PKI answers questions about Son of Beast incident

Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:14 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Confusion in mainstream media has led to a number of inaccuracies and conspiracy theories about Sunday's events. The following is a list of questions and answers provided by Maureen Kaiser at PKI.

Q: What happened? When? What were early reports?
A: On Sunday, July 9, at 4:45 p.m., a Son of Beast train rolled into the station after completing a full cycle. Some guests complained of discomfort. The Kings Island safety team, as well as Mason Fire and Safety immediately responded. 27 guests were transported to area hospitals. 25 were treated and released that evening. 2 were admitted to the hospital.

Q: Other reports say there were more guests at the hospital. What’s the deal?
A: We transported 27 guests from PKI. I don’t know about the number of guests who may have walked in on their own.

Q: Who is inspecting the ride?
A: On Monday, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and OSHA ride inspectors, as well as industry experts, arrived at the park to begin their inspection process.

Q: How is PKI assisting with the inspection?
A: We are cooperating fully with the Department of Agriculture. In addition, engineers and safety managers from Cedar Fair and PKI, as well as PKI ride maintenance technicians are assisting with the inspection.

Q: What have you learned from the inspection?
A: Preliminary evidence indicates there is a cracked vertical wooden post. Preliminary reports also indicate that this would not have been found by our pre-opening inspections and likely happened just before or right as the incident occurred.

Q: How long will the inspection take?
A: It could take weeks.

Q: When will the ride reopen?
A: The ride will remain closed until we are completely satisfied that the ride is safe.

Q: Where is the cracked wooden post?
A: In the rosebowl.

Q: Is the loop separating?
A: No.

Q: Is the loop dangerous?
A: No.

Q: Why is a train stopped on the tracks?
A: Two trains can’t be in the station at the same time. Therefore, to get the guests out of one train, another must leave the station.

Q: Were guests in the stopped train? Did they have to walk down the hill?
A: No. The train was empty.

Q: Why is it still there?
A: The inspection is in its early stages and we don’t want to jeopardize it by sending a train through a complete cycle.

Q: Why were empty cars sent out of the station before this incident occurred?
A: We had a biohazard incident earlier, and our park protocol for this insists that checks must be conducted before we can load guests again.

Q: How many board feet of lumber will the Department of Agriculture inspect?
A: 2.5 million board feet of lumber will be inspected.

Q: What is the daily maintenance done on Son of Beast? A:
1) Mechanical (PKI Maintenance)
2) Electrical (PKI Maintenance)
3) Operational (PKI Rides Operations)

Park maintenance technicians walk every inch of wooden track to complete the daily inspection.

During daily inspections, workers look for anything unusual including loose fasteners, deteriorating wood, misalignment of steel and wood connections. They will also test all safety systems and thoroughly review the trains to insure they are operating correctly.

All inspection processes are based on master check lists, developed specifically for Son of Beast.

A boom lift is used by the park for the sole purpose of inspecting the loop on Son of Beast every day.

Q: Didn’t PKI file suit against the manufacturer of Son of Beast?
A: Yes

Q: Wasn’t a part of the suit regarding sub grade wood?
A: Yes. However, all lumber determined to be sub grade was replaced or reinforced before the ride opened in 2000.

Q: Was any of the wood mentioned above in the area we’re focused on now?
A: No.

Q: Did PKI get a hefty sum of money when the lawsuit was finished? Some $20 million? Why wasn’t this reinvested in the ride?
A: We have received a judgment on this case, and we are in the process of recovering a portion of the money promised. At this time, we have received no money as a result of this lawsuit.

Q: How many guests does each train hold?
A: 30 guests. Five cars to a train.

Q: How many guests have ridden this attraction since it opened?
A: We have provided nearly 6 million safe rides since the ride opened in 2000.

Q: Why didn’t the ride open with the park on Sunday?
A: As mentioned above, wood coasters require extensive inspection before they can open. If irregularities are found, we tend to them immediately. This can take time. There was work down in a different area of the ride than the area in question.

Q: Does maintenance happen daily?
A: Yes. Safety is our top priority at PKI, there is no doubt about that. We will never open a ride to our guests unless we are completely confident that the ride is safe.

Q: What about the work done over the winter?
A: We did an extensive amount of work during the off season to improve the comfort of the ride experience.

Q: When was the ride certified by the state?
A: May 19

Q: Is there wood hanging from the track?
A: No.

Q: Did Cedar Fair voluntarily close the ride Sunday?
A: Yes. Our ride operators were fantastic. They recognized the issue and took steps to ensure safety. This set the wheels in motion at PKI. We responded immediately and continue to respond to guest needs.

Q: Have you talked directly with the media at all? Or are you just releasing statements and stonewalling them?
A: We held a press conference on Sunday night. I did interviews with news crews all day yesterday. My job is to keep people informed and I will do that until this story is complete. We utilize a variety of methods to do this – statements, press conferences, one-on-one interviews.

Q: Am I safe on roller coasters?

Q: Am I safe at PKI?
A: YES!! I can’t stress enough how important safety is to our guests. Any hint that we’re not serious about that is, frankly, ridiculous and horribly untrue. We exist to provide safe and memorable experiences for our guests and will do everything in our power to provide just that.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:43 AM
I don't know Maureen Kaiser at all. Never heard her name before today.

