Girl critical after falling from SFMW ride

Posted Monday, June 10, 2002 4:48 AM | Contributed by APC11

A four-year old girl is in serious condition with head injuries after falling from the Starfish ride at Six Flags Marine World theme park in Vallejo Saturday afternoon.

Read more from KCBS/San Francisco and

Monday, June 10, 2002 5:22 AM
john peck's avatar I don't understand how two people can fall off the same ride within two years of each other, when all the other Wipeouts seem to do fine.

Looks like the Wipeouts around the world will be getting seatelts now.

Also keep in mind that since a kid was tossed off SFMW's Scatabout (Eli Bridge Scrambler) a couple years ago, that Scramblers mostly all have seatbelts now. *** This post was edited by john peck on 6/10/2002. ***

Monday, June 10, 2002 5:33 AM
To be honest. I'm amazed this hasn't happened on others yet. I don't know how every type of Wipeout compares to the others. But these things are vicious! I usually just pass them by when I see them because the lateral G's are just too strong (at least on the few I have been on.)

"The Future of Roller Coasters"

Monday, June 10, 2002 6:34 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I understand that amusement parks are among the safest forms of entertainment out there, but you still have to use common sense and take any additional safety precautions you feel necessary.

The fact that this girl was sitting beside her mother and still fell out is ridiculous. What was the mother doing? I see way too many people just putting small children on rides at parks and thinking everything will be fine. Sure, it will be fine in most cases, but sometimes I think people just have too much of a sense of safety.

My 4 year old daughter rides some pretty big stuff. There's also some stuff she's tecnically big enough to ride, however I don't feel she's mature enough to ride and I would never let her ride those with or without me. When I do ride with her I always put an arm around her and pull her snugly against me. The only way she's falling off of something is if I go too. I can't imagine what the mother was doing while the daughter was slipping off of the ride.

Like RollerCoasterGod said, this type of ride can be pretty intense. I'm not sure it's appropriate for a 4 year old.

Dorney Park visits in 2002: 10

Monday, June 10, 2002 7:40 AM
The question I have--

Since this girl was apparently riding with her mother...Where was she sitting in the seat? I can only think of one way that she could have come out and cleared her mother, and that's if she was sitting on the outside.

But what kind of an operator would allow a small child to sit outboard of her (presumably considerably larger) parent on a ride like a Wipeout? It just doesn't make sense.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, June 10, 2002 7:45 AM
I really think that these kind of rides need seatbelts! We have a Wipeout ride at Kennywood Park, and everytime that you lift up on the restraint it feels that your going to fall out. I believe that there was some kind of accident on the Wipeout at Kennywood a few years back?? It was like four years ago so I can't really remember what happened. But if your someone that isn't large like me you need seatbelts;)


Monday, June 10, 2002 8:29 AM
Not a good month for Six Flags. Obviously, though, my heart, prayers, and thoughts to the family first and foremost.
Monday, June 10, 2002 8:45 AM
There's no way that the little girl would have been sitting on the outside seat in a wipeout. Then the park would be asking to get sued for allowing her to get crushed.

Gonchar, you sound a lot like how I approach riding with my 5 and 6 year old. My 6 year old would ride everything if she was allowed, but I certainly don't let her- for both safety and emotional reasons (I don't want her terrified of something like Ghostrider, which I don't think she's quite ready for.) When I do ride with her, especially on a bigger ride, and we share a restraint like on the wipeout, she's required to hold onto the bar, and I usually have a hold on her somewhere.

Makes me wonder what mom was doing in the seat next to her. And how much she's responsible. Cause I have a feeling some of the blame at least lies in that direction.

Sometimes it's up. Sometimes it's down.
But with God, life is one thrill ride that you'll never regret being on.

Monday, June 10, 2002 9:05 AM
I remember riding the precursor to Wipeout.. it was a portable carnival called Roulette or something like that. Anyway it was themed as a Roulette wheel with you sitting in the black and red cups. I was very young (7 or 8 years old) and the ride operator told my mother that she needed to be seated on the inside. Everytime we came around to the bottom of the turntable she would lose her grip and push me to the outside. I couldn't hold on. Fortunately my mother is very small and I had enough strength to push her back, but I have every reason to belive that had I lost my grip I would have been ejected from that ride. The article says the girls mother was riding with her. And in some of the pictures of the modern Wipeout you can see larger persons seated improperly on the inside. If the operator ordered the mother to sit on the inside, or didn't catch the mistake when checking the restraints, then if the mother lost her grip at the right moment then child could easily have been pushed up and out of the chair.

*** This post was edited by Phyter on 6/10/2002. *** *** This post was edited by Phyter on 6/10/2002. ***

Monday, June 10, 2002 9:11 AM
Phyter, the ride you are thinking of is called a Casino, which is an alternate theming package for a Trabant.

And the operator in your case was simply a <unbroadcastable> idiot. Probably following instructions but following them exactly backwards. On any Himalaya, Caterpillar, Wipeout, Trabant, Casino, Scrambler, Sizzler, Musik Express, or other similar ride, the smaller rider should ALWAYS sit toward the inside.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, June 10, 2002 12:11 PM

You know, I've never seen a Scrambler/Trabant w/ seatbelts.

Monday, June 10, 2002 12:23 PM
I have been on the Wipeout at Kennywood and it is an evil ride, painful to say the least. I won't even ride it anymore and I sure heck wouldn't let my daughter on it even if she were to ride it with me or my husband. For the most part, she usually rides with my husband because with how fast some of the rides go and the forces on them, I know he can keep a better grip on her than I can. We ALWAYS keep an arm around her. It's all common sense, if I don't think I can keep her safe, we won't ride. I don't know what this woman was doing but had she had an arm around the child, this could've been prevented.
Monday, June 10, 2002 12:47 PM

I like the ride a lot, but it's become very uncomfortable for us taller folk lately because of the little plastic leg guard near the door. Those things aren't comfortable for legs to be pressed against. They should just put a gate on the door if they want to keep legs inside the ride.

But I digress. Every one of these rides I've been on they have taken care to make sure that the larger rider is on the outside, and for really good reason. Knott's has been forcing 2 people to a seat recently, but I haven't seen a seat belt on the ride yet.


Round 2 of the NoLimits Tournament of Champions now underway at Ride_Op Coaster Productions!

Monday, June 10, 2002 1:57 PM
Wolf, Cedar Point's Schwabinchen, which is a European version of the Trabant, has seat belts. Back when Cedar Point had a Trabant (removed for the 1991 season) it had seat belts, too.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, June 10, 2002 2:03 PM

The Wilderness Scrambler at Knotts has seatbelts. (orange of course).

Monday, June 10, 2002 4:28 PM
The Schwabinchen always had belts, factory I believe.It was one of the newer rides that we got through Mickey Hughes. It also is a larger ride and the rpm is slower than the Trabant and it's variants. It gives you the same effect without running at the higher speed of the Trabant.
Monday, June 10, 2002 4:38 PM

I was at PKI yesterday and WAS in fact, suprised to find seatbelt installed. I was confused because I was at Cedar Point a month ago and there were no seatbelts installed there. So, mayby this is just the parks decission. Who Knows...

Beware, you may lose your glasses to THE BEAST!

Tuesday, June 11, 2002 4:56 AM

I'm confused...PKI has no Wipeout/Trabant/Casino variant. Which ride are you referring to?


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