Bolt blamed in South Korea ferris wheel deaths

Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:38 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A protruding bolt is being blamed for a Ferris wheel accident at an amusement park in South Korea earlier this month which killed five people, police say. The report said the bolt connecting the wheel to the Ferris wheel car had been inserted from outside the wheel, narrowing the space between the car and the wheel. It is usually inserted from the inside. That kept the car from swinging back to its upright position, forcing passengers to fall on a side window and then to their deaths as the window broke under their weight.

Read more from AP via The Sydney Morning Herald.

Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:44 AM
That was quick.

Unbelievable though how something so simple as a bolt can have such horrendous consequences.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 1:40 PM
Too true. It never seems like it's the complex parts. Always the O-rings, jack screws, bolts, etc.

I couldn't help thinking about this tragedy when I was riding the Big Wheel at Indiana beach this weekend. I was actually checking the gondola for things to hold onto.

*** This post was edited by Frantic Ferret 8/23/2007 1:41:10 PM ***

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 2:46 PM
How did the wheel not get tested after the bolt was reinserted?
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Friday, August 24, 2007 5:33 PM
I was wondering that too, but the article seems to indicate that it was a combination of the bolt sticking out and the door not fully closing because of a worn out latch. I'm guessing that during testing cycles, or previous circuits with riders, the bolt must have narrowly cleared the car.
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Saturday, August 25, 2007 8:54 AM
Clearances in mechanics are fairly incredible things. I worked several years in a machine shop. We made and repaired hydrualic devices for the steel industry. Some of the clevices, when pinned in place, only had a few thousandths of an inch clearance. More often than not, through heat and pressure, something would warp and BANG, instant catastrophic failure, and usually an injury.

In this case, the bolt being put in backward, (ie, coming from the wrong side) it was only a matter of time before the accident occured.

I hate ferris wheels.

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