Plunge accident was third in recent years by ride manufacturer

Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:14 AM | Contributed by supermandl

Following the death of a woman ejected from Perilous Plunge at Knott's Berry Farm, the LA Times reports that it is the third restraint-related accident on a ride built by Intamin. The riders, parks and Intamin all exchange blame.

Read more from The LA Times.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:16 AM
This is pretty ridiculous. It's pretty obvious there's a great deal of shared responsibility, but it has to start with Intamin. They're the ones with the engineers who can predict exactly what the riders will experience. It's not like the parks will buy a ride that might hurt someone, or riders will ride something that might hurt them.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:36 AM
Jeff...any thoughts on how this might affect the park's 2002 coaster, which Jack told me was by Intamin?  If that deal was not inked seems to me it could be in trouble.


Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:41 AM
The article states "For that 175-pound guy that they're designing rides for, the risk is very low. . . . For the people at the edges, the risk rises considerably."

I would love to know what the "fringes" are... what the range is. Is there a wide or narrow margin of safety?

Going to be a tough winter... even IF I do reach my Weight Watchers first goal weight, I will STILL have 25 lbs to lose to "safely" ride anything designed by Intamin.
"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:54 AM
Jeff...never mind.  You answered my question in another thread.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:56 AM
I disagree that the blame should start with Intamin.  All ride designers have instructions for riders who qualify to ride and those who don't.  Designers should not be held liable if they have clearly posted the proper warnings to ensure guest safety.  It is park's duty to enforce the rules, and the guests' duty to read the rules & requirements, and use good judgment.  Common sense wouldn't hurt, either.  B&M coasters typically have height requirements of 54 inches; no ifs, ands, of buts.  If a 30-inch person decides to hop aboard, should the accountability be thrust into the designer's lap?

I feel that the majority of the blame should be directed at the park, including the PP crew.  Not all the blame, but a substantial amount.   I know from operating PKI's Vortex that if an excessively large person attempted to ride, we would never dispatch the train until we were certain they would remain safe.  On several occasions, we escorted guests to the exit, along with apologies that Vortex wasn't designed for someone of their size.  Taking chances with rider safety is just deplorable.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 7:15 AM
The parks have to strictly enforce weight and height restrictions.  Intamin makes extreme rides.  If the rider can't buckle up and lower the restraint down tight onto the lap, that person should not be on the ride...
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 7:40 AM

IslandKG said: It is park's duty to enforce the rules, and the guests' duty to read the rules & requirements, and use good judgment. Common sense wouldn't hurt, either.

I agree completly with what IslandKG had to say.  The designer, in this case Intamin, makes the restrictions as to who can ride and who can't, but it IS up to the parl to enforce these rules.  Intamin can't be there to monitor how the park is running their ride.  It's no longer Intamin's problem after the park has purchased the ride and assumed full responsibility for it. 

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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 7:58 AM
While height limits are cut and dried (a 6'7" person is tall no matter what) a wieght limit is not quite as clear. As stated in another post somewhere in a forum... a person who is 6'2" and weighing 200lbs is certainly in a different classification than a who is 4'9" and weighs 200lbs. Tall is tall... Weight has a lot to do with proportions.

"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 8:00 AM
It is Intamin's problem if they've designed the restraints in such a way that they appear to accomodate people they don't.  In this particular case, there seems to be a good chance that the lap bar was down and the seat belt was buckled.  If so, why should either the guest or the park suspect anything to be wrong?  How do they enforce restrictions if Intamin's failed to make it clear what those restrictions are?  It's not that much of a stretch to make a lap bar that tells operators when it won't work.  B&M did it with little more than a roll of colored duct tape.

And 'Moosh, while I don't know if this'll affect any new rides, I certainly wouldn't place any bets on seing Sandor at this year's Solace.


Tuesday, October 30, 2001 8:01 AM

The way I read it, the belt was buckled and the restraint was down. With that being the case, it is natural to assume that all is fine. IF there is a weight problem involved, either a) the belt should NOT be able to close and/or b) the bar should not be able to lock. If a belt locks and the bar locks, then it should be safe. If the bar locks and the belt locks and it is still not safe, then it is a design flaw and Intamin should be held responsible.

Should it be found out that the belt was not correctly secured, then it is the ride ops. If it is a fact that the bar was not locked, then it is the ride ops (they should have checked) and Intamin (The ride should not be allowed to dispatch with out all restraints secured) who are at fault.

In the case of someone being too small to ride, the minium height requirement must be strictly enforced by a park.

