Girl falls from Intamin drop tower at Hopi Hari

CoasterDemon's avatar

Very sad news

I didn't know there was a similar accident at California's Great America?

I'm puzzled how this happened - unless her harness was unlocked before it went up - if that is even possible.

Maverick00's avatar

That's very sad to hear, I wonder if it was just a malfunction with the harnesses. This isn't the first accident on a Intamin drop tower either.

Cedar Point will always be The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, regardless of the number of coasters they have.

They'll say she was fat. Wait and see.

I remember the Drop Zone Stunt Tower incident at Great America. I believe it was Summer 1999.

The boy was 12-years old and was partially mentally handi-capped and fell from the ride as the ride carriage began its descent from over 200-feet.

Investigators could not figure out how he fell from the ride as the harness was in its locked position when the carriage had returned to the loading area.

It was a huge story because Summer of '99 was when a stream of highly publicized fatalities and injuries were occurring at large U.S. parks -

- College student that fell to his death from Kings Dominion's ShockWave
- 5 riders struck in the face by a loose 5' wood beam while riding Knott's GhostRider
- Woman killed on Six Flags Over Texas' Roaring Rapids
- Mother and daughter killed on Wild Wonder at Gillian's Wonderland

The people that were unfortunate enough to witness him fall from the tower had to seek counseling and sought legal action against Great America for trauma.

The kid's mother initially told the press she was not going to seek damages because it wouldn't bring her son back, but I believe she did later on (probably egged on by attorneys).

Tekwardo's avatar

Charles Nungester said:
They'll say she was fat. Wait and see.


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CoasterDemon's avatar

There are some video clips around (news clips, after the incident), she wasn't a big girl.


Yeah, I'm serious.

Right after the Great America Incident we visited Kentucky Kingdom, All they did was bolt some seatbelts between the harness and seat.

Being a bigger guy myself, I noticed a real problem if the bar wasn't literally pushed down to a certain point where it was impossible to slip through the gap in the seat and the bar, Also the fact that the seats are barely sided and are basically flat with only a small hump in the crotch area.

NOTE: What if your body was limp or you couldn't control your ability to remain straight upright in the seat? Also Note, What if you pass out? Your body goes limp! Belt or now, If you slump, The possibility for submarining the restraint happens., Belt or not, If you slump you could fall out sideways.

This is only my personal opinion, But I have the same opinion of a PTC Ratcheting bar, If the bar isn't in your lap (FAT GUY), Your body straightens out under it during 0 or -G

Im not really into this enthusiast game anymore, But I DO CARE! Its not beyond reality to think a girl would pass out, go limp and who knows what could happen.

CoasterDemon's avatar

^I can understand that, Chuck. Colossus was the first woodie to have individual ratcheting lap bars, and a large girl was thrown from the ride the first year.

Seems ratchet bars can be a bad thing for people when the bar doesn't go far down enough. It's too bad people can't stop from doing stupid things (like standing up) on buzz-bar type restraints. Those work perfectly fine if rules are followed.


Worse, there is now a worldwide design standard that basically requires individually adjustable restraints if forces are at or below 0Gz for more than 0.25 seconds. It's more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it. And it isn't a requirement per-se, but to do anything else requires a bunch of analysis.

Anyway, on the weekend following the Great America incident, I visited Kentucky Kingdom and made it a point to ride Hellevator. I sat down, pulled the shoulder bar down until it touched my shoulders, then shoved myself forward in the seat as far as I could. By slouching down, I was able to get my hips to the front of the seat, and by straightening my legs out...well, if I had wanted out of that seat, I would have been out. Then I slid back in the seat, fastened the hurriedly-added safety belt that Six Flags had come up with, and rode the ride, suddenly with a new appreciation of the +3Gz that it hits you with in the braking: had I been slouched to the front of the seat when the brakes hit, the ride would have sucked me right out.

