside, I understand the ride was a mechanical nightmare and coupled with the KI incident, it was removed after two or three seasons.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 12:31 PM
If anyone still wants the version from King's Dominion, it's sitting out in the field over by Anaconda. I only rode it once, and it was quite interesting.
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Friday, June 9, 2006 12:32 PM

Kraven the Raven said:
Not sure of this fact, but if I recall correctly, there was also a PKI employee killed by "the Bat". Don't know if this anything to do with the removal of this ride or not.

That is pure fiction. I always here the people died, ect on The Bat. Never happened and the two reasons it was removed were lack of banking (It kept wearing out and breaking shock absorbers and a breaking system that was on the bottom of the car like a standared arrow looper. Now if the car was unballanced, The brake fin would not hit squarely on the mark. Later models all have the brake fins above and between the track.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 1:37 PM

janfrederick said:

Coasterville Dave said:

Some also claimed the park neglected to install the canopies that would have enlcosed the tubs, but it was pointed out those were not intended to hold a riders weight, only protect those on the ground from loose articles. (I think it would have been neat if they installed the canopies if just for the enclosed cockpit feel).


I worked on Great America's version called the Skyhawk. I think it may have been the first one. Anyway, our's originally did have the canopies but they were a nightmare. Not only did they severly increase loading times, but they required a lot of maintenance. They were really uncomfortable for riders on hot days.

And they were dangerous. How do I know? I was checking shoulder harnesses and someone had already pushed the button to closer the canopy. Some canopies had a problem with slamming shut instead of slowly closing as designed. I was checking one of those 'slamming' canopies and it landed right on my head. After a trip to the hospital and some stitches (and complaints from the maintenance department), the canopies were removed. I'm sure after all that, KI decided to learn from our problems.

Anyway, the canopies *might* have saved the woman, but it seems strange that someone could get from under the shoulder harnesses. Then again, if I recall, the seats did not have deep buckets as you would find on a typical Arrow train.

Canopies aside, I understand the ride was a mechanical nightmare and coupled with the KI incident, it was removed after two or three seasons.


I know that PKD's version<sky pilot> originally had the canopies because I rode it at least twice<I hated that thing> the second time I went to ride it the canopies had been removed.

Not sure though if the ride was designed to operate with an empty seat's restraints unlocked & in the up position though,most of the time the ops would simply lock the empty seat just as they would on any other ride.

The Shockwave accident in 99 occured the same day as the PGA DZ accident...it was also the same weekend that the accident on that mouse coaster in NJ took place where a mother & daughter were killed as a result of a failure of the anti rollbacks on the car they were riding in.

I've always heard rumors that the reason KK was removed from PKD was due to a fatal accident,but like PKI's Bat that's just an urban legend as the only fatalities to occur on rides at PKD were a man who committed suicide by jumping off the upper deck of the eiffel tower,the Shockwave accident & an accident that occured on galaxi in 83 which resulted in that coaster's removal & Shockwave's installation on the EXACT same footprint in 86.

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Friday, June 9, 2006 1:47 PM
PKDs KK is alive and well and living in Brazil. (If all goes well it will be my 100th Looper when I go to Brazil to ride it. BTW Their Woodie will be my 400th Roller Coaster :) ) *** Edited 6/9/2006 5:48:07 PM UTC by Borntocoast*** *** Edited 6/9/2006 8:14:50 PM UTC by Borntocoast***
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