Cedar Point's Shoot The Rapids rolls back off lift, one rider transported to hospital

Posted Friday, July 19, 2013 10:53 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Seven riders were injured today on Shoot the Rapids at Cedar Point after a boat rolled back down a lift hill. The riders were treated at the park's first aid center. Six were released, but one was transported to Firelands Regional Medical Center for further evaluation, and later released.

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Friday, July 19, 2013 10:56 PM

Thank goodness for all the guests who jumped in to save the lives of the passengers. And no, I'm not trying to engage in hyperbole with that statement.

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Friday, July 19, 2013 11:11 PM

Wow. What a story. First of all, it's great that there are people in the world who can still jump into action when there are people around them in danger. Kudos to them. They deserve all the praise in the world.

Second of all, why does Intamin rides always have problems? The list of things that have gone terribly wrong on Intamin rides over the years is very, very long.

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Friday, July 19, 2013 11:36 PM

You all may remember a thread (I believe it was the one about SkyRush's axle problems) where I rushed to the defense of Intamin. I don't think you're going to see me take that route again in this case. ;)

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Friday, July 19, 2013 11:52 PM

This is a log flume. It's not like it is some new, innovative, push the envelope concept.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:02 AM

I disagree with you that this is a "log flume." They removed a log flume to install Maverick. Shoot the Rapids is a replacement for the log flume, but it isn't a log flume. I do agree with you that the technology that this ride should be using has been around for a very long time and problems such as this should have been figured out already.

Last edited by LostKause, Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:02 AM
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Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:13 AM

LostKause said:

Shoot the Rapids is a replacement for the log flume, but it isn't a log flume.

What do you mean by this, is it an insult? Because that old log flume ride was nothing special.

Shoot the Rapids I was surprised to find has a chain lift hill like a coaster, don't most of the older log flumes have like a roller lift hill?

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:26 AM

That is one of the many ways in which Shoot the Rapids is not what most of us would recognize as a log flume. I'm not really sure *what* it is, to be honest...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:53 AM

They're damn lucky that this happened on the first lift where the incident was easily observed by operations staff and guests, and was within reach for guests to jump into the water to right the boat.

Rampant speculation ahead...

On the new generation of Intamin flume rides, there's a center i-beam that runs down the middle of the "track" that appears to keep the boat centered. I've always wondered what would happen if the boat took a bad bounce or if there was an obstruction when the boat engages the lift; is it possible that the boat could ride on top of this i-beam and then only be partially engaged with the chain lift?

You can see the start of the first lift hill here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shCyUzTqdto#t=1m59s

Last edited by PhantomTails, Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:53 AM
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Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:04 AM

sirloindude said:

You all may remember a thread (I believe it was the one about SkyRush's axle problems) where I rushed to the defense of Intamin. I don't think you're going to see me take that route again in this case. ;)

Ok then, I will.

There have been some catastrophic failures on Intamin rides, yes, but compare their vast collection of products to say B&M's. Does B&M build drop towers, water rides, dark rides, simulators, flat rides, towers, and giant wheels? Then compare how different the technology in Intamin's coasters are and how most of them are custom.

Machines break, and the more designs you have, the greater your chances are for failure. Don’t get me wrong, this failure was awful, and I feel so sorry for those that had to go through this. But, I’d say one’s chances of dying on an Intamin are one in several hundred million rides. If anyone thinks that’s an awful safety record, then don’t bother doing anything in life.

Kudos to all the heroes in the park, and I’m happy that this didn’t turn out worse. I’m not sure what this means for StR’s future, but I don’t really care about the ride anyway.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:28 AM

If we had a discussion every time someone was injured driving a car, we'd have a lot of discussions. We rarely have this discussion about roller coaster or ride malfunction leading to injury. The fact is that this incident is rare. It's not medium rare, it's very rare. If you are scared to ride a roller coaster because of stuff like this, please feel free to refrain from riding in a car, playing sports, and other things that can induce accidents resulting in injuries or death. Those things have probably a bigger chance of that happening than a ride.

I wouldn't mind Cedar Point replacing Shoot the Rapids. The location would make a nice spot for a compact GCI. Maybe I'm over-speculating, but this ride does have mechanical problems. The boat often gets stuck on the lift. Also, don't you think that CP wants to make a run at Magic Mountain for most coasters?

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:02 AM

No, Tyler.

This is not the first design problem found on Shoot the Rapids. Intamin couldn't even get draining the boats right until after the ride was already open. Also, wasn't there an issue at first about the boats traveling way to slowly through the channel?
These people are extremely lucky that they didn't drown.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:13 AM

Isn't this the first major injury situation on the ride?

