Girl loses feet on drop tower accident at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom

Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 11:07 PM | Contributed by KICoasterDude

Police confirmed that a 13-year-old girl's feet have been cut off at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Officials said they got the call around 5 p.m. Thursday and both her feet were detached at the ankle. Eyewitnesses say the cable of the drop tower broke and struck the child.

Read more from WLKY/Louisville via MSNBC.

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Friday, June 22, 2007 7:32 PM
While I respect one's opinnion to not ride this type of ride ever again after hearing of such an accident, to me it just seems a little too fearful. I mean the odds of this happening again are really tiny. This cable had to have been falling/swinging/wrapping around in such a unique way to catch the girls feet that would be almost impossible to duplicate.

After reading the witness stories again, I can't help but to think the cable must have wrapped itself around the girls legs. If other people did get hit by it but were not injured (or not seriously enough to need medical attention from another source other than on-site EMTs), then it makes more sense that the cable wasn't moving fast enough from the snap (wherever it occured) to clear cut through the girls legs.

Friday, June 22, 2007 7:39 PM

isn't Disney's track record even worse??

Most of the deaths/injuries at Disney have been because of pre-existing conditions of the riders. They weren't because a ride op failed to secure a guest or the ride malfunctioned and injured people.
Friday, June 22, 2007 8:05 PM
Two of the most recent deaths at Disneyland were a.) Big Thunder's derailment, and b.) a cable/rigging snapping on the docks which killed a man. Also, Indiana Jones has allegedly caused head trauma - case settled out of court. Given the volume of people that go through Disneyland, they qualify as freak accidents where a ride malfunctions, just like this current tragedy at SFKK.
Friday, June 22, 2007 8:56 PM
Sandor Kernacs is now saying Intamin did not supply the actual cable that broke. Let the finger pointing begin... (sigh)

Friday, June 22, 2007 9:13 PM
I don't see any finger pointing going on at all.The ride is 14 years old, and I'm sure by now they have found a different supplier for the cables. I think the obvious was just being stated, but hating on Intamin is the "cool" thing to do, so I guess I have to let it go...

edit: (sigh)...

*** This post was edited by Raven-Phile 6/22/2007 9:15:03 PM ***

Friday, June 22, 2007 10:35 PM
If the high tensioned cable breaking was the cause of this accident then I completely agree with Nascar that the less cables the more tension there is and is not a good thing to have so close to riders. I bet the cure will be add more cables till when a cable snaps it will not snap at a dangerous velocity.

I have always been nervous about Intamin Rockets and the proximity of the cable to spectators and (unavoidable) riders. Anyone think it is time to re-evaluate the safety of those rides?

Friday, June 22, 2007 11:04 PM
Even if the cable snapped at a high velocity, from what I gathered from the info available, that's not what severed the feet, the cable somehow wrapping around them did. Until the official report comes out we won't know for sure, but it looks like once the cable snapped (which may or may not have been able to be prevented) it was just unfortunate luck that it wrapped around her legs...
Friday, June 22, 2007 11:33 PM
Adrock 22 said, "It is well known that there have been many maintenance cutbacks this year at a many a theme park, so I do believe there MIGHT have been a way to prevent this."

Please point me to the stories about the various theme parks that have had maintenance cutbacks this year.

Something tells me you won't find any. Theme parks learned that they should never cut back on maintenance because if they did and something happened, they would have a fiasco on their hands like Disney did with Big Thunder Railroad. Unless it comes out in the media that Kentucky Kingdom was not properly maintaining this ride, I don't think you should be speculating that maintenance is an issue, especially stating an opinion that can't be backed up with any facts as a fact.

Friday, June 22, 2007 11:58 PM
Just out of curiosity, aside from the parks already mentioned, who else has this generation drop tower? I'm thinking Pitt Fall at Kennywood is this generation as well. I know most of the Cedar Fair versions are either S&S Power or the third generation. But aside from Six Flags, who else has this type of ride?
Saturday, June 23, 2007 12:14 AM
^Paramount Fair. "The five Cedar Fair rides that will be shut down are at Kings Island near Cincinnati; Canada's Wonderland, in Toronto; Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va.; Carowinds, in Charlotte, N.C.; and Great America in Santa Clara, Calif."

So even the 3rd-gens (PKI, PKD) are closed. PGA, PCar, PCW have 2nd-gens.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 12:19 AM
A radio news report in Toronto went something like this today:

"Drop Zone at Canada's Wonderland is closed and will remain that way until an investigation into an accident on a similar ride in the US can be compeleted. On the Superman Tower Of Power at a Six Flags park earlier this week, a teenage girl had both her feet severed while riding. We want to make it clear that there was no accident or injury at Canada's Wonderland, but on a similar ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in the US, and Drop Zone is only closed as a precaution."

When I got home tonight, I had a message from a friend asking if I'd heard about the girl who got her feet cut off on the Superman Ride at Wonderland. Gotta love how people listen to the news!

BTW: Canada's Wonderland's Drop Zone is the same as the one at SFKK, only 230 ft tall instead of 175.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 12:39 AM
Walt S:

Kennywood indeed has a second generation drop tower. Local news reported today that the park closed the ride for a closer inspection of the cables, and reopened it by mid-afternoon.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 12:42 AM
I haven't replied about this incident yet because I want to watch what I say.

