Girl falls from Intamin drop tower at Hopi Hari

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:02 AM
Vater's avatar

Tekwardo said:
Where is that long overdue rolls eyes smiley?

If there was a need for one, it would already exist. Or maybe it was too fat to fit the code.

Last edited by Vater, Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:03 AM
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:30 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Or perhaps it fell off the code...


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Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:30 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Or Maverick.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012 8:40 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

Or the new Intamin restraints for Skyrush.


Billy
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Thursday, March 1, 2012 12:05 AM
Timber-Rider's avatar

This is the basic reason why they came out with height limits and restrictions on amusement park rides. It took a boy falling to his death out of a corkscrew roller coaster, that hight restrictions were added to most coasters, and most rides after the accident which was back in the 1970's. It was also around that time that the over the shoulder restraint systems were developed for most looping coasters. And, a lot of looping coasters have had their lap bars replaced with over the should restraints as well, like the Mindbender at the West Edmonton mall after people were thrown to their death from that rollercoaster.

So, I'm guessing that this girl was probably either too small to ride the drop tower, or wasn't securely placed in her seat. The problem is, that a lot of these parks have bored teenagers running their thrill rides, which I think is a huge mistake. I have seen them at Great America with their height sticks, looking like they are off in a fantasy land as each under height rider passes under their measuring stick. You just want to slap them upside the head, and say HEY! WAKE UP!! Not to mention the guys who are too busy checking out the babes to do their job.

I have been on most drop towers, and the over the shoulder harness seems pretty safe to me. However, it is far too easy for the passenger to unlock the belt that is attatched to the harness while the ride is in motion. I was actually on the double shot at Indiana Beach, and the ride operator put me in a seat where the harness seemed loose. I mentioned it to him, and he said don't worry, it's fine. If anything the strap will hold you in. Well, as soon as the ride shot up, the harness went up with it, if it wasn't for me being strong enough to hold it down with my weight, and the belt, I would have fallen out. When The ride stopped I let go of the harness, and it was sticking straight out. I called the ride op an asshole, and went straight to the the nearest store to report it. I went by there later, and the ride was closed. I vowed that I would never go on that ride again.

I'm not sure how many people are old enough to remember the old days when all you needed was a pulse to ride any carnival ride. I actually saw a man holding a baby in the air on a carnival hymalaya while the ride was at full speed. The funny part of that is you could hear that baby laughing the whole time. And kids as young as 4 riding as well. I roade my first tiltawhirl when I was 5. Scared me to death. Any kid certainly wouldn't be able to do that today. Another ride I rode when I was 5 was the Tempest, which was worse than the tilt-a-whirl, because I was almost in a standing position the whole ride. Too short to sit down.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Thursday, March 1, 2012 12:16 AM
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Thursday, March 1, 2012 12:35 AM

I rode my first Tilt-a-Whirl as an infant--reportedly I fell asleep during the ride. Actually, I think it explains a lot of things about me.


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Thursday, March 1, 2012 1:38 AM
LostKause's avatar

I rode Camden Park's Big Dipper when I was less than two-years-old. My mother tells me that I laughed the whole time, and she believes that incident is why I love roller coasters so much now.

So, was this girl too fat, or too small to ride?


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Thursday, March 1, 2012 9:02 AM
CoasterDemon's avatar

Timber-Rider said:
This is the basic reason why they came out with height limits and restrictions on amusement park rides. It took a boy falling to his death out of a corkscrew roller coaster

Really? Where and when did this happen?


And, a lot of looping coasters have had their lap bars replaced with over the should restraints as well, like the Mindbender at the West Edmonton mall after people were thrown to their death from that rollercoaster.

Actually, I think the trend has been the other way around. Premier changing over from shoulder bars to lap bars. The new restraints on Gerstlauer Eurofighers (Dare Devil Dive and now Iron Shark) and the new Skyrush restraints as well.


Billy
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Thursday, March 1, 2012 5:26 PM

Oh, man, this is such a clear example of what I am up against, the kind of myths and disinformation that I often find so frustrating...it is commentary like this, well-reasoned, insightful, logical, and frequently wrong...that tends to be so convincing as to be difficult to refute. This is how we get well-intentioned but inappropriate requirements such as the one that basically requires individual restraints on almost any ride, the idea that a tighter restraint is a better restraint, or indeed the idea that because it imprisons more of the body, a shoulder bar is better than a lap bar...

