German Showman suspected of smuggling drugs inside flatride (epic story)

O.K. I decided to give you the rundown of this hilarious story! Follow me back to 1981:

Back in 1981 Norbert Witte owned a Schwarzkopf Katapult coaster. On one sad evening on a fair in Hamburg he wanted to exchange a tire drive in the looping struture. He got out his crane and swung it over the limitations of his ride. He thought that the neighbouring Huss Skylab (giant Enterprise) was already closed for the night. Tragically it wasn´t and it started its last fatal ride. The cars of the Skylab were partly cut open and/or mangled when they hid the crane. Seven people died and many were severly injured in one of the worst accidents in carnival history.

Mr Witte was prosecuted for accidental killing (sorry I don´t have the english phrase at hand) but he was not sent to prison. You would think that the showman career of this man was over for good until the end of time.

But when Germany re-united a decade later, the Luna Park which was located in the eastern part of Berlin was to be revived and modernized. Apparantly Mr Witte saw his chance, put on his showmanship-charm and managed to persuade the city of Berlin that he was the right man to run the park. As so often in Germany after political systems crashed, nobody asked many questions, and a "responsible" man like Witte got the job.

New rides were added (Vekoma double loopscrew, logflume and flats). With the Vekoma looper, a Mack powered coaster, a Schwarzkopf Jetstar and a big Zierer family coaster the park had a quite impressive coaster-count. The flats weren´t bad either but the park lacked a few things: atmosphere and parking space.

The park is located in a forrest area on a small pensinsula in the River Spree that runs through Berlin. The setting is actually pretty nice, so nice that it became a natural preserve in the early nineties. Because of this the park was not allowed to build more parking space. They were stuck with the small parking space left over from the communist past. From now on, every problem the park was about to face, was blamed on the restricted parking.

But the park was run poorly. It still looked like a cheap left over from a past everybody wanted to forget as soon as possible. The mock, laughably done western city looked out of place with all the decaying communist chic around.
It was a place for the urban archeologist, people who would nowadays comb through L.A. to dig out forgotten Tiki artefacts. The morbid charme was so much "fun" that I once heard tired kids inside the park say: "Oh damn, we still have one hour before my mother is going to get us. I want to get out of here."
That was shortly before the park closed its doors for good in 2001.

Everybody put the blame on everybody else. The debt that was going to Wittes account was about 15 Million Euro (ca. 10 million Pounds).

Brand new Flatrides, coasters and a giant wheel were left rotting in the abandoned park, while the bank accountants, city officials and Mr. Witte refused to take the blame.

Are you still reading? Its getting bizarre now!

Literally overnight in the beginning of 2002, Mr Witte took his family and a good portion of the rides and packed them all up on a freight ship to Peru!

Without any officials asking any questions again, he was not only able to dismantle the rides. He managed to get them out of the park and even OUT OF THE COUNTRY! Of course the flats did not belong to Mr Witte, they were the only capital left to cover at least a part of the debt.

The press was collapsing with laughter when the stunt was publicized. Witte told the press that he was going to build an amusement park in Peru. Apparantly it was much needed there.

While the city of Berlin negotiated with french company Grevin (owners of Parc Aterix and many smaller parcs) and the danish Tivoli in a never ending discussion about the fate of the former "Plänterwald".
No sign of live was heard from Peru, though.

Then suddenly a month ago the story took another turn: It seemed that the park project in Peru was a complete failure (what a surprise). Mrs Witte was about to get divorced from her husband while he was about to come back to germany. While he was sitting in a small flat in Berlin, his son was about to ship the rides back to Germany from Peru too. While he was packing the rides onto the ship Peruvian customs found 181 Kilos (362 pounds) of cocaine hidden inside one of the rides.It is said that the police got a hint from someone...

The proposed worth of the white powder is said to be around 15 million Euro! (Didn´t we hear this figure before?!)

Wittes son was arrested in Peru and Mr Witte faced the same fate in Berlin. Sadly Mr Witte suffered a minor heart attack while being in custody. Yesterday the newspapers reported that he was offering the exclusive story rights to the highest bidding newspaper. Noone came up with an offer yet.

I know this is all incredibly tragic, but it bears a certain irony.

I must pull my imaginary head to his sense of "showmanship". Liberace would be proud.

