Riders in 2001 Superman accident sue Six Flags, Six Flags sues Intamin

Posted Thursday, October 14, 2004 12:49 PM | Contributed by Jeff

In August 2001, two trains on Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England collided after one train was not fully stopped by the brake run at the end of the ride. At least two lawsuits -- one personal injury, and one by Six Flags against the ride manufacturer Intamin -- have resulted.

Read more from MassTort.org.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004 12:53 PM
Jeff's avatar You know, I wondered when some park was going to sue Intamin over their "shortcomings" over the years. I just didn't expect that it would be Six Flags.
Thursday, October 14, 2004 12:55 PM
looks like this would be one good 'circus'
Thursday, October 14, 2004 1:19 PM
Thats good, contract them to build you a record breaker next year, then sue them...

Hopefully they (Intamin) won't end up like Arrow...Unless B&M were interested in buying them out;).(just a joke)

I wish Intamin could get their safety rating up, but this was bound to happen. Guess now we know why there are OTSRs on Ka...;)*** This post was edited by TeknoScorpion 10/14/2004 1:22:53 PM ***

Thursday, October 14, 2004 1:37 PM
I'm curious what their argument against the former restraint system is with regards to how it would have prevented (or minimalized) the injuries recieved because of this accident. The complaint states that the ride was not equipped with seat belts (false) or other properly operating restraints (also false). It seems obvious they're trying to latch on to the highly-publicized incident that occurred earlier this year.

Not to excuse the accident or suggest it was in any acceptable (or that the lawsuit has no merit, because I believe it does), but I have to wonder if these people would have sued if they had been rear-ended in a car accident at less than 20mph.


Thursday, October 14, 2004 1:59 PM

And, after all this, parks are still buying Intamin.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 2:17 PM
TTDAdrenaline's avatar Nate, unfortunatley there are many people that would sue in a accident less than 20mph. like it or not our nation has become lawsuit happy, there are more current law students than lawyers
Thursday, October 14, 2004 2:32 PM
I still can't believe that Intamin hasn't released a statement to the press by now. With all the accident's on their rides it looks bad.
Thursday, October 14, 2004 3:27 PM
"there are more current law students than lawyers"

Nonsense. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 695,000 attorneys in the U.S. There are 189 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S. (There are a number of non-accredited schools, but not enough to make a big difference here.) To have more law students than lawyers, each law school would need to have over 3,500 law students. In fact, law schools are more more likely to have around 600 students total, if that.

You can still argue that there are too many lawyers or too many law students or too many lawsuits, but don't use made-up statistics to do so.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 3:35 PM
Tekno said,

"Thats good, contract them to build you a record breaker next year, then sue them..."

No kidding I was thinking the same thing. You wonder if Intamin will second guess themeselves about building anything at a six flags park anymore ( just kidding)

From what I understand the breaks failed. Superman hits the breaks at around 40 MPH. Imagine if the breaks on TTD failed!

Thursday, October 14, 2004 3:45 PM
rollergator's avatar Torgo said: "You can still argue that there are too many lawyers or too many law students or too many lawsuits, but don't use made-up statistics to do so."

Researching facts is WAY more difficult than just making up stuff that supports your argument...;)

As to why the lawsuit was filed SOOO late, could it be because of a statute of limitations or something like that?

From my (admittedly limited) perspective, I just can't see how Intamin can IMPROVE until they're ready to admit they've made mistakes in the past.....and I have seen NOTHING to suggest that Intamin is willing to go that far....and the shame of it is they really DO make the best steel coasters out there...

Thursday, October 14, 2004 3:48 PM
Ride of Steel's avatar Giga Force, the brakes on TTD AND MF canNOT fail. It's impossible. Why? they are fixed along the track. The Superman brothers use compressed air to 'pop' the brakes into position. So therefore, a ruptured line could cause the brakes not to operate like they should.

Six Flags are hypocrites. I mean they sue and then keep building more and more Intamin coasters. Cedar Point seems to have a good relationship with Intamin but Six Flags's relationship is really whacked.

My question is about the accident itself, if there was an airline rupture, wouldn't the train be stopped at the top of the lift hill since the brakes are not in the proper position?

