Cable failure on slingshot-style ride sends carriage into support

Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015 10:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A cable on a slingshot-style ride at a French amusement park snapped during operation and sent a car containing two passengers crashing into a support. A video posted to YouTube by spectator Claude Pons at Luna Park in the town of Cap d'Agde shows the "Fifth Element" ride launch on the evening of Aug. 4 and "slingshot" up and down once while two passengers spin inside a ball-shaped car.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015 10:55 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

This is why I don't trust my safety to giant rubber bands. I'm so glad I have always avoided this system on these rides.

R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 10:56 AM
Jeff's avatar

But isn't this one with the cables? It looked like it, but I guess I can't tell for sure in the dark video. If it is, then it's a double cable failure.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015 11:17 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I had to watch it several times, but there's definitely what looks like a white sheath over the cable - when it snaps you can see shreds of what I assume to be rubber go flying in what looks like a dust cloud, and then there are multiple strands flapping in the breeze.

Also, the way it goes slack at the top, and the lack of a visible spring cage on the platform lead me to believe it's powered by bungee.

R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 11:40 AM
Thabto's avatar

Another one? This is about the third one to happen this year.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015 12:14 PM

These parks have been super lucky in that the failures have occurred before launch or at the low point of the ride. I'd hate to see what would happen if a cable snapped at the height of the launch.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 1:30 PM
janfrederick's avatar

It would make sense that a failure would happen when the system was under stress.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 1:44 PM
Vater's avatar

Right, but I think PhantomTails' point is that it didn't happen when the carriage was at its highest point. You can see in the video that the carriage didn't rocket up towards the support at nearly the velocity it did on the way down (right before the snap). Gravity would assist its speed instead of working against it. All else being equal, I think the impact would have been a decent bit harder had the cable snapped at the top.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 4:52 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

And I think jan's point is that it is under much more stress at the bottom than the top, making a failure at the bottom much more likely.

843 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

Thursday, August 13, 2015 10:55 AM
Vater's avatar

It's still under stress at the top, is it not?

Thursday, August 13, 2015 3:22 PM


I watched the vid again and you can see before the ride takes off, right where the snap happens, a spot in the cable that doesn't look right. Like a bulge, or some kind of damage. Yikes.

I've bungee jumped once in my life (never again, thank you) and I was impressed by the amount of care given to the cords and the humans before they go. I was weighed at 4 different stations and carried that number written down with me. The cords are of different thicknesses and lengths, with the shortest, stubbiest (strongest) reserved for the heavier rider. (me, as it turned out...). The cords were constantly inspected and replaced if necessary. The connections, boots, clips, straps, etc were under constant review and checked twice by each person on the crew. While I was still petrified at least I felt safe...

These rides don't have that going for them. On a busy day they're stretched hundreds of times, maybe thousands during a run without getting replaced, ya never know. They bear the weight of the cage and riders who come in various sizes. It's no wonder they're stressed and give out. I think the bungee style slingshots are scarier and less controlled feeling, but no thanks. I'll take the spring and cable style.
Although now that I think about it, one year at the Ohio State Fair there was an incident where one of the cables didn't contract properly leaving riders in the air and on their sides for a better part of the evening. And that was the end of Thrill Zone rides at the fair. No bungee, no slingshot, no sky coaster, no skyscraper ever again after that.


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