The police is still investigating if the Wittes were just "misused" to smuggle the drug for a big criminal organization. It is said to be very unlikely for a private person to aquire such a huge amount of cocaine. Even for someone like Mr Witte ;-)

I guess we will hear more of this story (if only some tabloid would shell out the money for "the whole story"). I desperately want to know in which ride the powder was found.

Seeing as how the rides were in Peru at the time awaiting shipment back to Germany could it be possible that park patrons may have stashed the contraband on the ride or in the structure to avoid detection?

Peru is in south america after all & there's certainly a drug market in that region of the my theory could easily be possible.

This sounds almost too good to be true. Not to accuse tricktrack of fudging anything, but is there a link to a site with the story (preferably in English)?

I want to live where it's all the same. I want to live where it's all just like today. I want to live where it's always Saturday.
I know this sounds very outrageous. But I didn´t make anything up.
The story is currently covered by Berlin newspapers. Its still not covered nationally, which is a shame, cause its so trashy.
All I can give you is a link to a german forum where most newspaper links are collected. Its all in german of course.
If you want to start an international press research I would suugest keywords like:
Norbert Witte
Kultur Park

Here is the link to the forum thread. This will be a Babelfish orgy:

@Batwing Fan SFA
I understood it this way that the park project in Peru never saw the day of light.
Who knows what kind of people he had contact to to open the park.
Police is investigating towards an organized drug cartel, but its still strange that the coke has exactly the same worth as his debts.

Oh, I found out which ride it was stuffed in:

Seeing as how the rides were in Peru at the time awaiting shipment back to Germany could it be possible that park patrons may have stashed the contraband on the ride or in the structure to avoid detection?

Peru is in south america after all & there's certainly a drug market in that region of the my theory could easily be possible.

That's a lot of cocaine to carry into a park while you are visiting. My guess is that either somebody planted it there or the Wittes were smuggling it as the police believe. I find it convenient that the cocaine was worth as much as the debt.

Vater's avatar

Decade-old zombie thread alert!

Just found pictures of this abandoned park and did a quick search here to see if anyone else had posted about it. It's apparently for sale on ebay now.

Okay, Got Me! I read the whole original post without noticing that it was 11 years old...

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

...and it has been bought by the City of Berlin.

Will be interesting to see what happens next...

Cedar Fair could buy it. Bet it would get a bunch of new rides while MA still languishes in crap. ;)

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

LostKause's avatar

They would just close it down a few years later to stop it from competing with Cedar Point anyways. (kidding, of course.)

Last edited by LostKause,
rollergator's avatar

If I had to guess which German ride would have been used to conceal drugs, I'd have picked Taumler....someone was on drugs.

Oh I know, and those rides are wildly popular in Europe and Latin America. I get the impression Taumler is probably the most famous. I think it has followers.

I saw a video just the other day where on a similar ride, Tagada, everything was going fine and everyone was having fun until someone appeared unconscious in the middle of the floor. Musta bumped her head. And they continued to run it for a minute until it came clear she wasn't getting up. I'd guess it's a daily occurrence.

Can you imagine a ride like that operating here in the good ole USA? But, I have a feeling seatbelts and OTSR's would be contrary to the inventor's original vision.

And by the way, that Taumler enthusiast in the white jacket must have some incredible abs, huh?

Taumler is the ride where every German guy has his first time touching girls boops(accidently of course).

This is a teenager ride, but also a lot of fun just watching. Grab a beer, sit down and watch. Every ride is different, now include some good music, big lightshow and you will have more fun here compared to any nightclub

I would never touch a girl's boop (whatever that is) even accidentally.


Edit to add:
Wait, I think I got it. Maybe a boop is the accidental touching of a girl's boob. ("Boops!! Sorry, fräulein!")

Last edited by RCMAC,
slithernoggin's avatar

I always keep my boops covered.

I have not been to the States in 6 Months now, but I am pretty sure you call boops still boops, right?

Anyhow, Taumler is one heck of a ride. You dont understand it until you take a spin on it. This ride is basically a cardio workout as it will run between 7-10 minutes. I took a video in 2011 of it, you will see that everyone is cool at the beginning, but after 2 min all hell will break loose as you loose your strength(and in this video, guys get more frisky, so it is a equal opportunity "get to know you" ride/no boops involved,lol)

Last edited by Alexatucla,

slithernoggin's avatar

Well. It depends on what you're talking about when you talk about boops.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

LostKause's avatar

What kind of bees make milk?


rollergator's avatar

Maybe Betty Boop called hers "boops"?

No, hers were "boop boop be doops".

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