Cedar Point guest hit by Top Thrill Dragster part while in queue

Posted | Contributed by hambone

A guest at Cedar Point was injured Sunday afternoon after being hit by a falling part from Top Thrill Dragster, one of the park’s roller coasters. Her condition is unknown. A park spokesman says "a small metal object became disengaged from a train."

Read more from Cleveland.com.

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Social media is full of speculation and "I know someone who knows someone who was there" and "this will get the ride torn down."

That said, if it turns out to be an actual mechanical fault over a loose article (which does seem to be the case based on the statement from Tony Clark), I'll be interested to see if it's another Intamin failure to add to the list.

Let's be careful blaming a manufacturer for some type of design failure on a ride that is nearing 20 years old. This is a high performance piece of machinery with a lot of moving parts under an incredible amount of stress.

I don't think any speculation is warranted until there are some facts. Down here in Florida we have cities trying to rewrite their building codes because of the tragedy in Surfside...and we don't even know yet what caused that building to fall. Everyone should be thinking about the victim and her family and should be taking a breath about the rest.

Fun's avatar

Speculating and extrapolating without sufficient information is what we do best around here.

Even if the ride is almost 20 years old, if something happens because of what winds up being a design flaw, it's possible you could trace it to a manufacturer.

(and if it wasn't a 2000s era Intamin, I wouldn't even immediately go there. But since it is...)

OhioStater's avatar

Here is an update from the Sandusky Register. It does seem to re-confirm the idea that something came off the ride and into the queue.


Bodycam video also posted by the Register:


And last but not least an interview from an "eyewitness" who was also in the queue:


Whatever it was seems to have flown quite a distance. Terrifying.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

Jeff's avatar

I'm very skeptical of the "bolt" theory. There are not a lot of large pieces on the outside of the train that would be able to disconnect and move forward as the train decelerates in the brakes other than the axels themselves. If it was a wheel component, I wouldn't think the train could roll back to the station. All speculation on my part, but it just feels more plausible to be a loose article.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

OhioStater's avatar

If it was a piece of the train/structure Cedar Point would know by now, and it would be pretty easy to figure out what it was; just look for what's missing from that train/structure.

I was surprised the official comment from the park via Tony was explicit in saying a piece of the ride came off, and not just "an as yet undetermined object".

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

Absolutely horrific. Did they never find the projectile? Or haven’t announced anything publicly yet?

Well, first and foremost, my thoughts and prayers for this woman, her family, friends, and everyone else affected by this. I do have a friend that was in line and was within feet of her when it occurred. He found himself to be more and more shaken by the incident the later the night went on, and kept coming back to the thought that it could have been him. He says he saw the part fly by him as well.

What I find strange is where in line this woman was when she was struck. Viewing the body cam footage, she is away from the return track, under the canopy, so how did the part get there? Did it cut through the canopy out of view, or bounce off something? My friend wasn't sure either.

I'm wondering if we will see a redesign of the ride queue? Maybe solid fencing will be added to the return run side, much like there is on the maintenance side to protect those in the line, or some other mechanism to protect those in line? Total speculation on my part, but seems like a possible outcome, especially when an insurance company gets involved (which I can only assume will happen here).

Again, my thoughts and prayers for this woman.

Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

I was thinking the same thing. I was wondering if she had been moved from the location of the strike as I was just trying to understand the "flight" of the object relative to those shade covers. It must have almost been "thrust" perpendicularly or been at a relatively low flat angle of descent...with yet some serious enough velocity to inflict significant injury.

OhioStater's avatar

I would think they wouldn't move a person with serious head trauma, much less move that person between queue railings, which would require a lot of jostling.

I was also surprised to see where she was at, but a foreign object flying at speeds in excess of 100mph could take a path to that spot. It seems to me she was just quite literally in the wrong place at the worst time, but if not her it would have been whoever else had stepped into that exact spot at that exact time.

The witness describes the object as flying in, hitting one of the shades, and shooting down.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

Ah, problem solved, then. Remove the shade.

I still want to know what it was. The mechanism is clear enough; we tend to forget that if a system is moving at 120 MPH and some part of that system becomes separated from that system, that part will continue moving at 120 MPH until something stops it.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

I don’t want to try to downplay the severity of what happened. However, I have to wonder what that part was there for. If it’s as large as it sounds like, I suspect it may have been load bearing. Then what would happen if they launched a train with that part missing. If the part had gone the other way into the swamp under Iron Dragon instead of the queue, it’s certainly plausible that no one would have noticed the missing part and sent the train again. As bad as this incident was, I wonder if it could have been worse.

Last edited by 0g,

But how large was the part? Pop can size? A bolt with a head the size of a quarter that fits in a pants pocket? A disc of undetermined size? Does anyone really know the size?

Jeff's avatar

Unless they know there's something missing from the train, I don't imagine they know it was from the ride at all.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Not to be speculative or downplay how serious the injury was, but if we find out it was in fact something from a rider (phone, keys, etc) and not a piece of the ride, I imagine every major ride at a Cedar Fair park will turn into how Universal handles Hulk in terms of loose articles.

eightdotthree's avatar

Just to keep it in the same park... Steel Vengeance doesn't allow for anything to be carried on anymore.

hambone's avatar

It's hard to believe the object hasn't been identified yet, unless someone else in line absconded with it - which seems unlikely.

I totally get why the park isn't offering any details.

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