Man struck and killed by Raptor at Cedar Point after entering restricted area

Posted | Contributed by Mike Gallagher

A Cedar Point guest died after he was struck by the Raptor roller coaster around 5 p.m. Thursday. According to a statement from the amusement park, the guest was in a restricted area of the park surrounded by a fence when it happened.

Read more from WKYC/Cleveland.

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Carousel Rabbit's avatar

Two comments. First in reply to DS: I don't have the book ready to hand for a proper citation, but I recall that in Cedar Point: Queen of American Watering Places, there is mention of an accident way back in the day, in which a drunk guy fell off the back of a coaster train and was hit by the next one. I believe it was on Dip the Dips but might have been on Leap the Dips. Anyone with better information should feel free to correct my details.

Second, there's a difference between what someone's at fault for, and what they deserve. I don't believe in the death penalty for stupidity, and likewise, I don't think it's a mistake to feel sympathy and regret for someone who died from foolishness. Heck, my own brother has done some amazingly dumb things in his life that could have gotten him killed (and he'd admit this freely). But he is a marvelous person in many ways who brings a lot of good into the world, and I would be terribly aggrieved to lose him, and every time I think about it, I'm extremely glad that in his reckless days he never got himself killed.

It has to be a traumatizing experience. To this day I occasionally think about the horror on the faces of the Texas Giant as people (including family members) watched as a lady plummeted to her death. Or what people thought on that ill fated day in June 2008 at Six Flags Over Georgia as the Batman train took someone's head off ?? Those are the kind of things that would give me nightmares for years to come and Im not easily shaken up. My heart goes out to all parties involved. Its amazing how as a society weve become so tethered to our cell phones that we'd risk our lives for them. =|

Are you MAN ENOUGH to ride this ride ?

LostKause said:

The train covers a pretty long distance in a very short time from the MCBR to the area the accident occurred. Watching the POV, it takes about ten seconds. It is reasonable for me to think that it just snuck up on the man and he didn't have much time to react.

But isnt Raptor a prime example of the "B&M" roar? You can hear it all the way by Gatekeeper. I feel for the poor soul, but at the same time if he had to jump the fence I would have thought hed be leary of his surroundings and be listening for that train to pass ?

Are you MAN ENOUGH to ride this ride ?
CoasterDiscern's avatar

I've been thinking a lot about what LostKause said in his last comment and I feel he is totally right. We all know a B&M as loud as raptor makes the most amount of noise when the train is hitting its highest g-forces. Bottom of drop, bottom of loop, straightaway before hitting cobra roll etc. After the mid coarse breaks it hits the first corkscrew pretty intensely, but after that it just plains out hitting that loooong straight away. Not saying it would have been totally quiet by any means, but to me that seems to be the most quiet part of the entire ride from what I can tell, minus the MCBR. It could have easily just glided in like a "raptor", took that dip without him realizing right before the last corkscrew and lights out. Regardless though of his mistake, it was still very stupid and he paid the ultimate price. Heart goes out to all!!

Ask not what you can do for a coaster, but what a coaster can do for you.
kpjb's avatar

The guy was 45. I assumed it was a teenager being reckless or showing off. I just really don't understand why anyone would do this.


I was at Wild Adventures last month and the ride shut down for 25 minutes because someone jumped the fence.

Twisted Typhoon (vekoma invert) It took a while and I did not see anyone get caught.

I was thinking this ride doesn't get close to the ground enough to hit someone.

I wonder how many of these happen and person doesn't get Hit ?

Maybe they need a Que video with a dummy getting head chopped ?

or Is that too insensitive if the families of these people see it.

Raven-Phile's avatar

I'm in no way condoning jumping fences to retrieve your stuff, but I do understand the panic involved with losing your keys or phone or whatever - but for the love of all that's good, are you really that stupid that you're not going to lay low to the ground? I mean, even if you're dumb enough to jump in there, you surely can't be stupid enough to not try and get out of the way when you see the train coming.

Obviously, if he could see it, and knew it was there - he could have waited for the park to close.

Jeff's avatar

Every time this happens, and agreed that it's pretty absurd that it happens at all, let alone frequently, I find it so difficult to sympathize with the deceased. It sucks when anyone dies unnecessarily, but to me this goes beyond high risk behavior and into a place of extraordinary lack of common sense. It's one step above putting your arm into a wood chipper. I just don't get it.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

slithernoggin's avatar

Raven, I think Lord Gonchar nailed it a few posts back.

Both Today and Good Morning, America had this story around the ten-minute mark in the first hours. Today's was straight forward, hit the facts, quoted the park's statement, on to the next story.

