Girl seriously injured from free fall at Extreme World in the Dells

Posted Saturday, July 31, 2010 12:37 AM | Contributed by Kick The Sky

A 12-year-old girl was injured Friday when safety nets for a thrill ride at Extreme World failed to completely break her 40-foot free-fall and she struck the ground. Lake Delton Police Chief Thomas Dorner said the victim lives out of state. He said a preliminary investigation determined that the girl was released during her free fall, but that the net mechanism that was supposed to catch her and break her fall was not high enough above the ground.

Read more from The Journal Sentinel.

Sunday, August 1, 2010 12:53 PM

Oh my! I hope she pulls though okay. :( I can't believe what her family has to be going through right now.

About two weeks ago I actually saw a video on Youtube about this very ride that was a snippet of a Travel Channel show I believe. After seeing it I could not stop thinking about how that idea completely goes against with my knowledge of climbing practices. In climbing you never ever walk on a rope as this grinds dirt and other stuff into it, thereby weakening it from the inside.

I also know that climbing rope needs to be fully replaced after about 3 or so falls of a certain height...40 ft maybe...I don't quite remember that fact as it has been a few years. This is due to the stretching and breaking that occurs within the rope.

While I am sure that a catch net is designed differently then a normal climbing rope, I am sure that these same principles do apply at a higher fall to replace ratio. As if you are in financial trouble though, it is very possible that you are not replacing that net when it needs to be replaced.

Also, the video showed that the park does have it's own scales that you must weigh in at before doing any of their fall towers. So they do not go on your word for this.

Side note @ LK: After reading your post the first thought that popped into my mind were those huge foam block pits that you are always seeing "extreme sport" athletes jumping into. Using those as a secondary catch device would be extremely safe.

Sunday, August 1, 2010 12:57 PM

This is very sad news. I hope this girl makes it.

My author website:

Sunday, August 1, 2010 1:15 PM

LostKause said:
A "clever" fix for this problem with this "ride" would be to roll up a stairway, like at an airport, up to the net to allow the "rider" to disembark from the net. That sounds a lot safer to me than to potentially have the net be too low to the ground while someone is falling onto it.

Or have the floor under the net raise into place when the "ride" is over. This floor could be made to easily break away if their was a high impact, such as this, so that if it was accidentally left up, and a "rider" fell onto it, it wouldn't be life-threatening.

Sounds reasonable enough, but I'm guessing you haven't seen this in action. The net is a catcher and forms a pretty extreme man-trap when stretched. It has to be lowered (or platform raised but that might be more problematic) or the person is going to remain pretty well caught.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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

Sunday, August 1, 2010 3:02 PM

DaveStroem said:
The girl is in critical condition

text removed... please don't quote an entire article, a link is fine. -J

The article states that the girl "injured herself." Doesn't sound that way to me.

Monday, August 2, 2010 12:59 PM
RPM's avatar

I saw this ride on that 'Burt' Travel channel show and thought it looked completely insane. Is their something that keeps the rider from twisting during the fall and landing on their front-side or head?

Couldn't they dig a trench below the ride to give a little extra room for error if the net isn't raised enough?

Monday, August 2, 2010 12:59 PM

Also, throwing an extreme-sports style foam pit beneath it as a secondary catch mechanism poses its own problems. A fall from that height into a foam pit means that you're wayyyyyyyyyyy down in the foam pit, and you're basically trapped in blackness, totally disoriented, immobile from the weight of the foam all around you, and completely helpless to extract yourself. You depend totally on the ability of someone (like someone with a crane) to find you, and that's much harder than it sounds.

As evidence, there's a show on MTV called Nitro Circus where Travis Pastrana and his redneck friends do rednecks-with-money-and-no-fear sort of stunts (kind of like a less vulgar, redneck Jackass). In one episode, one of the people on the show, "Tommy", basically jumps from a 50ft platform into a foam pit (hey that sounds kinda like a SCAD tower...). He goes down about 20 ft and it takes something absurd like ~20 minutes to find him. Here's a link to the episode (I'd look on youtube for a shorter video but I'm on lunch at work right now & youtube is blocked).

So basically, while a foam pit might prevent immediate death in the event of a failed net, it raises all kinds of problems on its own. I don't understand why there's not a simple 'red light' lockout like there is on many coasters: if the net isn't in place, the light is red, and you could mash the 'drop' button all you want and it'd never do anything until the net was locked in place and the light went green. Seems like very poor design to me.


Monday, August 2, 2010 2:25 PM

This is so disappointing. The parks condition will negatively affect the girl they harmed.

This place and the mentioned attraction were featured on Bert the Conqueror.

Monday, August 2, 2010 6:03 PM

^^ I was actually thinking about that episode when I was writing up my comment. The thing is though that the net would still break the fall a good amount before breaking, so therefore you would not go as deep as he did. You could also have some sort of quick release to open up the pit and have the blocks fall out. Also in this case the net appears to have not been high enough and did not break but actually gave too much. Therefore, the person was still in the net. If they had landed on a foam pit then you would still be able to just lower the net to let the person walk out, or at most raise it slightly to pull them out.

Monday, August 2, 2010 8:30 PM

Does anybody know what kind of range there is vertically in where they place the net for people of different weights/sizes? Also, how elastic is the material used in the net? If it starts to lose elasticity over time, it will sag more when it captures people than when originally installed.

So it sounds like there is no secondary or backup system in place here, unlike just about every other thrill ride out there. The net doesn't work, you're screwed.

Monday, August 2, 2010 8:50 PM

When I watched it, There speared to be only one net, Nothing but blacktop under it. Of course it could be layers of net. Like I said earlier a few came closer than I thought they would to the ground. Most did not

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 4:30 AM

Here is the Travel Channel video of the ride for reference. There is only one net and no backup. There does appear to be a little bit of padding below the tower, but it does not appear to be very thick.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 11:07 AM
DaveStroem's avatar

Seems that the nets were laying on the ground and were never raised.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 11:40 AM

From the first article:

Riders on Extreme World's Terminal Velocity are supposed to be dropped from 140 feet into a net 100 feet below the bottom of the platform, police said. The net is 40 feet off the ground.

However, when Teagan was released, she was only 100 feet up, and the net was fully on the ground, according to a news release from the Lake Delton Police Department. Only the tubing around the net was inflated.

Her father is right. It's a miracle she's alive. A quick skim of the literature suggests that heights as low as three stories can be fatal.;107/5/1188

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 12:56 PM
obxKevin's avatar

I just can't believe there is no fail-safe for the release mechanism on this ride. There should be absolutely no way that the participant could even be released before the net is in the correct position.

Un-freakin'-believable. I feel so bad for this girl, the family and witnesses. This type of event never leaves you.

The poster formerly known as 'Zcorpius.' Joined 2004
Tuesday, August 3, 2010 4:37 PM

You can simply fall down from standing and die, A lot has to do with what hits.where.

All the anurisms from falling in the tub?
Fall forward and hit nose cartlage into brain. Yeah you ususally just break something but It can happen


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