Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2021 9:34 AM | Contributed by Jeff
A visually impaired boy nearly had his legs severed in a freak accident on a roller coaster in Branson, Missouri on Sunday. Aalando Perry, 11, reportedly was exiting the ride when he fell below the rails and was trapped. His grandmother said both of his legs and right arm were crushed, and doctors don’t know if they will be able to save his legs.
Read more from WREG/Memphis.
That poor kid. Tragic and preventable on multiple levels. I am always sketched out by mountain coasters.
I am very curious to know the sequence of events that led to this.
There are hundreds of alpine coasters out there. This type of thing should not be possible.
This is the coaster that’s on the strip. It’s a non-traditional layout, as riders start at the top of the course by the street make their way down the hill, then it hits a lift halfway through. The poor kid got to that point and thought the ride was over and got out. It wasn’t over, the car kept moving, and he was in serious trouble.
So that makes sense. My only thing was who sends a blind kid down something like that on his own? Grandmas story is the kid came clean about his impairment at the start, and his brother was there to ride with him. But the ops were like “nah…”.
These mountain coasters are in a weird category. It’s not like an active sport, like a luge, but it’s not like a hands in the air coaster ride either. Riders have control over speed, but to a degree. To thwart collisions (which were common at first) strong magnets were mounted to the nose and the ass end of each car so they’ll repel each other. That way wrecks either don’t happen or are calmed down sufficiently.
So what’s next, and what’s the right thing to do? Increased regulations? A locking lap bar?
This is a shame.
Well, this one has brake lights, and I've ridden at least one (might have been Goats on the Roof...) that has a locking seat belt buckle...
As for the regulatory side, I know ASTM F24 has convened task groups to talk about mountain coasters; not sure if they are contemplating a new standard or just making sure they are covered in the existing standards...those meetings usually conflict with groups I am more involved with, so I haven't listened in on the mountain coaster meetings.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
/X\ _ *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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My only thing was who sends a blind kid down something like that on his own?
They may not have known they were sending a blind kid. In the interview the grandmother kept using the term "visually impaired" and I don't know if that is the new term for blind but if I heard someone say that, my first thought isn't blind but rather someone who just had bad vision.
“Visually impaired” is not a new term. It’s usage is preferred as it includes the varying degrees and categories of blindness.
He has Marfan’s disease, which is inherited. It’s progressive and affects connective tissue throughout the body, so blood vessels and eyes are some things that are at risk.
She stated her grandson has “just 15% vision in one of his eyes.” I’d assume the other one is shot as he’s learning Braille and mobility using a cane. His brother was there as an escort, but the two allegedly relied on the advice of a ride op who said they could (should?) ride separately. I feel that’s going to be where the heart of the case lies. Any of us who have been on a mountain coaster know that double riders are permitted. Grandma claims they were refused. There’s a missing part of the story here, but the boy’s blindness isn’t it.
At any rate, any responsible operator always errs on the side of caution, and once a disability is identified proper safety measures go into place, no question. I’d think good vision would be essential for safe operation- the rider controls the speed from mild to wild and must be able to assess the surroundings in spite of back up safety devices on the sled.
And whatever happened, the tragedy lies in the fact that the boy was losing his eyesight and now will have to do without limbs as well.
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