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

Posted Thursday, August 13, 2015 7:11 PM | 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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Friday, August 14, 2015 5:13 PM

It's a shame another roller coaster related death. My sympathy goes out to the victim's family and those riding Raptor. It's a shame for Cedar Park and the rest of the industry. This tragedy will be on the home pages of most of the media sites (ie. CNN, the Houston Chronicle, etc.). Some will question the safety of coasters, not knowing the context of this incident.

Let's not judge the incident at this moment without all the facts. We, members here, are adamant park goers and coaster enthuiasts. Thus, I assume most of us have a positive bias towards CP. I do question, how can this accident can be prevented. I don't know the fence specifics, but appears to be a typical hurricane fence. I did see a few benches adjacent to the fence. These fences, safety barriers, need to impenetrable. There's a need, and someone will find a way.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 5:23 PM

Concrete Enchilada said:

Thus, I assume most of us have a positive bias towards CP.

I don't have a CP bias, I have a common sense bias.

These fences, safety barriers, need to impenetrable.

No, really they don't. If we're talking about adults, in an ideal world you shouldn't even need a fence...or a sign...or anything. The fact that a full grown, normally functioning adult wouldn't know to stay out of the way of tons of metal moving at high speeds scares the **** out of me. How do these people manage to not get hit by cars and busses?

Then to go out of your way to put yourself in that situation...like literally exert additional effort to create a dangerous situation...

Wow.

I have no patience for this crap.

It's a lack of respect for the machines. We say it a lot, but...

Respect the rides, they don't respect you.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 5:43 PM

Concrete Enchilada said:

Let's not judge the incident at this moment without all the facts.

I feel confident that the few facts we do know about the incident are enough for me to "judge" what this guy did that got himself killed was absolutely stupid and devoid of common sense. Not sure what else we need to know.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 5:53 PM

The first two thoughts I had in terms of how could this have happened before I heard any details was either youth or alcohol. Young kids do a whole lot of dumb things (much of it documented for the world on youtube). But that wasn't the case here. Haven't heard anything about alcohol. Presumably that will be part of the investigation. Though ultimate explanation may just be a whole lot of stupid.

Wonder where his friends were in all of this. Did anyone try to talk him out of it or warn him?

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Friday, August 14, 2015 6:43 PM

The only way to make a fence impenetrable would be to not let anything in or out (if that word means what I think it means).

Therefore, it would be a place where a coaster train certainly couldn't fit. If a train can go in, a rider can drop something there, and someone is going to go into that hole to retrieve their phone, hat, or whatever.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 8:39 PM

Kind of funny, and somewhat related:

When you are waiting in the long straight queue for New Texas Giant at SFoT, there is your typical 6 foot chain link fence about 5 feet away from the queue line rails. There are signs all along this fence, every 20 feet or so that say something to the effect of "Danger, do not enter, electrified fence." As the queue line gets closer to the station, the chain link fence gets closer to the queue line until it's right next to the queue rails, there are no more signs, and people are leaning against the fence.

But I guess if you're dumb enough to be contemplating jumping the fence in the first place, perhaps an obviously fake "electric fence" sign can change your mind after all. Hey... whatever works.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 9:40 PM

Maybe harsher penalties for trespassing into the ride area, along with signage explaining the law would help? My point isn't to punish people, but to deter them from climbing the fence in the first place. Don't just parade someone out of the park without a refund if they are caught doing this. Take them to jail to await trial.

Because it's not only going to hurt the person who may get his head kicked off. It's also going to hurt the park's reputation and those who witness the accident. Heck, I bet insurance for a park will also go up due to accidents like this too.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 10:53 PM

This comes down to people's obsession with their damn cell phones. It has nothing to do with the safety of the ride or the park. We've become so obsessed with our phones and the data in them that we just lose our minds without it. Im sure this guy was a smart man. He was an educator and helped special ed kids. People go nuts when they do not have access to their phones and he made a quick decision to hunt it down. Im sure CP officials would have helped him retrieve it if he went to the admin office and asked for help. It's a sad situation for him, his family, and the park. I grew up in Ohio and CP was always a fun safe place. I just wish people could evolve instead of devolve. This is a crazy story. It pisses me off that several media outlets are creating headlines that this is "another dangerous day at an amusement park"! Once you read the article you find its just a poor guy searching for his beloved cell phone.

