Werner Stengel explained what happened to the ride in the book about his work "Rollercoaster - Der Achterbahn Designer Werner Stengel". Since the book has only been released in German, I thought I try to give you a short summarie of the chapter which was devoted to the Mindbender.
The fatal flaw happened during construction, when Anton Schwarzkopf wasn´t allowed to enter his own factory because of all the legal problems after the company went bancrupt.
The outstanding work was done by various subcontractors, while financial backers went on to draw money and hardware from the premises.
It appears that a special device that was needed to ammend the thickness of the running rails (which is constantly changing in curves and bends on coasters that use articulated wheels) was as well taken away from the factory. This lead to the mistake that one piece of track was not fabricated to the calculations and plans of Werner Stengel, who was responsible for the design.
The result was a constant, unnormal pressure on the wheels and the axels on one point during the ride (AFAIK it was the entrance to the second drop).
Directly after the accident Stengel and Schwarzkopf flew to Edmonton and were greated by the police.
They were allowed to inspect the ride, but they were not allowed to touch anything.
Stengel is cited in his "biography" that he became aware of a large number of screws scattered around a certain area, but at the time he was not exactly sure where they came from, nor was he allowed to take evidence and have it examined.
The whole examination took a long time and they could finally proof that the accident was not caused by a design flaw.
The question remains if the accident could have been prevented by thorough inspection.
After all the wheels had to run over a piece of track which they were not designed for, and maintenance was not in a position to be aware of this. Basically, an accident was only a question of time.
Stories that the manual was not translated to english are probably a myth. Schwarzkopf was selling rides around the world through Intamin for decades and even their catalogues were printed in english.
Several unplanned and random occurences were finally adding up to a tragic result that cost several lifes.
P.S. I have read the book more than once, but don´t have it with me right now. I was writing this from memory and I had to re-translate it in my mind to english. I hope it makes sense and doesn´t read like a fantasy story.
Somewhat scary, actually!
What if similarly badly built coasters exist elsewhere?
*** Edited 7/20/2007 2:54:27 AM UTC by superman***
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