It's just so tragic and it almost brought me to tears a few times. It turns me stomach to read this. Poor 13 year old girl.

Yesterday I wanted to go off and start blaming SF. I still want to. They own the park. They are responsible for inspecting their rides and making sure that they are safe. Freak accidents do happen though, and just maybe it's no ones fault.

I was going to visit SFKK for the first time in my life this summer. I am having second thoughts. Maybe it's not because I blame the park, maybe it's because I am so disturbed by such a vulgar thing happing to a young girl that I can't bring myself to go.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 2:24 AM
I wouldn't cancel my trip if I were you. You don't stop driving your car because you hear about some horrible accident on the news do you. While this is a horrible accident and I hope that the girl recovers in time. I don't think that it necessary to cancel a trip over.
Saturday, June 23, 2007 4:17 AM
anyone know if there's been success in reattaching the girl's feet? I can't find anything on this. I know they were trying.
Saturday, June 23, 2007 7:35 AM
As I posted earlier, I am trying to find out what the difference is between the 2nd gen Intamin drop towers (SFKK) and the 3rd gen drop towers (KI & KD). Others have stated that they both use a catch car to pull the seat module to the top with cables. Now what are the differences in the cabling lift mechanism between the two generations?
  • KI & KD's drop zone has 4 cables (2 pairs on opposite sides of the catch car). The cables and catch car run up and down on the ouside of the tower.
  • The motor(s) are in the top of the tower that turn reels/drums, that hold the cables, to raise and lower the catch car. There is no cabling below the catch car.

What about the 2nd gen drop towers?

  • Both KI & KD's seating layouts are rings which extend 10-15 feet away from the tower itself.
  • KI's version has a mechanism to rotate the seat ring as it is being lifted; KD's does not.
  • KD's seat ring has about 8-10 more seats than KI's.

What type of seating layout does a 2nd gen drop tower have?

I think these cables on the Intamin 3rd gen drop towers are about an inch in diameter. I have a hard time believing that the cables on a 3rd gen drop tower could "wrap" around a persons legs. Impossible? .... no ..... but the probablilty is pretty small. You would think that, at least on a 3rd gen drop tower, a person or persons would have upper body injuries, of some sort, from the cable dropping from above and hitting them.

UPDATE ....... I saw pictures, on the news, of the frayed cable end sticking out from the side of the tower about a third to halfway up the tower. And I saw the video of the drop tower in action at SFKK, (a youtube video), at the MSNBC web site. The Intamin 2nd gen drop tower doesn't look anything like the 3rd gen drop towers. I see no external cabling or external catch car on the 2nd gen tower. Both the cabling and catch car ride within the tower structure on a 2nd gen Intamin drop tower. If the cables, on a 2nd gen DT, are configured to run in a loop, then I could see how this horrible accident might have occured.

If the cable snapped below the riders, then the cable could have left the channel and wipped up and struck the riders. Also, SFKK's drop tower seating is right up against the tower in 2 seat sections. I could see how a slack cable could form a loop and someone catching their legs in the loop on the way down.

I really feel for the girl and her family right now. I hope the surgery went well and she can make a good recovery. It saddens me whenever anyone gets hurt or killed on any type of ride as I enjoy amusement rides and parks.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 7:54 AM
^ 2nd generation towers have individual cars with 4 seats per car. Towers can have anywhere between 3 and 6 cars (there might even be one with 2 cars). The cars are right next to the tower unlike the 3rd generation towers. Each car has its own catch car. Cables are on the outside of the tower, 3 cables per catch car (but SFKK may only have 2 per catch car because it is an older 2nd gen).
Saturday, June 23, 2007 9:20 AM
I would first like to say my thoughts, prayers and heart go out to this little girl and her family.

When I went thru Navy bootcamp one of the many things things they trained us on was breaking tension of ropes(lines). When mooring(tying up) to the pier or tying up outboard of another ship the lines are under great tension. They would show films of what happended when they broke loose due to being under too much tension. It got all of our attention with how horrific an accident like this can be.

These lines can and have cut bodies in two, severed limbs, etc. They came up with a simple system called a "tattletale line", which is a small line attached to the main line. When this smaller line starts to pull taught, it lets us know how much tension is being put on the line. The Navy also now uses special made lines that reduce snapback.

Guess what I am trying to say is instead of, or after the fingerpointing is done, maybe they can come up with a system to let them know when critical tension has been reached, or maybe a different material that can be used.

Again my thoughts go out to the little girl and her family. *** This post was edited by 6/23/2007 9:43:32 AM ****** This post was edited by 6/23/2007 9:45:31 AM ***
*** This post was edited by 6/23/2007 9:56:43 AM ***

Saturday, June 23, 2007 9:46 AM
This sounds to me like the operators wern't watching the ride. Cables don't snap quietly.
Saturday, June 23, 2007 10:07 AM
^And what do you expect the operators would have done in that few seconds (if that long) between the time the cable snapped and the time the incident occurred? You can watch the ride all you want and not prevent this kind of freak incident from happening. Please refrain from making these kinds of stupid comments in the future.

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