In the unlikely chance I'm ever a ride op at SFDL, SFA, or SFNE, If I EVER saw the brakes in the down position after the train came into the station, as soon as I saw the 2 green blinking lights I would dispatch it, people on or not, and then E stop it on the lift , so if the brakes fail it won't crash into the next train.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 3:59 PM
Gator asked: "As to why the lawsuit was filed SOOO late, could it be because of a statute of limitations or something like that?"

That's almost certainly why (as suggested in the linked-to story). Note that both lawsuits were filed within a couple of days prior to the three-year anniversary of the accident. I would assume (without any particular basis except being likely) that the parties were all talking settlement (and may still be doing so) but filed the suits to protect their interests.

Incidentally, a rear-ending at 20mph can do serious injuries, and the injuries in this case may not have been so minor themselves. The complaint alleges that his injuries have resulted in multiple surgeries. Maybe they were trivial, but what would ordinarily be minor injuries can balloon very easily.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 4:01 PM
I don't know how the SF-Intamin lawsuit will work but I definitely don't blame the riders.

If I was on that coaster and flew through the break run into the second train at ANY speed, I would sue. It has nothing to do with being "sue-happy".

Being "sue-happy" is when you walk into someones yard, break your leg and sue. When you're on a rollercoaster and the breaks fail, I would certainly consider that a bigger problem.

I'm suprised it's taken so long to see a lawsuit from the victims. Has there been one in the past or is this the first?

Thursday, October 14, 2004 4:01 PM
Ride of Steel, while that would seem like the right thing to do you have to stop and think about the consequences of that choice as well.

i.e. whether there are passengers beyond the gates in the loading area... if they are in the train are they properly restrained?

Also, you have to realise that yourself alone could not dispatch a train no matter how hard you wanted to. The other dispatch buttons at each corner of the station where ride ops are stationed need to be pushed as well. Only one of them has to e-stop.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 4:11 PM
I must have posted at the same time as Torgo. I understand why a lawsuit hadn't been filed ealier.
Thursday, October 14, 2004 4:22 PM
rollergator's avatar LOL Torgo....I didn't even bother clicking the linked article at first, gotten kinda tired of having to *register* to read linked articles...KUDOS to Masstort.org for not making me go through that...:)
Thursday, October 14, 2004 4:55 PM
Let's not forget that last year at this time SFA's S:ROS also suffered a brake failure as well,I was in the park when it happened.

The only difference is that a train had already been dispatched & was stopped on the lift at the time thus allowing for the inbound train to run safely through the station & stop on the lift at a much lower height.

The brake lines on all 3 rides were of course replaced following the SFNE crash,prior to that they had used a PVC brake line which is what failed leading to a loss in pressure to the brakes,not exactly an all out failure...as for SFA's brake failure it wasn't made public just what the cause was.

It is kind of odd to see SF sue Intamin 3 years after the accident though & I suppose we'll see them file suit against Vekoma by 06 as a result of the malfunction on Two face last year that left 28 riders stranded 140 ft in the air for over two hours.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 5:36 PM
Apart from the statement which we know to be false in Paragraph 12 of the brake suit (that the ride was not equipped with functional restraints...this is a demonstrably false statement) this all appears to be fairly straightforward.

a) Injured party files last-minute suit against Six Flags

b) Six Flags files last-minute suit against Intamin

It makes sense that it would work that way, as noted in the Six Flags v. Intamin complaint: Six Flags' contract with Intamin specifies that Intamin is responsible for incidents caused by a ride failure resulting from deficiencies in design or construction, therefore, Intamin is responsible for settling this suit, even though Intamin is not named as a defendant in the first complaint.

I suspect that the first case is a continuation of negotiations by other means, and the second case is a means of making sure Intamin doesn't duck its obligations with regard to the first case.

Let the finger pointing begin.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Disclaimer: IANAL

Thursday, October 14, 2004 5:47 PM
Dave wrote:

"Apart from the statement which we know to be false in Paragraph 12 of the brake suit (that the ride was not equipped with functional restraints...this is a demonstrably false statement)"

Not necessarily -- depends on the definition of functional. If the argument is (as I suspect it is) that the restraints were insufficient to protect the passengers from injury in the event of a collision, and that argument prevails, then it was not equipped with "functional" restraints. The statement about not having seatbelts at all is, I believe, incorrect, since I thought those were installed sometime after the ejection in '99.

Note that I don't necessarily endorse the allegation w/r/t nonfunctional restraints -- just want to point out that it's not necessarily false given the language used.



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