It was never proven, to the best of my knowledge, what actually happened at Great America, but a failure mode was found for the hydraulic restraint in which gas bubbles in the hydraulic system (which can come from a ruptured accumulator, or just from a leaky system) could potentially cause the check valves in the system to intermittently malfunction. I don't know if there are any documented cases of restraint failure due to this problem, but the problem is real

Of course, both of these deficiencies are easily corrected on the drop tower rides through the installation of a crotch-mounted safety belt. Do we know if such a belt was installed on the ride at Hopi Hari, or if the belt was used?

My personal opinion is that the shoulder bars on the Intamin drop rides are the wrong restraint to use on the ride (and not just because of my general dislike of shoulder bars). The problem is that the one thing that the shoulder bar fails to do is to restrain the rider from sliding *forward* in the seat...and as a matter of fact, I choose not to ride Kings Island's drop tower now because the only way I can fasten the safety belt is if I slide forward in the seat and slouch in what I believe to be a dangerous manner. The function of the restraint on that ride should not be to hold the rider down in the seat (which is what the shoulder bar does), but rather to hold the lower part of the torso *back* in the seat to make sure that the body's center of mass remains over the seat pan and not out in front of it.

ObDisclaimer: Please note that I don't know what happened in this most recent incident, and what you read here is opinion based on personal experience with similar rides, etc... :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

^Interesting information Dave, as always. I could envision what you were saying as I read it. Thanks for sharing.

Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.
mlnem4s's avatar

RideMan makes many good points. I think beyond the restraint the bigger issue is the flat(ish) seat on most drop towers. If they were designed to be a deep bucket seat to keep the hips/buttocks in a lower secure position, like on B&M drop coasters, I don't think any of incidents would be occuring. How the engineers at Intamin didn't realize this is beyond me.

Tekwardo's avatar

That is my biggest issue of the Intamin drop rides. I feel I'm sitting up too straight. I don't get that feeling on the S&S towers. I think thats why I like them better.

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Raven-Phile's avatar

I get that feeling on S&S towers, too - in fact, their seats feel like a 2x10 stuck to a fence post.

I can agree with the above posts - I have never yet ridden an intamin drop tower. However, whilst the S and S towers feel very comfortable, my only other experience of an "over the shoulder" drop ride is Power Tower 2, the travelling maurer sohne ride. The pivot on the bars is just below my natural shoulder height meaning I had to hunch down, therefore sliding forward in the seat, with the bar not fully closing over my lap. This meant for quite an unnerving ride where I felt (probably incorrectly) I could easily slide out. This ride, whilst fairly forceful, doesnt deliver the same true freefall of a giant drop. It really makes me wonder if some of the theories expressed above about this terrible incident are correct.

I know several drop towers and some coasters that have a maximum rider height. I believe it works about the same as a fat guy situation and keeps the bar from coming down far enough. leaving a bigger gap in between the seat and the lower section of the bar.

Also I don't see ever sitting straight up as a proper position, Tilted slightly back with knees even or above accomplishes two things, Making sure the rider is more likely to remain in that position and limits the degree of which they come out of it either because they can't control it themselves or ride forces I also think side restraints, Even minimal ones are a necessity, Just couple fins coming alongside the riders ribs, Help keep the rider upright.

Exactly as Dave said, It was very soon after the Great America incident that I rode Helivator and I believe what they had was just a looped over male end that could slide along the bottom of the harness and a female end bolted to the center of the seat. . Hopi Hari, I have no idea other than it looks like a second gen Intamin Free Fall.

Last but Not least, A belt that can be controlled by the rider IMHO IS JUST USELESS! and about all it accomplishes is taking more time to load and check. Many of em dont' even retract and even more don't lock in the retracted mode.

Last edited by Charles Nungester,
CoasterDemon's avatar

I don't understand this video, but there is a diagram of what they think happened when the girl fell - with the harness in the up position:


Looking at that, I see the seats are still relatively flat as were the second Gens. As far as what happened, I have no clue,

Tekwardo's avatar

She was fat.

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Thats what Intamin said in almost all its ejections

Tekwardo's avatar

Where is that long overdue rolls eyes smiley?

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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