One dead, ten injured on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain

Posted Friday, September 5, 2003 2:51 PM | Contributed by redman822

A locomotive broke loose from a train on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster Friday, killing a man and injuring 10 other riders, officials said. The man died inside a tunnel section of the ride, and his body remained there for the investigation.

Read more from AP via CBS News.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 2:54 PM
Wow.

May prayers be with all families involved with this.

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Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England- The #1 Coaster on the Planet for Years in a Row!!!

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Friday, September 5, 2003 3:13 PM
Yet another tragedy. What's with the world today?
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Friday, September 5, 2003 3:28 PM
And still the big question:

How in the world did the locomotive "break loose?"

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Friday, September 5, 2003 3:30 PM
I know....every coaster I've seen has a back up "chain" or something similar between every car incase one of the hitches fails.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this....

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- "I used to be in the audio/visual club, but I was kicked out because of my views on Vietnam........and I was stealing projectors" - Homer Simpson

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Friday, September 5, 2003 3:34 PM
The train must've fallen apart, rendering the back-up braking system useless. Great, now remeber that this will affect theme parks everywhere now. Whenever something like this happens at Disneyland, the effects are widespread. OSHA is going to be uber-strict with parks and they will likely implement new rules and regulations.
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Friday, September 5, 2003 4:05 PM
I wonder if the other BTMR rides will close for an inspection now? I remember when there was an accident on one of the freefalls that all of them closed. Anyone in Florida today?

And the inevitable media frenzy has already started. Just saw a promo for my local news that teased a story "Find out what is being done to protect you on theme park rides". Ugh...It's an awful day. And on one of my favorite themed coasters too. Never thought anything like this would ever happen on this ride. I'm quite stunned actually.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 4:46 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar This is terrible. I can't imagine how a train could derail. For SD2K with the wheel coming loose, the failure mode is bad, but not fatal. I can't imagine what level of failure would cause a train to "break loose."

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It's not a Toomer" - Arnold Schwartzenkoph
"Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know." -Jeff*** This post was edited by ApolloAndy 9/5/2003 8:48:24 PM ***

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Friday, September 5, 2003 4:56 PM
Wanna bet mechanics nation and world-wide will triple check hitches on all coasters tomorrow morning during the routine check-ups?

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2002/2003
KWTM

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Friday, September 5, 2003 5:03 PM
What a horrible tragedy. My thoughts go out to all those who were injured, and especially for the man who was killed and his family.

As for WDW's BTMRR, I believe that it went down last week for it's scheduled maintenance according to Screamscape. Supposedly it will be down until November 22. It will interesting to see if it reopens by then after what happened today.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 5:15 PM
I see another urban legend being added to snopes.com. That's how I found out about the (many) other deaths at Disney parks. They won't close the ride forever though. Someone has died on the Matterhorn (if I am remembering correctly), and it still operates.

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Koster Frek

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Friday, September 5, 2003 5:20 PM
Someone has also been killed on Splash Mountain.

Mouseplanet is reporting that the victim died of cardiac arrest, which, while obviously a result of the catastrophic failure of the coaster, his death was at the hands of the ride, so to speak.

They're reporting that the train separated on the lift and that the coaches rolled back and stopped -- presumably they were stopped by the anti-rollback system.

The victim transported to the UCI Medical Center suffered facial injuries -- again, as a result of the train's sudden stop.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 6:04 PM
I haven't been able to stop thinking about this tragedy since I heard about it this afternoon. My thoughts and prayers, too, are with the family and friends of the person lost this afternoon.

What leaves me shaken the most is that this death cannot be blamed on anything the rider was or wasn't doing as in the tragedies earlier this year at SFGAm and HW. This was some catastraphic failure in the ride itself. It could have been anyone of us really, whether or not we had our seatbelts buckled or all loose items securely fastened. I don't think I'll forget this tragedy anytime soon. I fact, I'll probably think about for before I get on any rides in the near future.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 6:08 PM
But similarly, since the death was the result of cardiac arrest, it wasn't directly caused by the machinery of the ride. It's entirely probable that another individual in the same circumstances would've survived -- based on available information.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 6:24 PM
...He was not thrown from the train, nor did he die of a heart attack.

