Yesterday I visited Coney Island, where 95% of the rides were closed due to the lousy weather. While I was standing in front of the Schwarzkopf Jumbo Jet loading platform admiring the coaster, a guy came up to me and told me about an accident that occurred last Sunday in which a car derailed and injured the three people riding. He even pointed out the suspect vehicle laying on the ground in the middle of the coaster with a tarp over it, but it was hard to verify if it was in fact a coaster car while staring through rain, fog, and supports (and a blue tarp, of course). I generally take news like this (especially from complete strangers) with a big slab of salt, but something about the way he described it aroused within me quite a bit of curiosity. Also, I hadn't even noticed that there were no other cars on the track until I thought about it later.
I looked it up on the net when I got home last night, and I came up emptyhanded. Finally, I tried a different angle and found one little blurb about it that was posted by a parkgoer on a bulletin board on Coney Island's website the day of the incident. I've since generated a bit more interest with my post last night. You can read the original series of messages here (the first posted by a user named Mike on April 21st):
The active bulletin board is here:
Why on Earth hasn't this incident been all over the news? I repeat, I am quite befuddled...
Coaster Count: 99
*** This post was edited by Vater on 4/29/2002. ***
Vater, I have worked at several parks that have had accidents yet the information doesn't make it to the news. How many times do you hear of accidents at Disney World? Once every couple of years? Do you really think there are no accidents at 4 amusement parks and three water parks in TWO years?
I suspect this is why you have not heard anything about Coney Island.
Coaster Count: 99
What's love...it should be about us, it should be about trust!
If someone was in very critical condition, I feel almost certain that the news media would have picked up on it. It's too good a story to pass up on, especially after the feeding frenzy that the media had on even minor incidents on rides last years. (Speaking of feeding frenzies I notice that they have already started to pick up on shark attack stories again this year.)
A Jumbo Jet car sitting in the middle of the ride could be just pulled for maintenance, or it could have had a minor break down. But flying off the track? That would have been on every news show in the country!
Yes accidents happen in amusement parks every day. The list of injuries is going to be large when you have 300 million attendance every year doing anything. The fact that you have so many minor and a some major injuries is precisely why they are not news. They are too ordinary. But a coaster flying off the track is not ordinary and would be big news.
Remember that only one person died in a ride accident at an amusement park last year. Few things in life are that safe. However, an estimated 20 people were killed while driving their cars to and from the park.
*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 4/29/2002. ***
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