Timber-Rider said:
This is the basic reason why they came out with height limits and restrictions on amusement park rides. It took a boy falling to his death out of a corkscrew roller coaster, that hight restrictions were added to most coasters, and most rides after the accident which was back in the 1970's.

Whoops! The only incident I can even think of involving someone coming out of a corkscrew-type coaster was the Great Adventure mishap on Lightnin' Loops (1987). On that ride, the shoulder bar was down, and it was locked, and because it was locked, the interlock system allowed the train to launch. Unfortunately, the rider was sitting *on top of* the shoulder bar and got tossed out. Incidentally, the loop would not have been the part of the ride that did it. There was also an incident in 1980 on one of the Whizzers that involved a 14-year-old kid being killed in a station collision.

As for height restrictions...my first encounter with a height restriction was circa 1972, and I know there were restrictions long before that. Amusement ride designers and amusement parks have been engaged in good safety practices for as long as they have been in business. Yes, it has only been in the last 30-or-so years that amusement ride safety has become a discipline unto itself. But the elements of that relatively new discipline are rooted in standard practices going back longer than anybody can remember. Because amusement rides are an inherently "optional" pursuit, so the need to maximize patron safety has been a part of the business since Day #1.

...It was also around that time that the over the shoulder restraint systems were developed for most looping coasters. And, a lot of looping coasters have had their lap bars replaced with over the should restraints as well, like the Mindbender at the West Edmonton mall after people were thrown to their death from that rollercoaster.

Actually, the shoulder bar as we know it was invented as a part of the unique seat and vehicle design for the original Corkscrew coaster in 1975. Arrow Development used the shoulder bar on their looping coasters based on the Humphries patent, but Schwarzkopf did not initially develop a shoulder bar for his looping coasters. In fact, for many years the Schwarzkopf coasters operated with lap bars. In the case of the West Edmonton Mindbender, the basic failure was a mechanical failure of a wheel carrier which caused the train to derail. When the car smashed into a ride support column, the lap bar mechanism was released, meaning that the type of restraint used on the ride was probably not much of a factor in the riders exiting the vehicle. At that point, the restraint system had been defeated by the mechanical failure. In any case, the rider containment system on the Mindbender was not designed to protect against the catastrophic failure of the train.

At this point in history, I believe more rides have had shoulder bars removed from them (The Ultimate, Desert Storm, Flight of Fear, The Chiller, Mr. Freeze, Texas Tornado...the list goes on...) than have had shoulder bars added (Mindbender, Revolution, possibly Olympia and Weiner Looping...).

...So, I'm guessing that this girl was probably either too small to ride the drop tower, or wasn't securely placed in her seat. The problem is, that a lot of these parks have bored teenagers running their thrill rides, which I think is a huge mistake. I have seen them at Great America with their height sticks, looking like they are off in a fantasy land as each under height rider passes under their measuring stick. You just want to slap them upside the head, and say HEY! WAKE UP!! Not to mention the guys who are too busy checking out the babes to do their job.

I'd love to see career ride operators in the seasonal parks, but it isn't going to happen. The job is seasonal, the requirements are minimal, the value is unfortunately low, and even in These Challenging Economic Times, getting people to accept seasonal work in an outdoor environment is not an easy thing to do.

At this time, I don't think we can say anything for certain about the rider's suitability for the ride. As I have noted previously in this thread, there are elements of the Intamin shoulder bar and seat design on their tower rides that I personally find unsettling, to the point that I don't generally ride these rides anymore. It isn't that the ride is unsafe (clearly that is not the case, given the large number of people who have ridden these rides successfully) but rather that the design incorporates what I feel is an unnecessary hazard. It's a hazard that is actually more of a problem for tall, skinny people than it is for short, stout ones. I would go so far as to say that the shoulder bar on Intamin's drop tower is not an appropriate restraint for that ride. It fails to provide restraint appropriate to the design of the ride. And yet, it is a locking, interlocked, backed-up, fully adjustable individual restraint. The ride would be safer with a deeper seat, a higher seat horn, and a shared single-position lap bar like the one on a Frog Hopper.

I have been on most drop towers, and the over the shoulder harness seems pretty safe to me. However, it is far too easy for the passenger to unlock the belt that is attatched to the harness while the ride is in motion.