I guess it wasn't cardiac arrest.

(Quoted from MousePlanet Forums)

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You suck big time.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 6:32 PM
I just read that. Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix wrote that in the forum, but Lani made no mention of it in the updates. I've been trying to wrap my head around what could've possibly failed here -- it seems like multiple failures -- but there's not enough information.

Mouseplanet seemed like it'd be a good source because of its proximity to the story, but it seems like they can't get their act together, nor can they resist the urge to sensationalize the story with their headline "Tragic Mountain." Though, I suppose their polarized reaction isn't exactly without precedent.

Of the information contained in their most recent update, however, it was nice to read that Michael Eisner and Jay Rasulo answered questions and that the Company is doing the right thing and paying the victims' expenses.

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 6:45 PM
Just a few thoughts.

First, someone else may have to confirm this but I think that the trains at the BTMRR at WDW were running without the "engine" front train for some time due to a maintenance issue.

Our local news station reported that the engine pulled the rest of the train (INCORRECT) and that BTMRR is one of the newer rides at Disneyland (INCORRECT).

I don't want to read any more comments about what this may do to the industry or other rides across the country. Those comments are premature and unnecessary right now.

Unfortunately, I was both directly and indirectly involved with park incidents that resulted in injury and death. It is sad for the familes, the park administrators and the front line employees (in this case, the ride operators). This will have a lasting affect on many people for some time to come and my thoughts are with them all. I could see the anguish on the face of Cynthia Harris as she spoke to the media.

As a community who supports the amusement park industry I would ask you all to just chill out a little bit and wait to see what information comes forth. The media outlets could certainly read these boards and we don't need to feed the sharks.

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Friday, September 5, 2003 6:54 PM
rollergator's avatar I don't wanna get too gruesome or medical, but typically people who die in collisions of great force involving machinery or falls from heights (severe trauma) end up listed as dying from heart failure. Without knowing the details of the impact (the man was clearly out of the train), there is no way to know whether someone else might have survived the accident...he may not have been "thrown" from the train, but he also was not inside the car in that tunnel...

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved.


P.S. As if the message wasn't made perfectly clear already, another "favorite park" has a tragedy. Even though this incident apparently did NOT involve rider misconduct, BTMRR is *nowhere near* the most intense of rides out there, and yet we're still talking about a LOT of weight traveling at pretty decent speeds. It's beyond important that ALL parties, from the engineers, to the maintenance personnel, to the ride ops, and the riders themselves, pay CLOSE attention to safety at every level....
*** This post was edited by rollergator 9/5/2003 10:58:33 PM ***

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Friday, September 5, 2003 7:37 PM
Wahoo Skipper said:

First, someone else may have to confirm this but I think that the trains at the BTMRR at WDW were running without the "engine" front train for some time due to a maintenance issue.

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I think I've heard that somewhere as well. Either way, I would not be surprised if Disney considers actually removing the locomotives after this event, if the speed of the train would not be affected to greatly.

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"The Mountain Slidewinder. Voted The #1 Non-Rollercoaster Ride in America Amusement Business Magazine, 1991"*** This post was edited by Dukeis#1 9/5/2003 11:38:20 PM ***

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Friday, September 5, 2003 7:46 PM
"Died of cardiac arrest" does not have to mean a heart attack. Cardiac arrest means that his heart stopped. Cardiac arrest can be the result of traumatic injuries, electrical shock, or other causes in addtion to a heart attack.

Most amusement ride fatalities are not caused by rider misconduct. Rider misconduct accounts for only about 1/3 of fatalities.

All of us should remember that not only the biggest wildest rides can have fatal accidents. Safety is important on all rides. There have been several deaths on park train rides.

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