GMA's Gio Benitez took a more dramatic take, with footage of several of the park's coasters and the SPD officer at the news conference -- and even "...THIS video from the park's OWN website showing THIS coaster moving at SPEEDS of SIXTY MILES AN HOUR!"

(Couldn't help but notice that at the top of the piece, as the reporter was saying "...after riding THIS coaster..." the coaster we were seeing was Gatekeeper: you'd think the person who put together the video for this piece would have noticed "Raptor" changing colors and location of the seats relative to the track...)

And: what Jeff said.

Last edited by slithernoggin,

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Jeff's avatar

ABC News has really gone to ****. Can't be bothered with fact checking.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Raven-Phile's avatar

I find it interesting that people that are calling for showing some sympathy for this guy, but they'd be the first to comment on a drunk driver wrapping their car around a tree, calling them an idiot, etc..

It really is no different than getting totally hammered and going for a joyride. He put himself, and others (riders on the train) in danger, and ultimately paid the price.

Pete's avatar

Or going around RR crossing gates, climbing on railings on the upper deck of a ballpark (saw someone doing that last night), etc., etc. I can't really sympathize with this person either, it is just something so incredibly stupid and reckless that I find it hard to comprehend the thought process involved to do this. Especially someone in their 40's who is a teacher no less and should show a good example to his students. By the time you reach that age you would think common sense would have set in.

Last edited by Pete,

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

eightdotthree's avatar

The difference between the Facebook comments on Cedar Point's post vs CNN's is striking.

One way to further prevent this is to install fences that bend outward towards you. Those are significantly harder to scale but still can't prevent stupid if stupid really wants to be stupid.

I haven't read any comments anywhere else, but I can have sympathy with this guy. I also have sympathy with people who die while driving drunk. That's not to say I think either is ok. In fact, I think crossing into a restricted area under a coaster should be punishable with trespassing and endangering the lives around you just like I think drunk driving should be punishable to the fullest extent possible. Neither is ok in my book and I have no idea what he was thinking.

However, good people make really bad mistakes. You can still sympathize with someone while at the same time realizing they did something outrageous. I don't know anything about this guy, but I still choose to sympathize for him and accept the possibility that he may have done enough good in his life that outweighs the really stupid and tragic mistake he made on the way out. There is nobody to blame for what happened but him, but I'm not sure he got what he deserved.

Carousel Rabbit's avatar

Raven-Phile, I don't think you know me well enough to assume I would be making comments like that in that situation, especially since I probably average five posts in a year here. You'll just have to take my word (or not) that I don't really go in for that kind of thing.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Oh I wasn't directing at you. Mostly, I was referring to the comments on the CP Facebook page.

OhioStater's avatar

Posted this over at P-Buzz as well (for those of us who cross the borders here and there) :I did not know Mr. Young personally, but I've quickly learned in the past 16 hours or so how well liked and respected he was in our community. We certainly would have crossed paths sooner than later, as the "dream job" he just landed was at my daughter's school.

That said, changing gears ever so slightly;

One thing I find annoying, but not surprising, is the subtle nods to "danger" the media makes when presenting the story. Not all, but some.

For example, CNN has a brief story about the incident here, but as you read, embedded within the story are links to "To year old dies after riding roller coaster", and "Theme park ride breaks, sends riders flying".

The subtle message being presented your brain is to associate Cedar Point and amusement parks with fear and the risk of death. Ridiculous nonsense and irresponsible to connect these types of situations. (Much like the sensationalized ABC story as well).

Last edited by OhioStater,

That is just business as usual. Millions of people go to amusement parks, have a good time and return home safely doesn't sell newspapers or ad time. But one guy makes a dumb decision and gets killed does. Negative events rule the day. Watch the evening news and you will be afraid to go to a restaurant, drive a car or even drink tap water. People doing good things rarely gets coverage but something bad happening or someone doing something they shouldn't have done will be all over the media for weeks.

The first time I took my wife to Cedar Point when we first began dating, a guy jumped the fence and was walking around under the lift hill of Raptor to retrieve a hat. He was in plain sight of the operators so the ride was shut down and security escorted him out. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty confident that this individual was mentally slow. Needless to say, security escorted him out of there before they started the ride again. Thankfully he wasn't hurt, but it was a stupid choice to begin with. If my theory of him being slow is correct, the people who should be watching him should have been embarrassed of themselves.

Dave Barber

janfrederick's avatar

For the comments about the guy not hearing it, I don't think sound alone could help much with pinpointing the exact location. I would imagine the noise would degenerate into a general din all around you. That being said, if I had decided to get my $#!+, my head would have been on a swivel. I'm wondering if he tripped at some point, panicked and tried running?

Last edited by janfrederick,
"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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