I've been on most of the drop tower designs, and on most of them the shoulder bars are overkill. But that's because most of the drop towers have an adequate seat horn to make sure that your CG remains well back in the seat, and to make sure you can't slide out under the bar. The Intamin drop tower is the notable exception.

...I was actually on the double shot at Indiana Beach, and the ride operator put me in a seat where the harness seemed loose. I mentioned it to him, and he said don't worry, it's fine. If anything the strap will hold you in. Well, as soon as the ride shot up, the harness went up with it, if it wasn't for me being strong enough to hold it down with my weight, and the belt, I would have fallen out. When The ride stopped I let go of the harness, and it was sticking straight out. I called the ride op an asshole, and went straight to the the nearest store to report it. I went by there later, and the ride was closed. I vowed that I would never go on that ride again.

There is a gap between the perception of what is necessary to be safe, and what really is safe. Some ride designers exploit this gap. Take a ride on the ARM-US drop towers, for instance. Those have a very large, very flat seat with a high seat horn. The shoulder bar tends to have a lot of space under it; perhaps it is down against your shoulders, but it has a lot of gut room, and it's positioned to stay out away from you. With the deep seat, tall horn, and full depth armrests, you are *not* coming out of the seat. But you are very intentionally held in the seat very loosely. This scares most people, but it does not compromise their safety. The S&S seat design is similar. It is a very good, very effective design. Furthermore, the first generation of S&S towers did not even have restraint release switches. If the carriage was down, the bars were unlocked. On the Double Shot, you need to hit something as you come out of the seat, and the design of the ride is such that the "something" is usually the top of the shoulder bar, as the bottom of the shoulder bar is too high above the legs to keep you from rising out of the seat. But again, the bar doesn't have to be tight to be effective. It's a geometric solution to the problem of keeping you in the seat, not attached to it. In fact, the direction change on the Double Shot is so sudden that you really *don't* want to be tightly coupled to the seat. The ability to rise out of the seat without crashing into the shoulder bar means that when you do hit the shoulder bar, you will do so with a much smaller force.

...I'm not sure how many people are old enough to remember the old days when all you needed was a pulse to ride any carnival ride. I actually saw a man holding a baby in the air on a carnival hymalaya while the ride was at full speed. The funny part of that is you could hear that baby laughing the whole time. And kids as young as 4 riding as well. I roade my first tiltawhirl when I was 5. Scared me to death. Any kid certainly wouldn't be able to do that today. Another ride I rode when I was 5 was the Tempest, which was worse than the tilt-a-whirl, because I was almost in a standing position the whole ride. Too short to sit down.

Some of those rides don't have a lower height limit, and can easily accommodate small children accompanied by their parents. Is it necessarily a good idea to put tiny children on some of these rides? Of course not. Are there safe ways of doing so? Yes, it can be done. On at Tempest I think I would want the kid's chin to be higher than the grab bar, but other than that......

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Thursday, March 1, 2012 10:12 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

^Thanks, Dave. I appreciate your technical knowledge while being totally understandable! As always.

I do remember seeing Demon at Six Flags Great America (then Marriott's) run with harnesses up. It was the early 80's and for some reason the first car in an otherwise loaded train was sent out with harnesses up and no passengers. In retrospect, I think maybe there was a protein spill and that was an air-out run, for the first car anyway. It was an odd site. I thought the harnesses would hit the tops of the tunnels...


Billy
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Thursday, March 1, 2012 10:14 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

If the restraints could hit, people's arms could hit. That would be bad. :)


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Thursday, March 1, 2012 10:17 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

^Of course (well - you can't get your arms up too high on an Arrow coaster). Either way, I was a little kid. I thought those harnesses were gonna scrape the rocks :)


Billy
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Friday, March 2, 2012 9:24 AM

That also demonstrates a scary little point about those old trains: There WAS an interlock on most Corkscrew type coasters that checked to make sure the restraints were *locked*. There was nothing to insure that they were *closed*. This was done by checking the release pedals on the back of each car. The check was necessary because while releasing the pedal would automatically lock the lap bars on the older trains, on the Corkscrew train, the pedal would latch in the "unlocked" position.

On the Launched Loop coaster there was a pedal switch next to each car, so the pedals were checked in the first three feet of the launch. On the more conventional coasters, it was typically at the downtrack end of the station, and a miscount would stop the lift motor.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Monday, March 5, 2012 2:54 PM

Hi there.

I'm from Brazil, I was looking up some English articles on this subject (I'm a private English teacher).

