Eleven people detained for fatal Chinese amusement park accident

Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2010 11:53 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Eleven people have been detained over the amusement park ride accident in south China that killed six people and injured 10, including five still in serious condition, local authorities said Wednesday. A total of 11 people, including equipment operators, maintenance workers and managers of the equipment supplier and amusement park, were under police interrogation, the Shenzhen city information office said in a statement.

Read more from China.org.cn.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 12:09 PM

managers of the equipment supplier

Does that pretty much firm up that it is made by a Chinese supplier?

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010 1:15 PM

I think from the beginning it was revealed that the ride was designed and built by a Chinese supplier.

Some accounts say this was a one-of-a-kind ride system.

Other accounts say it is a ride system that has been banned in several countries.

I'm not quite sure how it could be both, but I am inclined to believe it is a one-of-a-kind ride system designed specifically for this attraction.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010 2:12 PM

I'm wondering if it could somewhat be both. Possibly it is a ride system that has been banned in other countries, yet was "modified" for usage in this park, making it similar to those banned yet "unique".

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010 2:30 PM

Why couldn't it be both?

Other countries wouldn't allow it to be built - they banned it. China didn't ban it and this one is the only one built there - it is unique.

Both banned and one-of-a-kind. :)

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010 2:43 PM

It's pretty crazy that we can't find any concrete info on this attraction in this age of Google.

The animated video makes it out to be a pretty crazy looking machine (that much bouncing force + the high spinning speed!) that didn't look like a great idea from the design stage.

I guess this is why we have never seen a tower ride with an extremely fast spinning chassis attached to it?

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 12:29 AM

There is a new article out which was quoted but not URL-sourced on rec.roller-coaster; purported to be from the Global Times for 7/2/2010. According to the article, it was a mechanical problem, not a human error. The article says:

"Space Journey," a space shuttle simulator ride located in the
Overseas Chinese Town East Theme Park in Shenzhen, encountered a
mechanical problem and lost its balance with 48 people aboard the high-
speed spin operation, the Guangdong-based Dongguan Times reported
Thursday.

There are 12 space ship cabins with four enclosed seats on the ride
that slammed against the ground several times after losing its
balance, Zhang Jie, a sales manager of Overseas Chinese Town Holding
Co (OCT Holding), which owns the theme park, told the newspaper
Wednesday.

Even better, the article gives us this nugget:

An unidentified official at OCT Holding, told the Guangdong-based
Nanfang Daily Wednesday that the "Space Journey" device was
manufactured by the Beijing-based Jiuhua Amusement Facilities
Manufactory Company and passed a national security check in April
2008.

I did some searching and found a web site for Jiuhua Amusement Rides. I can't read Chinese, but I recognized almost all of the rides pictured on their site. It's kind of scary to look at, actually. Do you really want to ride on a Chinese copy of a Chance Chaos, for instance?

Now if I could only read Chinese I might be able to glean something about the manufacturer from that site...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 1:00 AM

Google Chrome is quite willing to translate the non-Flash parts to Engrish.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 6:22 AM

For all the problems China has, holding corporations accountable for their mistakes is one area where we could learn from them.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 9:11 AM

I was a little confused about how the accident occurred when I viewed the computer animated video. According to the video, it looked like one of the ride vehicles somehow seperated from the arm that was holding it, and that somehow caused every ride vehicles to slam into the ground.

Just a few words in Rideman's post made me put it all together and come up with some kind of idea about how it may of happened.

The word "unbalanced" is one of those words. Did I miss it everywhere else? Maybe I read it somewhere else and didn't apply it right.

My theory is that one of the ride vehicles broke off somehow, which caused the ride to become unbalanced, which caused the heaver side to drop or tilt into the ground. The ride may have still been moving, so the ride vehicles may have been running into the ground and then back up in the air again, and then back into the ground, until all of them were removed from their arm.

Or it is possible that the RV's were broken from their arm at the first impact of the ground.

China may make a lot of stuff, but a lot of their stuff sucks. I wish America would make more stuff. Cheaper is not always better. :)

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 10:37 AM

New article posted today.

It sounds like Travis' description is at least on the right track. The #5 gondola came off of the arm, then three more gondolas hit it and crashed.

I still don't know what the ride system looks like, but we're getting a better idea of the nature of the disaster.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 12:23 PM

Quote from article Dave linked to:

"The initial results were based on the analysis of the machine's data recorder and tests at the scene."

Dave, do all or most modern rides have data recorders? I'm not talking about simple stuff like dispatches or cycles but more about details like; car 5 passed sensor A at 01:15:35.

Since everything else we do is logged, I don't know why this comes as a shock to me. Just something I never considered.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 5:24 PM

Most PLCs contain an event log, which is probably what they're talking about. Depending on how things are configured, they could be set to log exceptions (error logging) but more likely they just run a constant recording of all the inputs and outputs on the PLC.

So what it would probably look like is more like...

08-JUL-2010 17:20:16.23 INPUT 44
08-JUL-2010 17:20:16.54 INPUT 45
08-JUL-2010 17:20:16.87 INPUT 46
08-JUL-2010 17:20:17.08 OUTPUT 11 SET
(and so on).

I'm just guessing at the actual output format, and I'm sure it's possible to suppress certain nuisance data. For instance, when Dragster takes off, there would be several hundred switch triggers, which could make the log very difficult to read...but it would be more sensible to collect the data and filter it. I mention Dragster...it was either that one or Raptor, I forget which, that, rumor has it, early on had some operational problems because someone connected a printer to the PLC and when the output buffer filled up, the ride shut down. The solution was to unhook the printer.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 10:37 PM

Fascinating. Thanks for that. Actually sounds like how a Flight Data Recorder (Black Box) works.

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Friday, July 9, 2010 1:16 AM

I was able to translate a little Mandarin from the Jiuhua Amusement Rides website. I believe their motto is "If you built it, we will copy it."

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Friday, July 9, 2010 1:53 PM

Dave, I believe it was Dragster that had that problem. I've been in the Dragster control building, and I know they have a printer in there for ride system purposes, but I forget exactly what it is used for. I don't recall ever spotting a printer in Raptor's control booth.

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Friday, July 9, 2010 2:01 PM

Jeffrey Seifert said:
I was able to translate a little Mandarin from the Jiuhua Amusement Rides website. I believe their motto is "If you built it, we will copy it."

Film and music can't be the only "cloning" industries...China has over a billion people! ;)

Seriously though, when building a knock-off of someone else's product, try and remain true to the quality of the original in terms of mechanicals....if you're going to skimp, do it in theming.

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Friday, July 9, 2010 3:29 PM

rollergator said:
if you're going to skimp, do it in theming.

Some would argue, that's Cedar Fair's motto. ;)

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Friday, July 9, 2010 3:58 PM

Don't get me wrong, I love love LOVE me some great theming...but safety has got to come first. Every time. Then reliability.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010 6:44 PM

But if it's the right kind of theming, it can cushion your fall when the ride fails.

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