Dragster riders upset how CP treated them after coaster mishap

Posted | Contributed by supermandl

Riders involved in Monday's incident on Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster, where they were hit by metal fragments from a fraying cable, say they weren't taken seriously after the incident.

Read more and see video from WEWS/Cleveland.

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Yeah, that is the area I was referring to. I have no idea why it is blocked off and I really couldn't come up with anything. I am all for accessibility to the rides for non-riders and I was surprise to see that area closed off.

I was just hypothesizing that there might have been concern about something coming off the ride.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Sorry, Gemini - I changed the wording in my post after you quoted me, because after I tought about it, I don't know how they could get hit by metal there.

I am not saying the kids should sue or that they would win. I am saying they deserve to more upset than you might be if a waitress spilled a coke on you and the manager only offered you a free mint.

Ok, fair enough. But it leads me into a question I've been forgetting to ask from the start:

"What could CP have done in light of the accident to 'appease' these riders"?

Seems to me the answer in every case is some sort of payoff. I'm sure they were apologized to. They received medical attention. Anything beyond that becomes a payoff to me.

Mamoosh's avatar
Yes, Gonch...but in this case we have not heard the entire story from either party.
Lord Gonchar's avatar
Good point.
Mamoosh's avatar
Make that parties: the riders, CP, and Intamin.
We haven't? I thought those kids have been telling their story to anyone who'll listen ...
Well, there are a couple of issues here.

First is the accident itself. Second is how the accident was handled.

I have no idea what, if anything was offered to those kids. Perhaps it was nothing, perhaps it was the farm. Who knows? Even if they had been offered free day passes or free season tickets it wouldn't have guaranteed that they would just go away quietly.

I am just not convinced that this an unforseen accident. I have a minimal amount of knowledge about rollercoasters and even less knowledge about launched coasters. But, when I was standing on the platform of Dragster waching the trains takeoff I was thinking about all types of things.

I was surprised about how close non-riders could get to the launch area. I was thinking about the effects of a cable snapping. I was watching the incredible vibrations on the rear of the trains as there were flying down the track. I was wondering what would happen if an wheel came off or a chassis had a structural problem right as the train hit its max speed.

I didn't know the answers to all those questions but I had assumed someone did and had figured it all out. Now I am not so sure.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
The area around Storm Runner is even closer and you can even walk under the launch track.

This picture isn't done with a zoom. It was done with the lens as wide as my little digital camera will go (35mm). You can get that close to the operating ride.

Hershey doesn't seem to think there's a safety issue either. (for whatever reason)

Edit- added photo example

*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar 7/15/2004 3:37:23 PM ***

Gemini's avatar
I was disappointed to see it closed off as well, wahoo. It was a good picture spot (for Dragster and Paddlewheel). Despite what slfake thinks, sometimes the park does make silly decisions. Who knows - they may have a wonderful reason.

They allow non-riders pretty close to the action on the midway side. Given that, I can't see how they would be worried about safety on the Paddlewheel side.

Seemingly unrelated questions: What is the climate around where Intamin's offices are, and does Intamin build prototypes of their designs near their offices a-la what Arrow/S&S do in Utah?
Gemini's avatar
OK, I know this isn't the same thing ... but let me play devil's advocate for a second. What if a seagull flew in the path of the train and someone got a direct hit in the face causing severe injury? Would it be reasonable for that person to be upset at Cedar Point and bring legal action because the park could foresee that there was a potential for a seagull to fly into the launch area and they could foresee that an impact at 120 MPH would be bad?
Honestly Gemini, with the legal system the way it is, I think Cedar Point would lose that case in a heartbeat, and although I personally don't feel this way, in the legal sense, that's probably a much more clear cut case than this one is.

The launch track is open. Without it being enclosed, CP cannot really aruge that they put forth 100% effort to reducing the chances of birds getting in the way.