Well, here's what happened so far:

HopiHari (the park) had the Giant Drop seat where the girl was sitting NOT FUNCTIONING for over 10 years. Yeah, you heard it right. It's all over the media now. If you search for videos, you'll see the police testing it again and the 3rd car goes up just fine with every seat locked, and when it starts free falling, only the first from the left - the one where the girl was sitting - simply OPENS UP.

They knew that issue, and said it was locked from behind, and nobody was supposed to sit there. Yet, the guys working operating the machine saw the girl there, warned the repair and their bosses but they couldn't do anything - so they say, like internal rules. The park didn't, in 10 years, put on a sign, a real padlock or even took off or repair the seat. Their answer is that the seat didn't need to be taken off because of the shoulder lock itself, but because somebody taller with longer legs could, when diving back down, hurt their legs on the structure on their right. So that's why they 'shut off' that chair.

At first, a teenager on another row (the girl's entire family were on the 3rd row) said she wasn't sitting on the 'death chair' as we call it now. So when cops went there, they had tests done on the second chair from the left, the one her cousin was sitting at.

Like this:

Gabriela (girl who died) | Her cousin | Her mom | Her dead

And only Gabriela's chair didn't have a belt-like lock coming from under the chair, like everybody else's chair.
So when the free fall started, her shoulder lock lifted. She hung there with her hands as much as she could - we all here saw the statement the cousin gave to the police - almost in a lying position, until she fell from app. 98 to 65ft. The only thing that proved that and changed the whole investigation was that the family had a picture taken from them sitting on the Tower right before it went up. So it proved where Gabriela and everybody else was sitting.

The owners of the park, sadly, are now trying to blame only the young guys operating the machine. The family lawyers are requiring the police to come up with every incident ever registered at that park - and man, there are many coming up.

Well, what else to say? The girl wasn't fat - she was thin, actually. She was 14, Brazilian but living in Japan since she was little. It was her first time back here. She had a younger sister.

I can only say I'm thankful I have labyrinthitis :D

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Monday, March 5, 2012 3:15 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

At 2:50 this video shows there was no safety belt on that end seat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOzuur8h8VA

Why in the world wouldn't the seat have some sort of permanent "do not sit here" sign if that was the case? There is nothing...


Billy
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Monday, March 5, 2012 6:55 PM

Pretty damning actually

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Monday, March 5, 2012 7:01 PM

Divesca, thank you for that update.

CoasterDemon, good catch. In other footage in that report, presumably stock footage, it looks like there might be a small sign on the seat (perhaps "Do Not Sit Here"?).

I am a little annoyed at how the report digs up and apparently sensationalizes (I couldn't understand a word of it) incidents that to me appear to be No Big Deal. And to bring up the Mindbender incident is completely unnecessary. On the one hand, it's unnecessary sensationalism. On the other hand, it seems to completely trivialize the present, extremely severe incident.

But this is a most interesting and disturbing development. Obviously they determined that it wasn't safe to *ever* put a rider in that end seat. Okay, then why was that seat not totally and permanently disabled? We can argue about the mechanical condition of that seat, whether the safety devices were in place or were working, or whatever...clearly the park had decided that it was not safe to use that seat *independent of the restraining devices*. That implies that we have here a violation of the park's own policy resulting in a fatal incident. A fatal incident that might have still been an injury incident even if everything had worked!

If everything I've read and 'gathered' from the news report is true, then the real issue here is that either the clearance issue should have been fixed before that module of the ride could operate at all, or the seat in question should have been totally and permanently disabled or removed from the ride. And that actually has nothing to do with the incident!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
(ObDisclaimer: Based on what I read in this thread, etc...you know the drill...)


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012 12:01 AM
DantheCoasterman's avatar

Have you guys seen this video yet? You can clearly see that the restraint on the seat this girl was sitting in does NOT function properly.

http://rionews.ws/?p=19204

Very disturbing. And ridiculous.


-Daniel

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012 1:51 AM

Wow. Just...wow. And the explanation given by Divesca makes perfect sense and aligns perfectly with the animations in the video linked to by CoasterDemon.

Sadly, I think it is obvious what went wrong. The question is now "why?". See my previous comments.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012 2:49 AM

The picture on this page shows a rider sitting in the non-operational seat: http://www.jornalportaldoparana.com.br/index2.php?ctg=51&nt=16543

I wonder how old this picture is...

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