Knott's plans additional restraint for Plunge, Intamin says it isn't needed

Posted Friday, May 10, 2002 7:57 AM | Contributed by CoasterFanMatt

Following the death of an extremely obese woman who was tossed from Perilous Plunge, Knott's Berry Farm says it will modify the restraints of the giant flume. Intamin maintains that the existing restraint is perfectly safe provided its guidelines are followed.

Read more from the Orange County Register.

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Friday, May 10, 2002 8:12 AM
There's just something I don't like about this situation. Afterall its just a water ride.....that said if the woman had been properly restrained she wouldnt have gotten killed.

PLUS....its isnt height or weight . Its more about the proportions correct?

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Friday, May 10, 2002 8:17 AM
Copy and paste:

I think we should wait for an official annoucement before making assumptions. Knott's will do what is best for the park "all around", they have to protect themselves as well as the integrity of the ride, that's a slippery compromise. Remember the Vertigo removal? All the defenders of CF's decision were quick to defend it as a matter of "perceived safety", and that the GP would never ride it. If you apply that same logic and foresight to PP, your looking at far more than government regulations and overreacting parks. Your also looking at the "perceived" danger the GP MAY see in this ride.

You have to make them feel safe as well. *** This post was edited by OutKast on 5/10/2002. ***

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Friday, May 10, 2002 8:20 AM
Mamoosh's avatar

Here's something interesting in the article: "The decision on restraints for Perilous Plunge will affect the opening of Knott's newest roller coaster, Xcelerator, also built by Intamin. Knott's had planned to open Xcelerator on Memorial Day weekend, but a final decision has not been made on restraints for the two 20-seat trains."

I hope its open for ACE Con!

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2002 - the year of IB's LoCoSuMo!!

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Friday, May 10, 2002 8:21 AM

This is a bit much. A 4-point pilot's harness?

Why are they going through all of this trouble when, as Rideman has pointed out, all that is needed is to make sure passengers are seated with their knees above the lapbar a la SOB & FoF?

And then there's this: Who wants to strap on that soggy harness that 1,000 other sweaty, grimy guests have strapped on before? Not me.

I'd guess that it's safe to assume I'm missing something, but I think it's overkill.

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"He's blazin' away like the stars in the universe.." A. Vega + M. Rev "Ghostrider"

Someday there will be something here.

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Friday, May 10, 2002 9:17 AM

You're kidding me. A 4 point restraint?! That's complete bull crap for a Shoot The Chutes ride!

Cmon! We all know how long it takes for a ride op to strap a person into a SkyScraper! Can you imagine how long it's gonna take the GP to do?

There is absoluely no need for this. If fat people would do something right, like visit a salad bar, and pay attention to posted warnings, none of this would have happened. Either keep anyone who is "obese" (ahem, fat) off the ride, or train ride ops who will actually stop them from riding before it's too late.

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-Kyle Brylczyk
KoRn - Untouchables, June 11th, 2002

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Friday, May 10, 2002 9:28 AM
ShiveringTim's avatar The other question is will other existing rides with this restraint system get this new system, most importantly Millennium Force.

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Scott W. Short
mailto:scott@midwestcoastercentral.com
http://www.midwestcoastercentral.com

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Friday, May 10, 2002 9:35 AM
No, there isn't any good reason for Millenium Force (or any other ride) to get these restraints.

Knotts is only doing it because the state says they have to, and it is better than your normal bulky OTSR's.

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Xcelerator-
0-82 in 2.3 seconds! =Wow! *** This post was edited by CoasterFanMatt on 5/10/2002. ***

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Friday, May 10, 2002 9:49 AM
Jeff's avatar

Coaster131: Congrats... it only took a few posts for someone to be an insensitive moron. Like overweight people choose to be that way and can melt away the pounds whenever they feel like it.

The park was responsible for this person's safety. The rider was not an expert on safety restraint systems or their limitations.