"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..." *** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 10/30/2001. ***

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 8:15 AM
Intamin's lap bars of the "infinately" locking variety so it locks in whatever position you have it in.

Each type of ride vehicle period has a safe distance the restraint must go down. I know for a fact that at SFMM Riddler's must click 3 times and Colossus' Morgan trains must have 4 clicks to be safe. Also on the B&M hypers there must be at least 2 clicks

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 8:30 AM
Riddler never had a click restriction when I was working it, and we never really had a problem with getting a large person locked in.  Of course now the restriction is that you have to be able to buckle the back up seat belt.  Colossus used to have a 4 click rule, but they have changed their rachets somewhat and now 2 clicks brings it to the position 4 clicks used to.

One problem with the Intamin seats could be the relatively short seat section of the seat.  It does not extend very far forward, and lap bar on a large person may not be able to force them into a sitting position by being low enough.  The restraints are supposed to be designed to hold you in a sitting position, because it is basically impossible for you to fall out if you are bent 90 degrees and stapled in at the waist.  Someone who is large enough may not be in that proper sitting position and could slide right out the top given enough negative G forces.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 9:20 AM
The problem with their rides is their no is limit on high the laps bars can be set. Plus shorter seat belts would help. As an ride op and coaster lover I blame this on Knotts and Intamin (I hate to but that's what I feel)

I also feel that Intamin should really think about redesigning their bars and seats. Intamin has had a bad history in the last few year every though their rides rule. Think about what happened on Wild Wild West *** This post was edited by Alex Nagel on 10/30/2001. ***

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 9:47 AM
Intamin has some major resdesigning to do.....
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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 10:12 AM
What happened on Wild Wild West?
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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 12:00 PM
I'm afraid I am stating to turn to the "Blame Intamin" camp.

Let's look at this from several POV.

Rider: If the rider even read the safety signage (doubtful, be honest do you read every last word?) the rider probably saw something like "Due to the seating restraint system used on this ride, persons of unusual proportions may not be able to ride".  Reading this only tells the rider that there is a chance they may be denied a ride, not what the criteria for riding is.  As long as they meet any posted criteria, they are eligible to board the ride.  Once on board the ride, test 2 is "Will the seat accomodate me?" Rider sits down, fastens the safety belt, lowers the safety bar, and assumes that they are OK to ride.  (Recall the sign about large riders reffered to the seating safety device, which the rider beleieves they are able to lock properly)  This has just cleared the rider of any fault.

The Ride Operator: Ride ops have an incredible amount of knowledge about their ride.  They know what the ride should look, sound, smell, and feel like at all times.  The operator also is able to detect if the restraints aren't locked in accordance with policy.  As long as the restraints are locked accoriding to policy, and the rider hasn't violated any restrictions for the ride, as indicated in the ride operator's manual.  The ride op has every reason to believe the rider will be safe.  This just relieves the Ride Operator of blame.

The park:  The manufacturer sets specifications for the parts to be used, including the seat, lapbar, lapbar locking mechansim, seatbelts, length of seatbelts,.etc. As long as the park has not deviated from the manufacturer's specifications for safety equipment, and is enforcing all rider safety guidlines as specified in the rider owner's manual, the park has every reason to believe the rider will be safe. This removed the park of all blame.

Which leaves the manufacturer.  Call them freak accidents, but Intamin rides have ejected at least 4 riders in recent years.  Two of them under the current lap bar arrangement. Perhaps, the manufacturer wasn't even aware there was a problem, but clearly insufficient testing was performed on the current restraint arrangement.  I'm sorry, but this armchair ride inspector, is blaming this one on Intamin, who needs to review their ride restraint designs to make the rides either large rider tolerant, or to make it impossible for larger riders to secure the restraints.  Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to install seatbelts that won't lock over anyone with larger than 46" waist.  (Adding a little extra strap for clothing the rider may be wearing)


Surely this can't be good right before IAAPA......

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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 1:20 PM
The rider shouldn't have to think if their safe or not...the ride asumes they are safe. It is up to the park and manufacturer to make sure they are safe.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 1:50 PM
I agree its up for the park to enforce the guidelines the Intamin gives them. It's not Intamin's fault and more the fault of KBF.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 2:57 PM
Well, I think Intamins got the restraints down pretty good, they just need to flat our have some ride ops saying, "Excuse me, no offense, but we can't let you ride safely according to our policies and standards. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to step off."

Which, is not Intamin's fault.


Also, did anyone see that Dropzone has a 22-foot drop? ;) *** This post was edited by MFRULES on 10/30/2001. ***


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