Lasitter smelled burning flesh when her feet were severed in Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom accident

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:13 AM | Contributed by Jason Hammond

A teenager whose feet were severed last summer in an amusement park ride accident said in a court filing she remembers cables whipping against her body, a burning odor, and a fear that she might not survive. Kaitlyn Lasitter, then 13, said she felt like her whole body was hot and on fire.

Read more from AP via Google.

Here's the full deposition on The Courier-Journal.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:21 AM
That's gruesome...
Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:22 AM
When you read that deposition, it's pretty clear to me now that an e-stop may have had some impact, whether it was from a sensor detecting the broken cables or human intervention. It doesn't sound like her feet were severed until the drop.
Thursday, January 31, 2008 10:57 AM
I thought I had alot of respect for this girl before but now I have even more. I can't believe she went through this.
Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:12 AM
I agree with Jeff. It seems her feet weren't severed until the drop. Also, it sounds like it could've been much, much worse, had the girls not removed the cables from their necks and other areas of their bodies.

What a horrible experience.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 12:17 PM
Wow... if I were advising Six Flags, I'd tell them to settle, and quick. Does not look good for them at all. It certainly won't endear them to patrons of SFKK if they try to fight this.
Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:16 PM
WOW! That article made my eyes water. Have kids of my own and can not imagine that call. Had a similar instance with my wife once and that was bad enough. Agree that they need to pay now and be done with it.
Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:34 PM
^Ditto. I found it hard to not get choked up while reading the deposition. What an absolute nightmare.
Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:34 PM
I didn't want to keep reading it, but I couldn't stop reading it.

I can't see how it wouldn't have been far LESS expensive for Six Flags to settle--including lots and lots of zeroes--than to force these poor folks on the witness stand to relive this day.

And I certainly don't even wish to consider anything like this happening to my 15 year-old daughter or her 11 year-old sister during an outing for 'fun.'


Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:44 PM
After the other recent article about the ride operator and the e-stop button, my viewpoint really changed on this. I can only go by CP's procedures, but when you're in control of a ride, your hand should be over the e-stop button, or at least near it.

Jeff made the point that this isn't done on coasters and what happens when the operator has to do crowd control. Roller coasters always have a person at controls where an e-stop button is. The lift and brakeruns out of sight have cameras to be able to see what's going on (quick access if a noise is heard). Crowd control should always be done either between cycles or by someone who isn't in control of the ride.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:52 PM
Jesus. If the cable snapped that early on and nobody pressed an E-stop that suggests to me the ride operators were not paying any attention at all. Surely it should have been obvious that these screams were more than the usual...
Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:52 PM
Well, those of us who are parents AND love this industry must have similar feelings. I feel so much emotion for the young lady and her parents. It is one thing to have a child hurt in a car accident or a sporting related injury but you just don't expect to go to the hospital because of an injury at an amusement park.

This was absolutely heart-wrenching to read. And, I feel badly for the witnesses, the ride operators and first responders.

Unfortunately, I was involved in the immediate aftermath of a ride accident. Fortunately, there were no life threatening injuries but I remember sitting on the lift hill of this rollercoaster and staring at people with bloodied noses, hurt backs, etc. I remember specifically one girl just crying and crying about her glasses being missing. Here she was just involved in a major accident and she was bleeding and she was absolutely beside herself about her glasses. I was like, listen...we'll take care of your glasses...forget about your glasses. Obviously, she was in shock and I probably was too.

The terror they had as the continued to climb and then waited the fall...well...forget about it.

I don't believe in frivilous lawsuits but there is nothing frivilous about this. If I were on the jury Six Flags have cause for concern. And, if this had happened at Disney, Cedar Fair or anywhere else my feelings wouldn't be different.*** This post was edited by wahoo skipper 1/31/2008 1:54:01 PM ***

Thursday, January 31, 2008 2:20 PM
If she's right (and not distorted on her height perspective) they were barely off the ground when the cable snapped. That's a good 10-15 seconds (I'm guessing, never been on the ride, but even on PT it would be about this long) of them trying to get hot cables off of them.

My arms went cold while trying to read that. I still can't imagine anyone, much less a child, having to go through that kind of trauma.

Friday, February 1, 2008 1:29 PM
I'm with Richard on this,20 feet above the ground isn't really even out of sight of the operator's view so he should've heard the sound of the cable snapping & hit the e-stop on the main panel ASAP.

I don't know how SFKK does it but on TOD at SFA the ride op at the panel will physically look up at the car as it's ascending(that is if the center car is working as it's the one most often shut down) so that if any problems are detected he/she can shut the ride down as quickly as possible.

Friday, February 1, 2008 2:33 PM
It is really incredible that the ride operator didn't stop the ride. At the same time, I can't believe that the ride doesn't have an automatic stop if a cable looses tension.

Gomez is right, I have seen CP ride operators intently watching the ride with a hand on the E-stop button. Shouldn't Six Flags train their operators to do that also? One could argue that a tower ride like that is difficult to watch because it is so tall, but that is exactly the reason an automatic shutoff for cable problems should have been implemented. How can the manufacturer think that having a moving vehicle around a loose cable is in any way acceptable?

In reading the deposition, this accident should have only involved some cuts and bruises. The severe injuries could have been avoided.

Friday, February 1, 2008 4:58 PM
Wow. That is gruesome. :(
Friday, February 1, 2008 10:21 PM
I'm really curious to hear the other side of this story. Like everyone here, I am just as shocked and saddened by this story, and I think that everyone who works in the amusement park industry should read those excerpts (Its not disimilar to the practice that we used to have of showing the Dateline story about the water slide collapse to our supervisors at the beginning of every season).

What I'm curious about is what evidence that Six Flags has that they think that putting this young lady through this ordeal is worth not settling?

Friday, February 1, 2008 11:29 PM
Who said they didn't try to settle? A settlement requires both parties to agree. My guess is that the family's lawyers said no deal, we can get more by going to court. Frankly I don't blame them.
Saturday, February 2, 2008 6:49 PM
Jeff: Excellent point.
Saturday, February 2, 2008 11:25 PM
Wow! What an article. My heart really goes out to this little girl and her family. I hope they get every cent and more that is coming to them.

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