The cable? That's an entirely different story (and I'm still not convinced this metal didn't come from the train or the track, not the cable, especially since the people in the front rows either weren't affected or aren't boohooing ... )

Gemini's avatar
There's no reason to go there and doesn't help your argument. It doesn't really matter what part of the ride the metal came from - it was from the ride. It's not like the situation changes if it came from the track or the cable rubbing against something else. And it had nothing to do whether or not the riders were holding on.

The kids on the news may not be the only ones involved. The reports are 4 were injured. They interviewed 5 on TV, but only a couple of them might be part of that "4" number. Still, whether or not we've seen all those involved, the facts about the minor injuries, refusing transport to the hospital, etc., remain.

*** This post was edited by Gemini 7/15/2004 3:53:56 PM ***

When Fabio got hit by the bird at Busch Gardens I think I remember reading that A/B was installing some type of system that would "discourage" birds from coming near the ride. Now, I don't know if that system was a guy in camoflauge with a shotgun or something more high tech.

I was speculating about the closed off area near Paddlewheel. I really have no idea why it would have been done unless it related in some way to Dragster. Maybe it was a case of, "Check the paths in your park..guests are unhappy." "Guest #752 is lost and can't find his way home."

What argument? Apparently I'm implying something I don't mean because that's 3 different people who keep seeing that I'm arguing something ... whatever!

I'm not trying to argue any point other than they're kids grandstanding because they didn't get what they feel is an apropriate "reward" for being hurt on the ride and don't deserve a payoff.

Since I can't seem to convey that, I'm outta here. ..

Jeff's avatar
Busch put nets in around the track area for Apollo. They appear to work, at least until a goose gets trapped between them. :)
Gemini's avatar
When I say your argument, I meant the position that you are taking that Cedar Point is not to blame here. You can argue that position without advancing theories that the cable isn't involved. I'm not sure why you're questioning the cable.
Mamoosh's avatar
I'm not trying to argue any point other than they're kids grandstanding because they didn't get what they feel is an apropriate "reward" for being hurt on the ride and don't deserve a payoff.

Perhaps they are, Brett. Perhaps they see a quick, easy way to make some money. Or perhaps they are being truthful and CP dropped the ball on this one. My point [and I'm not finger pointing at you] is that since NONE OF US witnessed any of what happened it seems a bit premature to immediately jump to that conclusion and side with the park.

I prefer to keep an open mind until I get more facts.

rollergator's avatar
I think the term "contributory negligence" might be more appropriate to the riders' actions on the ride. Sure, they WERE doing something that is technically against the law....but, they likely would've been hit by flying shards of metal even if their arms were down.

It IS very possible (in most jurisdictions) for BOTH parties to be found laible, and for *damages* to be apportioned by "relative fault".

Let's just say that the riders DID have their arms down, and that the shards HAD hit them in their faces, even their eyes....wouldn't be called "grandstanding" then.

As Walt said just a few posts above, as far as CP is concerned with regard to lagal culpability, the question that would come into play IS one of "foreseeability". Were the previously discovered shards of metal (the first I had heard of this was today) enough of a warning that this incident COULD happen? Heck if I know, I'm no engineer.....but those cables used for launching these (Intamin rocket) rides will either be changed, or get MUCH more rigorous inspection, or be "isolated" in some fashion from the riders AND the guests on the midway below...

Lord Gonchar's avatar

I prefer to keep an open mind until I get more facts.

Ok, but we do have the facts on the injuries. It was all minor at best.

As far as the kids are concerned, the payoff shouldn't change because of whatever the deal on the other side of the fence is. You get compensated for your suffering. These kids got boo-boos (there I said it for you guys over at ARN&R again :) )

The only thing to question is the level of punishment CP should received based on the facts concerning their knowledge/involvement in the incident. It's already been announced that no investigation will take place.

I don't think there are any more facts coming from that side.

Any lawsuit at this point would be for damages (I'm assuming, again someone feel free to enlighten me on law here), and why should that change one bit regardless of what's would be found on the CP side of things.

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