Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 8:40 AM | Contributed by supermandl
A 21-year old woman was killed Friday morning when she was struck by the Scream roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. She was in a restricted area prior to the park's opening. A Cal-OSHA investigator says she crossed the track while the ride was in motion.
Yes, parks make "off limits" areas and employees/guests must adhere to them. This is a tragic accident but it appears that it is one that should never have happened if someone would have only followed the rules.
The only way I could think for a park to make it safer to walk from the station to the mid-course and back would be to build a walkway with hand rails on both sides. Not only would it protect the employees it would also protect the park from lawsuits. I don't think any lawyer (well i'm sure there are a few) would take a case where a person has a direct "safe" path from point A to point B and the person jumped a handrail walked in a danger zone and was injured or killed.
I saw some crazy things when I worked in ride ops. Crossing the track while the ride was in motion doesn't surprise me. In fact, I bet it happens a lot more than you hear about. I know of cases where someone jumped on the back of a train as it exited the station and jumped off at the lift hill. I have seen ride ops jump on a train as it was pulling into the station. And these are the rather "normal" things I have seen. I won't even go into detail about the really crazy stuff so as to not encourage other would be morons.
My goodness, what park were you in operations in? I am in my second year in Operations at SFOT and while I have seen some stupid stuff, nothing NEARLY as stupid as improperly riding a train out of, into, or through the station. I have seen thing such as a new attendant exiting the train when it stopped on the lift hill for a trouble light during a safety run, a person or two crossing between train cars, and just the regular not paying attention, but never anything as severe as you have witnessed. That almost makes me sick. Its a wonder there arent more accidents with people unsafely operating rides like that.
I feel bad for the woman, but as has probably been said before, if she was trained as an operator on scream she should have known better, and probably did, than to cross the track at any time, much less without the ride lockout in place. Sounds like to me she was maybe just looking for some sort of shortcut.
Everyone at SFOT was sat down and informed of this situation the day after the death and safety policies were reviewed by upper management to ride leads, and then to ride operators/attendants by their respective leads.
Its a sad day for SFMM and all of the other Six Flags parks who put themselves in the "What if this happened to us?" shoes like we did. Lets pray for better training to come out of this.
But really, we're talking about someone's death. That typo is pretty irrelevant.
*** This post was edited by Mamoosh 4/12/2004 5:20:20 PM ***
Please, all ride operators, maintenance personnel, and supervisors out there; these procedures may seem like a pain in the backside at times, but they are there to protect you.
To me it sounds like she had to go into the ride area and walk to the mid course while it was running to restart the ride. To me it just seems like she went into a restriced area as a "short cut" to get back to the station.
It was just as much the operator's fault for not checking the entire ride for employees as it was hers for not informing anyone of her intention to recheck the brakes.
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