Child dies after riding coaster at PA fair

Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:03 AM | Contributed by SLFAKE

A boy at the York, PA fair died after the roller coaster he was riding came to a sudden stop. He was originally treated by first aid, then transported to the hospital where he apparently underwent surgery. Details of the incident are unclear at this time.

Read more from The York Daily Record.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:24 AM
Oh My God, Can't believe so many sad things are happening to amusement parks and coasters today. This is one of the worst summers for coaster. My heart goes to the family.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:24 AM
Sincere condolences to the boy's family.  I'm guessing that the ride hit the brakes HARD (kind of like a wild mouse), and had insufficient restraints to prevent riders from being thrown forward.  That particular fair has now had THREE deaths since '93.  Makes you wonder...
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rollergator - intent on improving the "guest experience" - coming soon to a park near you
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:27 AM
This hasn't been the worst summer for coasters. Quite frankly, it has been pretty average. You're just not used to having the Internet.

PA has a pretty tough state inspection program, right?

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
"From the global village... in the age of communication!"
Watch the grass grow!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:31 AM
Right now the local radio stations and the newspapers are all saying the same thing... which isn't much (not even how old the boy was or if he was riding single).

The restraint system on this coaster was what can be best described as "passive"... that is, no lap bar, no belt, just bars that run the length of the inside of the car along the sides that you hold on to (similar to log flume hand rails). The cars are designed for 3 people (though personally that would be a tight fit) that would ride "bobsled" style... one seat, single file (again, like log flume seating).

On Friday evening the stop at the end seemed no more jolting than on other coasters.

According to radio reports, the coaster is inspected daily. Not sure exactly how PA's inspections compare to other states.

To see a pic of the type of coaster this is, go to the RCDB and look up Morey's Piers Flitzer. These are basically the same ride, only difference is the paint job.

Gatorwoodie stated that the fair has had 3 deaths since 1993. I can remember the log flume one in 1994 (and the article today does not go into detail about the 1994 death, but at the time I remember hearing that there may have been other factors involved... i.e. possibly "controld substances"), but I do not remember any other ones.

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."


*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 9/11/2001. *** *** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 9/11/2001. ***

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 6:47 AM
Thank you Jeff. I was just about to say, this is one of the best summers ever. Three of the people who died had pre-existing conditions. I would say 1999 was a much worse summer.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 7:06 AM
Taking a breath from all the hell that is breaking loose this morning...

Yes, 1999 was worse. As Intamin Fan said, pre existing conditions attributed to most of the deaths this year. The York Fair death is still under investigation. I'm still trying to figure how he could have been thrown forward from a seated position. Perhaps if he was the first person of 3 passengers he could have been propelled into the front of the car. However I am leaving all speculation out until we learn more.

At least two of the 1999 deaths were directly related to ride malfunction (the mother and daughter at Gillian's Pier in NJ)

With all of the national news breaking this morning, this coaster story will be burried pretty deep in the national news (if it would have even gotten there in the first place). I'll try to keep every one posted on any local stories related to this.


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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:30 AM
Does the ride in question operate (as designed) with no active restraints, or has the operator equipped it with seat belts?

I'm remembering the Starchaser incident at Kentucky Kingdom (now the Capacity Nightmare at Crackaxle Canyon at The Great Escape) where a rider suffered (nonfatal) internal injuries which were attributed to the seat belt...had there not been a seat belt, she probably would not have been injured.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:57 AM
there are  2 flitzers by me and they both have seat belts on them.  so I don't know why this one didn't
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:19 AM
Rideman,

It operates with no active restraints.

From personal experience this past friday night, this particular coaster is a fast ride at some points, but not too rough and with no "air time" that popped me out of my seat. There was a slight jolt at the end, but nothing that is an ejecting type of force... I stayed in my seat quite securely. Of course, I also do weigh more than a "child".

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 12:11 PM
Interesting.

