Police say operator error likely caused tower accident at Dells

Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2010 11:36 AM | Contributed by redman822

The Lake Delton police chief says the accident at the Dells Extreme World tower, where a 12-year-old girl fell to the ground, is likely the result of operator error. He said the net had not been raised off the ground and the platform had not been raised to the correct height.

The girl's father, a doctor, assumed she was dead when she hit the ground, but brought her back via CPR.

Read more from CBS Early Show and WKOW/Madison.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 11:46 AM
Jeff's avatar

That's seriously messed up. All this time I assumed the net was at least off the ground, if not high enough, but this is nuts.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 12:01 PM

HOLY BLEEP!
I refuse to believe a op would intentionally do something like this, Im sure they in shock themselves. Im also certain that there should be some Net in place system before a rider could be released. WOW!

Revived by your own dad?

If this is the case, My assumptions did just that ASS/U/ME and I was wrong.
Either way, NOT GOOD, NOT GOOD AT ALL.

Her fall wasn't broken at all?
HOLY BLEEP!

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 12:12 PM
Josh M's avatar

Wow... this is truly amazing that she survived a fall like that... with no net breaking her fall at all. Incredible.

I also find it interesting that the reports are saying that the bucket didn't go to the top of the tower before they dropped the girl out of it. It sounds like the bucket stopped about 40 feet short of the top, the girl was lowered, and dropped while they were still trying to get the net ready. Very strange... I wonder if she freaked out and they offered to drop her from a lower height, and that's where the protocol began to go out the window?


Josh M.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 12:14 PM
Sagretti's avatar

If this is true, I'd expect some criminal charges in this case, as that's just insane levels of negligence. I can't even fathom how or why you could screw up that badly. It's just all kinds of mind boggling.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 12:37 PM

If the report is accurate (a big IF in today's media) then I just cannot imagine how she survived that fall. Having been involved with amusement park accidents before I have no doubt that there are a thousand reason about how an operator could be distracted, make a mistake, etc. But, in today's age it seems like there should be multiple redundencies.

I didn't like the look as this attraction before I saw it and would never have tried it. But, if I had, I would expect to not sustain a life threatening injury as a result.

Such a tragedy and hopefully she will fully recover.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 12:56 PM
Kick The Sky's avatar

A forty foot fall IS very survivable, however, it usually results in injury. Because of the predetermined fall position, however, she was being dropped right on her back and was given no opportunity to optimize her landing to do less damage to herself. My guess is there was probably severe spinal trauma and that the girl will never walk again. If she does, it will be a true miracle.

Again, the true sadness here is the park's lack of financial resources to compensate the victim. Hopefully the park has some insurance coverage to offset her medical bills, but I find that unlikely due to the high amount of debt that is unpaid.


Certain victory.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 1:02 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

KTS, she wasn't dropped 40' she was dropped 100'. The nets were supposed to have been at the 40' point, but were on the ground.

One article I read said that she will be having spinal surgery probably this week.


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 1:12 PM

Kick The Sky said:
A forty foot fall IS very survivable, however, it usually results in injury. Because of the predetermined fall position, however, she was being dropped right on her back and was given no opportunity to optimize her landing to do less damage to herself. My guess is there was probably severe spinal trauma and that the girl will never walk again. If she does, it will be a true miracle.

Again, the true sadness here is the park's lack of financial resources to compensate the victim. Hopefully the park has some insurance coverage to offset her medical bills, but I find that unlikely due to the high amount of debt that is unpaid.

Its 40ft from the bucket to the net, Another 40+ to the ground There are estimates that she fell as much as 100ft in the articles. CBS Morning show has the video with the father.

Father "I watched several before her and when I heard that thud, I knew she was dead, She was dead with beading out head orifices unconscious and unresponsive"

He apparently is a dr. himself and took measures to stabilize her HIMSELF!

Incredible and Incredibly irresponsible by the ops. I'm not sure if the Bucket person is in charge of the net but checking to see its there would be at minimum a requirement.

Holy Bleep!, If she does die its involuntary manslaughter, MINIMUM.

Last edited by Charles Nungester, Tuesday, August 3, 2010 1:19 PM
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 1:24 PM

You missed the part of the story where it states that the bucket was not at full height when she was dropped, hence the 40-foot fall. Anyway, if these rides already have a sensor system in place that indicate when the net is in place, why the hell isn't there a lock on the release that prevents it from deploying until the net is in place? Relying on operators so much os a horrible design.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 2:31 PM
Kick The Sky's avatar

And why is it that the rider was even in place above the net before it was even in place? They should not be hooking someone up and getting them into place until the net is in place first.


Certain victory.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 3:53 PM

When The passenger platform is raised, it also raises the Safety Net with it. The platform needs to be raised to 140ft thus the net would be at the 40ft mark. In this case, the ride op Clearly should know this to not drop a rider any lower than the 140ft mark.


Also @KTS, passengers load into the platform at ground level and are raised vertically 140ft. It then starts to bring up the safety net at 100ft since its attached to the platform.

This ride is in one of the Discovery Channel's "intense ride" shows or something along that point...

Last edited by sealedseven, Tuesday, August 3, 2010 3:54 PM
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 4:01 PM

First and foremost, I wish the girl the best recovery possible. Very sad and I feel for her family.

Second, all I can think is "Epic Fail". How did they design this ride without some sort of interlocking safety mechanism, or design it so the net raised to the point of safety with the bucket from the initial climb?


Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 4:32 PM

In this situation, the thoughts and prayers have to go with the family. That being said, while this ride has been shut down, I'm hoping the others are also shut down until a preventative fix is made. This really sounds, from a risk analysis standpoint, like an operational flaw in the design.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010 10:13 PM

Kick The Sky said:
And why is it that the rider was even in place above the net before it was even in place? They should not be hooking someone up and getting them into place until the net is in place first.

The bucket sits on the net and they both get raised together if I remember right

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:26 AM

Sure, but you don't have to put the rider into the drop position until the net is in position. The question is why was the rider attached to the drop mechanism when it was clear that the ride wasn't ready to go yet.

Last edited by PhantomTails, Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:27 AM
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:51 AM

Watch this video. Everything is on the ground when the rider is attached. The net is raised with the cabin, and the trap door is opened when they get to the top. As you can see from the video the net is not pulled off the ground until the cabin reaches a certain height. From the story it sounds like the the girl was released too soon (which would have required opening the trap door) and the net was still on the ground. As others have said, I don't understand how this can happen. It does seem very low tech, so I'm not sure what can be done to insure it doesn't happen again. It looks like they need some time of lockout device that will not allow the trap door to open until the cabin is all the way at the top, and perhaps another device to signal that the net is properly in place. I also cannot believe there is no secondary device. Perhaps a hole in the ground filled with foam covered with a breakaway platform they can walk on to load and unload. If I owned a park, I would not want one of these rides.

Last edited by Jeffrey Seifert, Wednesday, August 4, 2010 8:54 AM
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 7:41 AM
Kick The Sky's avatar

Fox 6 News out of Milwaukee reported this morning that the girl is likely to be paralyzed. She is communicating by blinking her eyes.


Certain victory.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 10:43 AM
LostKause's avatar

:(

The owners of this park need to be burned at the stake. Seriously.


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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 11:00 AM
Rokuchan's avatar

Good lord but that is frightening to even think about! Gross negligence. Just frightening. My heart goes out to the girl and her family.


I hate people. But I love gatherings. Isn't it ironic?

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