Oakwood charged in 2004 Hydro death

Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 9:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Oakwood has been charged under health and safety legislation following the death of Hayley Williams, 16, in 2004 after falling from the Hydro Ride. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a summons alleging it failed to ensure people on the ride were not exposed to risks to their safety.

Read more from The BBC.

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Friday, February 22, 2008 9:54 AM
Jeff's avatar Perhaps Richard or someone else in the UK could explain why it takes four years to get to this point, when it seemed pretty clear early on that the park and manufacturer had a restraint design flaw on their hands. I mean, they had the death at Knott's even before that, and between the two, that seems like a lot more than coincidence.
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Friday, February 22, 2008 10:14 AM
beast7369's avatar I would completely agree and then when you take into account the other Intamin deaths and accidents on rides like Superman: RoS it sure seems like the manufacturer and not the park really should be the ones being charged here. As much as I like the Intamin rides there was obviously a design flaw in a lot of their restraints or seat designs. With the frequent changes to their designs it seems to me that Intamin already knew the deficiencies even prior to the accidents. Now the question would be is it the park that didnt do upgrades mandated by the manufacturer or was it that the manufacturer didnt mandate the changes.

Regardless, my heart, my prayers, and my sympathy go to those who were effected by the loss of Hayley.

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Friday, February 22, 2008 10:47 AM
Jeff's avatar The Superman thing had nothing to do with the kind of problem from the giant flumes. That was operator error, as far as I'm concerned.
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Friday, February 22, 2008 11:29 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar The SFNE or the SFA incident?
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Friday, February 22, 2008 2:08 PM
I don't think ANY of these Intamin accidents were operator error. Is it not clear that these restraints were problematic as all hell? How is one accident the fault of the operator when it's obvious the design of these restraints was ineffective for riders with certain body proportions? You can't expect an operator to make a judgement call if you don't give them a method by which to make that judgement.

-Nate
*** This post was edited by coasterdude318 2/22/2008 5:48:46 PM ***

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Friday, February 22, 2008 3:02 PM
Rihard's avatar In the case of the Oakwood accident though, the rider was not too large for the restraint.

*** This post was edited by Rihard 2/22/2008 3:03:49 PM ***

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Friday, February 22, 2008 3:03 PM
I'm a little astonished it's taken this long myself, to be honest.
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Friday, February 22, 2008 4:36 PM
Jeff's avatar I know everyone wants to lump them all together as "Intamin restraints," but the restraints on these boats were vastly different. It's hard to see in this picture, but those seats were what amounts to a bench. A pair of young and slender girls would have no problem at all moving laterally a few inches in either direction and easily get their legs around the lap bar, especially if they have short legs then can move up and easily straighten.

The first-generation coaster seats (the Darien Lake and SFA rides) at the very least have the sides that prevent that. The Millennium Force version improved a little with the angle of the lap bar (though the vertical post still touches your nuts or gut before your thighs), and I think it was perfected with Dragster by making a much deeper seat to force your knees up higher than the closed bar and your hips.

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Friday, February 22, 2008 5:49 PM
I agree that the restraint issues were fixed with Dragster. However, don't forget that the Intamin hypercoaster restraints were ejecting people long before the two hydroflume accidents, so I still have a hard time believing that was "operator error."

-Nate

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Friday, February 22, 2008 8:23 PM
Jeff's avatar To be fair, it happened, what, once at Darien Lake? The New England ride seemed to have belts not cut to spec (or so others with similar rides at other parks say), and the guy was too large to fit. Granted, it could be argued that the nature of the restraint takes that decision making out of the hands of the operator when they're done right.

I'm not defending Intamin, just keeping context in light of sweeping generalizations. That's hard to do when the guy who speaks for the company practically comes out and says their rides don't kill that many people.

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