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:20 AM

The boats still travel way too slowly. The design is a failure in multiple ways.

Does anyone know if Cedar Point / Intamin have some sort of contract that should the ride persistently face problems or have a catastrophic failure, then Intamin must repair/replace the ride at their expense?

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:21 AM

I never paid that much attention to the track/lift mechanisms when I rode it. Just enough to know that it doesn't count as a credit like Journey to Atlantis does.

From the POV video linked above, it looks to me like going up the hill the boat is held in place by 3 things: The chain dogs, (that grip the chain, left) the anti-rollback dogs, (that fall onto the sawtooth looking rail, right) and the "I-beam" (center.) The chain looks covered, meaning the boat shouldn't be able to just lift up and jump off the chain and roll back, theoretically. The I-beam should also prevent the boat from lifting. So in my mind, in order for a rollback to occur, you'd have to have a failure of both the chain dogs and the anti-rollback dogs occur within 30 seconds or so of each other. Not impossible, but improbable.

A more likely scenario (which I just made up) would be something like the left side of the boat engages the chain, while the center jumps the I-beam. This would cause the boat to lean left as it ascends the hill. Perhaps this places too much stress on the chain dogs, which snap. Then the train, with nothing else holding it, rolls back.

Again, just something I made up in my head. Not trying to pass it off as fact or anything, just speculation. And in reality, I hate speculation, so please take this with a huge grain of salt.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:23 AM

No, not really, Tyler. This may not be the time to predict what new coaster will come in the place of the disgraced Shoot the Rapids or talk about a coaster war. C'mon. And I would disagree with your car/sports analogy. People who engage in driving or playing softball are automatically assuming an inherent risk that involves user responsibility in some way. A better analogy might be those who sit at the ball park and 'risk' getting beaned by a fly ball or those who board a commercial airliner, totally trusting the pilot and the equipment with virtually no control over what might happen.

There was some old oft-quoted statistic that more people die at a pool table than on amusement rides. But it doesn't make it any less painful for the people involved when it does happen. These were people out to the park for a fun day, that unfortunately turned bad, and there's apparently a mechanical error at fault.

This is a bad day for Cedar Point and in the end probably Intamin as well. We'll see how it shakes down.

Does anyone here seem to think or remember as I do, that when incidents like this happen it's usually mid-summer and there's a rash of accidents? Seems we see something at SFOT, and a couple of things, all at once, at CP. Strange.

Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:30 AM
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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:44 AM

RCMAC said:

People who engage in driving or playing softball are automatically assuming an inherent risk that involves user responsibility in some way.

I agree, amusement rides are SUPPOSED to be assumed to be safe.

This whole incident reminds me a bit of SFNE's Blizzard River. This accident is lawsuit-worthy, for sure.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 7:46 AM

If there was any question about how much new business Intamin would get from Cedar Fair, I think this settles that. My wife made a couple of visits to the park before she joined me in the move, and thought it was odd that in the ridiculous heat the ride seemed to be down more than it was up.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 7:48 AM

PhantomTails said:
Rampant speculation ahead...

On the new generation of Intamin flume rides, there's a center i-beam that runs down the middle of the "track" that appears to keep the boat centered. I've always wondered what would happen if the boat took a bad bounce or if there was an obstruction when the boat engages the lift; is it possible that the boat could ride on top of this i-beam and then only be partially engaged with the chain lift?

I've always wondered how the boats were secured to the lifthills.

There is always that chance that it could've not lined up properly and and went up the way you suggested. That may have been what happened, we will never know.

It will be interesting to see if they are done dealing with this rides issues.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:04 AM

Jeph, in response to your response to my response, I'm not saying I feel unsafe on Intamin rides. I just rode Bizarro without a second's hesitation yesterday, and I'd do it again today were I going to SFNE. Your defense is very similar to the one I gave back during the SkyRush discussion.

My point, and this ties in somewhat with my response to the New Texas Giant situation, is that there are some things that genuinely shouldn't fail. It'd be one thing if this was a situation with a new launch system that malfunctioned. It isn't, though. It's a roll back down a lift hill, the prevention of which was developed generations ago.

I'd like to be wrong and I would again hope that it was some one-off situation caused by something nobody could in any way predict. I'll gladly admit that I was wrong if such proves to be the case. I'm just saying that this ride has experienced blunders that were pretty much without excuse in the past, and so my initial assumption, and I emphasize that word, is that this was probably something that should have been easily preventable.

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