Report expected today in Six Flags New England death

Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 8:18 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Massachusetts officials were expected on Monday to release details on the cause of the accident that killed Stanley J. Mordarsky, 55, of Bloomfield, Conn., on Saturday at Six Flags New England. The man came out of the ride, apparently in the final curve, before falling to his death.

Read more from AP via The Boston Globe and The Hartford Courant.

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Monday, May 3, 2004 8:32 AM
Obviously his mother could have been misquoted, but I find these two statements conflicting:

"Germaine Mordarsky, the victim's 82-year-old mother, said Sunday that she does not believe her son's physical problems could have caused the accident"

And:

He can't walk too far, but he wobbled," she said. "They should have never let him on that ride."

But then, if the law says "ride workers must allow disabled people on rides if they can get in them by themselves, under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act", then the park are damned if they do, and damned if they don't.

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Monday, May 3, 2004 10:04 AM
This certainly gives more weight to Ed Markey's argument for more safety devices on rides. I would expect to hear much more from him as the year goes on.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 10:08 AM
I would hope that the government feels there are more important issues for them to deal with right now than roller coaster legislation ...
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Monday, May 3, 2004 10:18 AM
The Mole's avatar I agree too Impulse-ive, unless there are communist or terrorist ties in the rollercoaster biz, I doubt coaster legislation will get anywhere soon.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 10:40 AM
Not to sound insulting or anything (so save yourself the time of jumping down my throat if you think that is my intention), but is there a chance that this man was too large for the restraint system? The article lists him as being 5'2" tall and 230 pounds (bringing back memories of the Perilous Plunge incident at Knott's a few years ago.) Is it possible that Intamin's restraints are, once again, not friendly to larger riders?
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Monday, May 3, 2004 10:48 AM
Not jumping down you throat, but I will use the same argument that I used then...

If they are not "friendly" (i.e. "safe") for larger riders (or riders that are of certain porprotions) then the restraints should not even be able to be used on those "larger riders". IF the restraints do go closed on a rider, then I think it is reasonable to assume that they will restrain that rider and the rider will be safe. IF they do go closed and are not effective in restraining a rider, then I would consider it a design flaw.

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Monday, May 3, 2004 10:54 AM
Jeff's avatar Again, we're barking up a tree on speculation. We don't know how he got out yet.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 11:01 AM

This certainly gives more weight to Ed Markey's argument for more safety devices on rides.

I'm not trying to split hairs too much, but Markey is all about increasing regulation of oversight of amusement rides, not adding more safety devices.

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Monday, May 3, 2004 11:03 AM
Agreed (with Jeff's previous comment), could have been anything:

Rider Error (not following the rules) - OR - Opperator Error (improperly secured etc) - OR - Restraint Failure (popped open in a mechanical failure) - OR - Restrain Design Flaw (didn't mechanically fail, but still failed to hold rider in) - OR - a combination of any of the above.

I'll muzzle my barking for now.

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 5/3/2004 11:05:26 AM ***

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Monday, May 3, 2004 11:05 AM
SLFAKE, I whole-heartedly agree. Rider restraints should be depended upon to hold the rider if they reach the locking position. I'm just wondering if Intamin's restraints, which were to blame for a prior incident leading to the same consequences, could be an issue.

Not intending to speculate, it was just something in the article that stood out as I was reading it.

*** This post was edited by Rob Ascough 5/3/2004 11:07:10 AM ***

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Monday, May 3, 2004 11:48 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar Do Intamin's restraints even have a locked/unlocked position? I heard that they can dispatch during normal operation in the completely open position, which would leave the safety of the riders entirely in the hands of human error.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 12:19 PM
I've not heard that before. Whilst they're completely different restraints, I know Colossus at Thorpe Park (which uses hydraulic overhead restraints) is VERY fussy to the point every single bar must be in the up position before the ride is loaded. I would be surprised if their hyper trains are any different.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 12:23 PM
Jeff's avatar I know Millennium Force can dispatch with open restraints, so I assume Superman can too. The way I understand the bar, it almost can't fail and open. Rideman has a diagram somewhere showing how it works.

Again, we'll have to wait until there's something to talk about to know.

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Monday, May 3, 2004 12:26 PM
Jeff's avatar Regardig ADA:

Mordarsky had difficulty walking but park officials said he was able to board the roller coaster by himself. Under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, officials said, disabled people must be allowed on rides if they can board by themselves.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 12:32 PM
The physics of how much could a coaster rider weigh and safely ride a roller coaster would be a good topic for a Science Fair or an Amusement Park Physics Day project.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 12:42 PM
I thought Ed Markey's problem was with excessive G-forces?*** This post was edited by Bakeman 5/3/2004 12:42:39 PM ***
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Monday, May 3, 2004 12:44 PM
Having ridden SROS many times it is my opinion that if your restraint is very loose, you are sitting back seat and you do not balance your weight to the right on the last turn, you could be ejected at that point. There are also many other points on the ride in my opinion where you could be ejected if the restraint is very loose (which I would define as 5 inches of space from the bar to your lap) and the seat belt fails for whatever reason. Like Jeff says, pure speculation, but from the general description of this rider, it would not surprise me if his bar was too far up, his seatbelt was unbuckled or otherwise failed, and he did not balance his body in the seat going into the last turn.
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Monday, May 3, 2004 1:03 PM
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the portion of the Boston Globe article which states that, "Park officials [are] also instituting remedies proposed by state investigators."

Of course, whether these changes pertain to operations procedure or the installation of additional or alternate restraining devices remains to be seen . . .

Rich Genthner / PTC99

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Monday, May 3, 2004 1:17 PM
Here's that diagram of the ride restraints from Virtual Midway.
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