I wonder if it was a collision with a car on the last brake. Under normal circumstances, there should be no way for that thing to stop suddenly enough to throw a kid with enough force to cause internal injuries. Hmmmmm...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 12:46 PM
Interesting you would say that. I did note that the line of cars did seem to be stacked up pretty deep by the "platform" (I hesitate to call it a station on a portable like this). Basically what you have is a straight section of track by the platform. A car will roll away from the platform and into a 90degree turn to right and on to the lift hill. At the end of the ride the cars go through a fast S curve section and then onto the break run. After the last break, the track turns 90 degrees to the right and back to the platform.

On Friday night only my wife and I were riding it. We rode in separate cars because of the tight fit. She rode first. When I my car came to the break run, I did notice that the car that she had ridden in was just in the curved section of track that leads to the platform straight section with cars stacked up the entire length of the station. It did strike me that the tail end of the last car stacked on the station had very little track between it and the last breaks.

I also am wondering something else... these cars have passive restraints... no lap bars, no belts. A person who is of normal weight or heavier is not going to move (in my opinion) when the car comes to a stop. If the person is of light weight (i.e. too short to ride) or would not be in the proper seated position (no matter of their weight) they could be thrown forward.

Not sure if either ofthese cases apply here. I do know this... on several rides I did observe the operators checking height of riders and turning away kids who were too short to ride, so they were checking height on some rides... not sure about Flitzer (my wife and I were the only two boarding and we were both well above the limit)

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 2:28 PM
This Definitley has been the worst summer for coasters and people this year. Aaliyah and the people in the plane, and the World Trade Center. This Summer has to be the worst for me.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 4:24 PM
When I worked at the dutchess county fair this group was there. The carneys were nice and gave me free rides. That could have essaly been me. eech

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http://wcp.77th.com

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 4:59 PM
This day totally Sucks!
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You know that 8Minute Abs, well I will create something better: 7Minute Abs!-There's Something About Mary
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:40 PM
coastergoose's commented pretty much sum up the day alright.

I have a feeling that any accident that has happened during the summer will be over shadowed by today's events...A day that will live in infamy, indeed.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:49 PM
Hardy from BB2 is from York, PA. Cool. As for this happening to a little child. THAT is definitely not cool. I would hate to be in his/her parent's position.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2001 5:11 AM
Today's edition of the YDR has this...

- The child was a 7 year old boy (I'm not going to state his name here)

- The ride appeared to be functioning normally

- PA has one of the "finest inspection programs" for travelling fairs etc.

- On Monday the operators were "a 12 year employee with a good service record" and "a 20 year company veteran."

- Gene Shenk, York Fair VP, stated "Their safety record, their equipment, their people, their integrety... there probably the best in the business"

(all quotes are from the York Daily Record, Tuesday morning edition... it can be read on line).

Yesterday, with all of the events in NY and DC, the York Fair remained open (unlike many amusement parks), but the Flitzer will be down for the duration of the fair and possibly longer, pending the outcome of the investigation. As I drove by this morning, it is still sitting on the midway with yellow police tape around it. I'm assuming it is easier to leave it up rather than to disassemble it while the fair is in operation.

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

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Wednesday, September 12, 2001 4:43 PM
I'm sure they want to keep the ride assembled as is until the investigation is complete.  This is necessary to conduct an accurate inquiry into the accident.
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Thursday, September 13, 2001 5:10 AM
Again, from the York Daily Record...

- Autopsy has shown that the boy died from a "lacerated inferior vena cava" (the vein that carries blood from the lower body) "causee by multiple blunt force trauma."

- It official report also stated that it was caused by the accident on the coaster.

- officials are still testing the coaster with a 150lb test dummy to determine speed and stopping.

- Reithoffer officials will not comment while the investigation is in progress.


Jim Fisher's right about leaving the ride assembled for the investigation... never even thought of that. Even if the investigation would be completed though, it would be nearly impossible to take the ride down with all of the other things so near by.

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..." *** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 9/13/2001. ***

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