The real story here is our obsession and connection to these devices which makes us do very stupid things.

Now the guy who did this looking for his hat? Im not sure what was going on there. I've lost hats on rides and never thought to retrieve it. My phone... You bet I'd be looking for it. Not sure I'd jump a fence, but who knows what was on that phone.

My heart goes out to his family. I hope the media stops with the messed up headlines that CP and its rides will kill you. It's nonsense.

Lastly, Im confused how the train could hit him and no one else was injured. I would think he was hit by a foot or leg which at speed, would have caused an injury. That part of the story seems strange.

Last edited by matt121779, Friday, August 14, 2015 10:56 PM
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Friday, August 14, 2015 11:00 PM

Either the seat was empty, or someone saw him and instinctively lifted their legs.

In any case, a blessing.

Last edited by OhioStater, Friday, August 14, 2015 11:27 PM
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Friday, August 14, 2015 11:07 PM

LostKause said:

Maybe harsher penalties for trespassing into the ride area, along with signage explaining the law would help?

I doubt it. This fellow deliberately chose to ignore both the many signs and the fence: Harsher penalties and additional signage would likely not register.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 11:10 PM

Just wondering why there are no eyewitness accounts of the accident from the people on the ride. I've been following this story and its interesting that no one has spoken to the media about the accident. Seems like there would be more people talking about the experience and what happened.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 11:29 PM

I can't think of a harsher penalty than death.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 12:17 AM

Somewhere I have read ( I haven't found the article again) that the object that caused this was located, and found to be completely destroyed, either from the impact with the ground or perhaps it had hit the track on the way down.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 6:59 AM

One theory I've held for a while on accidents like this one at amusement parks is the "false sense of security" theory. I liken it to people who leave their homes or cars unlocked in gated communities. It feels safer, because of the gate, but it really isn't that much safer.

Same thing with amusement parks. There are countless injuries at amusement parks that I think could be attributed to people thinking they are somehow safer in the gates than in "normal life". So, getting out of a slow moving boat on Pirates of the Caribbean seems innocent enough...until you find that getting trapped between two of those boats, each weighing a couple thousands pounds, doesn't feel too damn good.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 10:16 AM

Since people losing items on rides seems to be occurring with greater frequency, it seems as if the parks need to have a clear policy that all patrons know about what will happen if they lose items on a ride. I've seen a number of reviews of people who said that they lost their phones, could see it through the fence, reported it to the park, and never received them back, and some even said they called the police after, believing it to be park employee theft.

While ridiculous that so many people still lose items from open pockets knowing that the ride goes upside down, they sadly need the guarantee that they will get the lost items back. For so many people, a $600 item is impossible to immediately replace and worth risking a life. That being said, a sign which states the exact procedure for getting items back probably would do nothing for I would guess that about 20% of patrons probably reads signs.

On a fairly connected topic, walking underneath the Batman track on the main path at SFNE, my baby's stroller was missed by about two feet from a flying phone traveling at high speeds and was shattered on the pavement. How there is no netting in that spot is beyond me!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 11:23 AM

wahoo skipper said:

One theory I've held for a while on accidents like this one at amusement parks is the "false sense of security" theory...

...there are countless injuries at amusement parks that I think could be attributed to people thinking they are somehow safer in the gates than in "normal life".

I would certainly think this is a piece of the pie that contributes. The park is, for some people, an immersive escape from reality, and perhaps for some one's logic gets diminished. That's not an unreasonable assumption to make.

