Reports say car separated from ride in Shenzhen theme park accident

Posted Thursday, July 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Contributed by Jeff

A new breakthrough in the investigation of last week’s deadly theme park accident in Shenzhen reveals that one of the ride’s four-person compartments broke off from the ride’s axis at high-speed and smashed to the ground before being struck by three of the other carts.

Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, July 8, 2010 3:51 PM

Not sure this really tells us much... Assuming these reports are accurate, sounds like either some type of failed weld, broken bolt, or numerous other mechanical connections that failed.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 4:08 PM

Well, it does tell us a bit. The initial report says they dropped about 50 feet. So, if the other cars didn't hit the "fallen cab" until after it fell, they too must have suffered some type of failure. Plus this is more confirmation of what was basically speculation before.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 5:13 PM

Actually it calls into question the veracity of the claims that the cars fell fifteen meters or whatever it was. If three subsequent cars hit the one that fell to the platform, then either the cars were enormous, or more likely, they hadn't gone up far enough yet to clear the broken gondola. That suggests to me that the fall-height number we heard was (if anything at all) the maximum height attained by the ride.

I seem to remember seeing reports of people stranded 200' in the air on Valleyfair!'s Wild Thing when they busted a brake caliper, when in fact they were more like 30' up...the ride happens to be 200' tall.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 10:32 PM

RideMan said:Actually it calls into question the veracity of the claims that the cars fell fifteen meters or whatever it was. If three subsequent cars hit the one that fell to the platform, then either the cars were enormous, or more likely, they hadn't gone up far enough yet to clear the broken gondola. That suggests to me that the fall-height number we heard was (if anything at all) the maximum height attained by the ride. I seem to remember seeing reports of people stranded 200' in the air on Valleyfair!'s Wild Thing when they busted a brake caliper, when in fact they were more like 30' up...the ride happens to be 200' tall.--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Good observation. However, it is possible that, depending on the ride, each cabin is independent and at different heights during the ride (think a helicopter ride on a different scale). Some cabins may be close to the ground. Others higher up. That being said, you point is equally valid.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 11:39 PM

Or, what if the cabin fell when the ride was at it's high point and then as the ride was ending it's cycle it lowered the other cabins which caused them to hit the fallen cabin?

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 11:46 PM

Is it possible that all cabins were at 50 feet, the first cabin fell, the remaining cabins continued spinning, then descended causing the subsequent cabins hit the one that fell onto the platform?

Does an emergency stop cause the ride to freeze in whatever position it is in or does the ride return to the load/unload position?

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Thursday, July 8, 2010 11:47 PM

Wow, great (or not) minds think alike! :)

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Friday, July 9, 2010 11:47 AM

Another possibility. When the car broke loose, if there were hydraulic lines going out onto the car, they would have been severed, potentially causing a loss of hydraulic pressure. This might cause the other cars to descend and end up striking the separated vehicle. Another thing to think about is that the mechanism would be seriously out of balance with one car separated. That would have resulted abnormal behavior (think of your washing machine if it isn't loaded properly.)

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