In any case, as I said before, this restraint has given millions of rides to people who fit within Intamin's guidelines. The very same thing happened at Darien Lake when the overweight guy was tossed from the train. I can't imagine that these were guidelines not already in place when Plunge opened.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Friday, May 10, 2002 10:08 AM
I'm with Sandor on this one. Anybody care to start a pool on how long this boneheaded decision will last? Consider the fallout (so to speak)--

1) Loading time is about to go into the donniker.
2) This is almost guaranteed to have a negative impact on rider experience

Which will happen first: Will the "solution" prove to be so cumbersome that it will be abandoned; will they injure another rider; or will the declining ridership and bad press result in the ride's removal?

If the ride is capable of throwing riders, then why are they not doing the most sensible thing and reengineering the rollover at the top of the drop so that the ride can't throw anybody? If it's not capable of throwing riders, why don't they recognize that fact?

As for the decision to remove VertiGo!-- I should point out that I defended the decision but not on the grounds of percieved rider safety. If that were the case, then why do Cedar Point and Valleyfair! still have their Chaos rides?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, May 10, 2002 10:09 AM
But what exactly are the guidelines? According to the quotes by family members, ops, and other witnesses, this woman did "fit" in the restraints. The restraints just weren't designed to properly accomodate her build. I'm guessing that she had a big 'ol butt, positioning her in the seat so that her lap angled downward, allowing everything below the waist to slip right out from underneath the lap bar and through the seatbelt.

The fault, in my opininion, is in the design. Intamin should have designed the restraints so that if you fit, you're safe. No guess-work.

Now, I've never been on PP or any Intamin coaster with similar restraints, so this is all speculation on my part.

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"He's blazin' away like the stars in the universe.." A. Vega + M. Rev "Ghostrider"

Someday there will be something here. *** This post was edited by chris on 5/10/2002. ***

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Friday, May 10, 2002 10:49 AM
I'm not agreeing with this option by any means, but let's be real here, the changes to PP are going to have to be "visual" in order for all parties to be happy. Don't forget that Knott's is still involved in a lawsuit. They could also be "perceived" as not caring if you can't visually see that changes were made to the ride.

Something tells me that most people could give a rat's butt how large this woman was, the fact is, someone was ejected. That said, I do agree Dave that the current plan is idiotic. I guess I'm just defending the park's need to do something to please all sides.

Let me also say this. All you people whining about the OTSR placed an SFMM's Revolution can now see first hand what California parks have to put up with after there is an accident on the ride. *** This post was edited by OutKast on 5/10/2002. ***

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Friday, May 10, 2002 10:49 AM
I think this needs to be said, no more nice obese, FAT butt(i wish i could cuss) are already handicapped. if parks can make rules about handicapped riders, then I think FAT people count too. all intamin needs is a line like exists on B&M hypers. Lots of fat people get turned down on riders already, nobody is going to courts all the time for discrimination battles, if a person can't fit then tough. I only feel bad for tall people, u would think that Euro companies would make larger trains. I mean B&M and Intamin come from a country with some tall EUROS. FAT people do not count. Sorry for my use of fat. I feel really bad for those kids who lost their mom. but as long as guidelines are followed u are fine.
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Friday, May 10, 2002 11:04 AM

Eh.

what the four point harness does is makes it impossible for a person who shouldn't be on the ride to ride it, whether or not they can get the lap bar down. I would imagine said harness will have several or atleast one horizontal strap, and then just make it so if you're too big to be restrained, sorry, you can't ride. Easy way to measure girth.

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Friday, May 10, 2002 11:17 AM
Soggy's avatar From the article...
The manual sent to the state also prohibits anyone over 225 pounds from sitting in the last two rows of the boats "because of the higher negative G forces at the top of the down chute."

I'm 6'4" and over 225, so I guess I won't ever get the back seat on The Plunge. The really lame thing is, I have already ridden PP in the back seat. The restraints worked fine, I'm still here.

I only pray that Xcellerator has no such useless policy. If they go with the 6'4" height limit and 225 weight limit for the whole train (because the whole train will have mega ejector air) LOTS of people will be turned away.

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Nothing... NOTHING... can prepare you for... the Fourth Dimension!