Another principle we all see displayed at amusement parks is a little social-psych phenomenon known as de-individuation. It essentially means that when you are with a group of your friends, especially in public places, your inhibitions can be lowered and you can be observed acting in ways that totally go against what you may think of as "you".

It's the power of the situation, and while we can all sit back and scratch our heads and wonder in disbelief how a middle-aged man was capable of such an act, the simple truth is there are times that humans' behavior is sometimes completely illogical and inexcusable; this is why for myself studies like Milgram's are endlessly fascinating and terrifying.

The first week of school here in Louisville is filled with grief counselors for the kids. It's a strange and emotional backdrop, for sure.

And now the drama of "should they change the name because of this" begins...

Last edited by OhioStater, Saturday, August 15, 2015 2:24 PM
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Saturday, August 15, 2015 2:39 PM

Tekwardo said:

I can't think of a harsher penalty than death.

I know I'm not supposed to be talking to you, but...

Me either. That's what I would want to prevent. Death. How do you prevent that? Keep people from entering the restricted area.

I want to prevent people from climbing the fences. If the signage is strongly worded, and tells of what could happen to them if they go into the restricted area, maybe that would deter them from doing it. I'm not saying "Send the effers to jail, and throw away the key!" I'm saying, "Scare the crap out of someone who may be thinking about doing it so they think twice." If tougher laws were in place, and the signage said so, maybe this kind of thing would happen less.

Something like:

"It is unlawful to enter this restricted area. Injury or DEATH may occur to you and/or the riders of this ride. Trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which includes up to a year in jail and $100,000 fine."

And then, perhaps a smaller font could explain how to legally and safely retrieve lost items in a friendly way.

I'm not blaming the park. I'm just looking for a better solution. At least letting people know the risks would keep them from putting their guard down if they did decide to enter the restricted area.

There are many good ideas for keeping this from happening again as well

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 2:52 PM

LostKause said:

I'm just looking for a better solution.

A better solution to what? People actively going out of their way to put themselves in harm's way?

At some point, you can't (and maybe shouldn't) stop stupid. The current measures in place are FAR beyond what should be necessary.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 3:07 PM

LostKause said:That's what I would want to prevent. Death. How do you prevent that? Keep people from entering the restricted area.

The problem is that you can't completely prevent people from entering a low-zone. You just can't. Yes, you could make the signs bigger, more threatening, and add more laws, but if someone is otherwise ready to ignore the DANGER DO NOT ENTER RESTRICTED AREA signs, is an even more-strongly-worded sign going to matter?

In general, you want to take reasonable steps to keep the Bad Things from happening. But, there's a point at which diminishing returns kicks in, and you'll never get to the point where the Bad Thing is impossible.

Here's an example of what I mean. A good friend of mine has a son who is gunning for Eagle Scout. One of the things he did this summer was a 12-day backcountry hike in Philmont. This is a serious hike, and takes serious planning. They go through a training regimen to get ready for this hike that would make most of us curl into a little ball and weep quietly. They have minimum requirements for how many people know wilderness first aid and CPR. As a result of these preparations, a Philmont hike is probably safer, statistically speaking, than even spending a day at an amusement park.

At the end of his hike, the first night he was back in base camp, another Scout on the trail got caught up in a flash flood and died. They camped 20 feet above flood stage, normally a safe spot even in heavy rain. Unfortunately, the flood was 25-30 feet. Should they now require all camps to be set up 30 feet from flood stage? If they do, that also probably makes large areas of the park out-of-bounds because there just isn't a suitable campsite high enough.

My friend does not think her son should not have gone. She does not think he was ever "unsafe." But, she also knows he could have died, because another Scout did. Bad Things happen, even if you take every precaution against the Bad Things.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 6:47 PM

OhioStater said:

It essentially means that when you are with a group of your friends, especially in public places, your inhibitions can be lowered and you can be observed acting in ways that totally go against what you may think of as "you".

I understand that.

I'm just having trouble connecting that with making an informed choice to enter a restricted choice to stand in the path of moving machinery.

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