But, if all parks handled their PR in the manner that she is doing so on this incident then amusement park "sensationalism" would decrease dramatically. What an outstanding example of what SHOULD be done.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:48 AM
^Agreed. She did very well.

I love the second question. it's like someone thought:Hey, accident and PKI, let's hit the ER and see what we can get. Oh my neck and my back!I hope the on-ride photo's were running to prove who was and wasn't riding it that day.
*** This post was edited by FLYINGSCOOTER 7/12/2006 9:51:47 AM ***

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:52 AM
Well I'm no math whiz but if the coaster holds 30 and 27 were transported to the hospital then there better not have been any more than 3 more victims who walked in on their own.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:24 AM
I was involved in an incident where the ride holds 32 potential victims, but there were over 50 complaints.

Anyway, regarding the biohazard incident. Let me hazard a guess: somebody had a technicolor yawn? Chummed a fish? Blew chunks? Or did someone in line have really bad breath? ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:34 AM
^thanks for clearing that up... I was wondering what a biohazard incident was.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:45 AM
Biohazard = Voban


Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:59 AM
Most people don't know Maureen because for the past years everything you ever heard about was Jeff Siebert. I agree that Maureen has handled this very well. At Beastbuzz she was very informative and easy to talk to. I hope all this clears up. And to think this happened right after CF took over too.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 11:02 AM
FLyingSkooter -

I think the on ride photos were running on Sunday as I saw activity in that booth around 7:30pm. It would not surprise me if they did have the photo vendor print out every photo for the last few trains. Documentation is key, I also wonder if the video cameras along the rides track are connected to soem sort of recording unit...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 11:36 AM
Awesome public relations job. She just might be heading north soon.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:14 PM
I've never heard of any video cameras recording on any ride. Has anyone ever heard of it on other rides?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:19 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if they keep recordings of the lift and MCBR safety cameras for a short time in case of a problem like this.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:32 PM
I can only speak of my experience on a large woodie further North when I say I'm not away of anything being recorded. I realize it wasn't as popular as SoB (which is wrong by itself), but I never heard of any other rides up there recording.

It would be a good thing if it wasn't in place, but putting cameras in the bowl or loop really wouldn't make much sense.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:32 PM
Agreed, Maureen did a fantastic job in answering these questions. However, after looking at some of the questions that were asked, I believe the discussion of "stupid media" that is ongoing the the thread on this topic has been confirmed. Had I had Maureen's job and was answering these questions, I am quite sure I would have to have asked "WTF does that have to do with anything?" after some of these questions.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:38 PM
"It would not surprise me if they did have the photo vendor print out every photo for the last few trains."

Why? It takes their picture BEFORE the lift hill. The accident took place in the Rose Bowl, halfway through the ride.

"I've never heard of any video cameras recording on any ride. Has anyone ever heard of it on other rides?"

I wouldn't be surprised if HW records. Raven now has like 5 cameras on it, and at one point they were monitoring on-ride photos for unsnapped seat belts.


*** This post was edited by Shaggy 7/12/2006 12:50:30 PM ***

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 1:07 PM
They would not be looking for injured people in the pics. The pics would be used to help 'weed-out' the people at that arrived at the hospital that claimed to be injured on it.
All the people that were on that train were transported to the hospital, yet the question indicated there were more than 27 people there. 'walk-ins' Well, pull the pics: If they rode it, it will say what time.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 1:33 PM
That was indeed a "Paula" level type response. (At least I think that's the name of the HW media person that posts here? I'm a bit of a lurker and may have forgotten) But at any rate, I mean that as a compliment.

I'd hire her to be my PR person any time. A good PR person answers questions completely and thouroughly. An OUTSTANDING PR person does the same even when the questions are absolutely stupid. :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:06 PM
I agree this was a very good responce from the park but two days too late IMHO

The speculation and hearsay should have stopped no less than 24hrs after the inccident.

Im not news media and neither can anyone but Jeff on this site be considered such.

Therefore based on everything that was comming out of the news media that actually none of em had even a majority of facts, Based on this press release.

Came to a abrupt halt in brakes, Came to a halt at the incident point Comming out of the drop and hit something is the closest any of them came and that was a riders statement

Even the investigators words were turned if this is indeed factual and I have no reason to believe it isn't.

Anyhow, Thanks Maureen and Jeff for posting this.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006 3:29 PM
"It would not surprise me if they did have the photo vendor print out every photo for the last few trains."

Why? It takes their picture BEFORE the lift hill. The accident took place in the Rose Bowl, halfway through the ride.


*** This post was edited by Shaggy 7/12/2006 12:50:30 PM ***

I think what coasterville Dave is trying to say is...they can look at the photo of the actual train involved in the incident and protect themselves from fraudulent lawsuits by proving who was (and who was not) on the train.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 3:33 PM
When we were stuck on a coaster for almost an hour(frickin' flying coasters, I hate'em!) park officials got our names and addresses before they let us out. I'm assuming it was for legal purposes since we never got our gift baskets in the mail. ;)

Thanks Jeff and Maureen for clearing up many many things!


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