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Friday, May 10, 2002 11:33 AM
Jeff's avatar

Chris: Fit according to who? Did the witnesses ever read Intamin's operating manual on who should ride? The only people who made a poor decision on this was the ride op, who was either too embarassed to say anything, didn't know someone that large shouldn't ride or just flat out used poor judgement. I've seen big people get into Superman at SFDL, where the lap bar went down and the rider "fit," but the bar was released and they were asked not to ride.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Friday, May 10, 2002 11:35 AM

Some of Intamin's position is probably that they want to distance themselves from any restraint that they did not design and provide for legal purposes.

Someone suggested recontouring the hill. That would eliminate the airtime that we all know and love. We certainly don't need to add elimination of negative G's to Markey's elimination of positive G's.

There were also expression along the lines of "It's just a chute the chutes ride." This ride has a longer and steeper drop than many roller coasters.

Restraints need to be carefully engineered. This sounds like a slap dash job that will result is ridiculously long loading times and restraints that it's hard to use properly and safely. I'm just waiting for the first law suit due to an injury caused by the new restraints. If they need better restraints, they should look at B&M's Hyper designs.

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Friday, May 10, 2002 11:59 AM

Jeff - That's exactly my point. No, the witnesses never read the manual, but saw the bar closed and the seat belt fastened. In other words, she "fit."

The restraint should be designed in a manner that provides a clear-cut definition of who does or does not "fit." That's why I used the term in quotes.

If I board a ride, fasten the belt, close the bar, and the vehicle dispatches, I assume that I "fit," and will arrive back in the station safely. A judgement call for the ride ops shouldn't be the deciding factor of who does or does not "fit."

Make it obvious:

"Sorry, the bar needs to go down this far, or you may not ride."

"Sorry, you've got to be able to fasten the belt properly to ride."

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"He's blazin' away like the stars in the universe.." A. Vega + M. Rev "Ghostrider"

Someday there will be something here.

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Friday, May 10, 2002 12:15 PM
It seems like some sort of minimum locking position would be good on the Intamin trains. For example, the bar must come back so far before it will lock. If it doesn't get back that far, it will pop back up. Apollo's Chariot has the little red line that must be visible in order for the restraint to be "locked." Basically what something like this would do is make sure the bar gets back far enough so that it's past the rider's knees. What I am picturing happened is that the rider was a short stubby fat person with small legs and a big belly. The bar came back against the belly, but her knees were actually back further than the belly (or maybe right below it) and the lapbar did not get over the knees enough.

Solving this issue with a four point restraint system kind of sounds like when doctors that drill a hole in someone's head to relieve the stress!

And people wonder why parks will not use seatbelt extenders. They are used as much as a measuring device as anything I think in a lot of cases.

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-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew *** This post was edited by MDOmnis on 5/10/2002. ***

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Friday, May 10, 2002 12:34 PM
Matt, that's exactly right for a lot of the European rides with hydraulic bars on them...the belt is there so that when the restraint is closed it meets the TÜV standards. A perfect example is on Wicked Twister, where the requirement is that the space between the bottom of the shoulder bar and the top of the seat bump shall me no more than 4" or whatever it is.

Personally, I think Sandor Kernacs has been wrong about a few things on this whole Plunge deal. It's not reasonable to expect the rider to hold on, for instance, and the fact that they managed to eject a "secured" rider indicates that maybe there IS a problem with the seat and restraint design on the ride. Unless they can demonstrate that a person of any arbitrary size can safely ride unrestrained, there is clearly a problem involving the ride restraint system...after all, with the restraints secure, someone popped out of the ride.

But he's right that Knott's, assuming this report is correct, is taking the wrong approach to trying to correct the problem.

See, folks, this is what happens when lawyers take over a system that ought to be run by engineers. If it weren't for the legal ramifications, Intamin could admit that there were potential issues with their restraint system and develop appropriate changes. Instead, we're going to get a bodge-job that might make the lawyers happy, but it will ultimately destroy the ride, and probably reduce rider safety in the process.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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