Investigators don't know why groundskeeper was struck by train

Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2001 6:23 AM | Contributed by Jeff

While the cause of death is obvious, it is still unclear why a worker was beneath Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce when it struck him dead. According to the report, there is some indication that the groundskeeper was not wearing hearing protection.

Read the whole story from The Bristol Press.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2001 6:32 AM
Am I wrong,or would he have had to literally had his head sticking up through the track in order to have been hit. I don't see any other way to be hit by a train unless he was standing on the track. I feel for his family, but it does make you wonder........................
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 6:32 AM
Perhaps he did hear the train but couldn't get out in time?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2001 6:44 AM
Jeff's avatar His head was sticking up between the support beams, between the rails. Why is that so hard to imagine?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2001 6:53 AM
It's hard to believe, but that was my conclusion as well.

I think maybe the early schedule could have caused some of the confusion. Compounce opened several days from 9am to 4pm instead of their normal 11am opening time.

My guess is that he didn't understand or wasn't told about the earlier schedule and just didn't realize the danger he was in.

My thoughts also to the family and loved ones.
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 7:39 AM
Did they find him with any traces of achohol in his system or any other drugs or hauliciginons.
I don't see why he would have his head through the tracks. I really do feel bad for the family but I think there is something more to this story.

Gosh people can't you take a joke. Just laugh and get on with life.
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 12:27 PM
I'm sorry, but if that my assignment for the day, even if I'm 100% sure the park is closed, I'm still not gonna stick my head through those supports. To me it would feel like putting my head in a guillotine. I would whack the weeds while bending over if necessary, but I certainly wouldn't stand up in there.
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 12:56 PM
Did he get hit in the head or something?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2001 1:13 PM
Mamoosh's avatar Don't forget that the blade for the trim brakes extends down from the trains and is probably just inches from the cross beams that support the track [the beams he allegedly put his head thru]. While it is a horrific thought it is possible that is what struck him.
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 1:22 PM
kpjb's avatar What a terrible way to die, what a shame that a simple master lock would have saved his life.

All ride ops/park employees out there remember these words... LOCK OUT / TAG OUT!

If your employer won't give you a lock out for an unsafe job/area you don't have to work there. It's a federal law, tell OSHA and you can't be fired for it. I'm not blaming the victim here, just trying to inform others so this never has to happen again.

Amusement parks are fun places and so often that image blurs people to the inherent dangers that lie there, too. Be careful, folks. This didn't have to happen, and it doesn't have to happen again.

Could you describe the ruckus?
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 7:42 PM
Is that kpjb directly above? With Lynx it's kind of hard to tell. Anyway, whoever you are, you took the words right out of my fingers.

The absolute most basic problem here is that there was apparently no lockout procedure. There is an area under the ride which is not secure, and if anybody was going to be under the track, the ride should have been locked out. I think it's overkill (if you'll pardon the term) to do what I see at some parks where the entire ride infield is locked off, but certainly any hazardous space below the ride should be protected. Probably the simplest way to do it would be to nail cyclone fencing to the underside of the track anywhere that the track ties are closer than 8' to the ground. See, that's the next step: Figure out a way to make sure the accident never happens again.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 9:21 PM
That probably wouldn't work on a wooden coaster, though, where the track has to be walked every day. You go from saving to grounds crew to endangering the maintanence crew.

It's equally likely, as Boulderdash uses PTCs, that he was hit with one of the two main beams that run below the cars -- one of which contains the brake fin.
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:43 PM
Why did they even have him working under there in the first place during operation ?

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