Serious accident on Xcelerator caputerd on Video

Friday, September 18, 2009 1:55 PM

Looks like they got hit by bits on the way up too. I think the father was panicing because he saw smoke and was strapped into the car. I'm sure he didn't want to be burned alive.

I guess we won't be riding this for a few months. Good thing nobody was seriously hurt.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:01 PM

kRaXLeRidAh said:
^ You have to consider that these riders are still a good 10-feet off the ground. Even if the restraints could be opened immediately, do you expect them to jump down?

By the time park medics learn of the situation and get there with ladders, it would have taken just as much time for the train to be reversed back into the station, where riders can be unloaded safely.

I have had an employee goof around, ride the back-end axel of an Arrow looping coaster train out of the station and jump off prior to the train engaging the lift which was about 10 feet drop down to the ground. In an emergency just about anything can be done!

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:06 PM

This video really puts an accident like this in perspective.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:09 PM

It sure does seem as though Intamin installations injure/kill people at lot more frequently than other manufacturers. Granted, some of them are upkeep issues, not design issues (e.g. the drop tower cable at SFKK) but still.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Friday, September 18, 2009 2:10 PM
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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:12 PM

kRaXLeRidAh said:
it would have taken just as much time for the train to be reversed back into the station, where riders can be unloaded safely.

That's assuming the train was even mobile after the accident.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:13 PM

mlnem4s said:


kRaXLeRidAh said:
^ You have to consider that these riders are still a good 10-feet off the ground. Even if the restraints could be opened immediately, do you expect them to jump down?

By the time park medics learn of the situation and get there with ladders, it would have taken just as much time for the train to be reversed back into the station, where riders can be unloaded safely.

I have had an employee goof around, ride the back-end axel of an Arrow looping coaster train out of the station and jump off prior to the train engaging the lift which was about 10 feet drop down to the ground. In an emergency just about anything can be done!

That's ridiculous. There are certain protocols you have to consider. Your friend may have been able to do it, but that doesn't mean it's okay to do it, nor are all people physically capable of doing it without causing injury (or further injury) to themselves. Wasn't your first post about how to get injured riders off immediately?

You really expect an injured person to leap 10 feet to the ground below? "Yeah, she got lacerated by a snapped cable. Let's have her break her ankle too while we're at it."

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:16 PM

This is seriously disturbing. This is a catastrophic ride failure that could have had an outcome such as what happened to the Lassiter girl at SFKK -- or worse. The company, the manufacturer, and most importantly the riders are very lucky it didn't.

Something like this should NEVER happen on an amusement park ride, and leastwise ones operated and maintained by a company like Cedar Fair. Enough incidents with cable failure have happened that CF urgently needs to sit down with Intamin and figure out how to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again. Period. Because the next time, they might not be so lucky.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:45 PM

kRaXLeRidAh said:
That was either chunks of fiberglass on the front of the train disintegrating from the impact with the catch car or it was hydraulic fluid sprayed at them when the cable popped.

Hydraulic fluid from where? Certainly not the motor, it's encased in a concrete building, and it wasn't the motor that failed. There is hydraulic fluid in the restraint system, but as best I can tell, those cylinders are either under the floor or in compartments in front of the restraint. Furthermore, I doubt there was any "impact" from the catch car, as it's contained in a track, and will hits its magnetic brakes at the end of the run.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:53 PM

I was not sure if I should post the video here as I thought Jeff might think it is not an "official" video and is going to close the topic. Actually I am still surprised that it is still on You Tube. Some might think the CF lawyers are all over this one

Reason I actually posted here was to show how scary this type of ride might be. Thankfully the kid is ok(from all I know) but at the same time we could have seen a little girl on a dropride

We know that millions of people enjoy amusement park rides each and every year, heck, driving to the park is probably more dangerous then riding a coaster while there but the point is to put a face towards what could happen.

This was really not a freak accident, this is what happend multiple times before, only this time we can put a face to it and actually see what happend in real time.

So, question is where to go from here?

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Friday, September 18, 2009 2:59 PM

I said back in 99 that IMHO cable systems were risky.  
A Snapped Cable under thousands of pounds of tension
 can flail
wildly.   If they are going to do it it should be launched with the sled in the rear pushing.
Chuck, saying what is this?  Two MF snaps, One TTD,
 One Excellerator, Has KK done it?

Last edited by Charles Nungester, Friday, September 18, 2009 2:59 PM
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Friday, September 18, 2009 3:03 PM

Jeff said:
The spray of debris from the bottom of the car is pretty scary stuff. That implies that either the floor isn't steel or the cable did a number on the cosmetic front end.

The problem with these cable snaps seems to be that the separated cable has nowhere to go. If it's built similar to Dragster, normally, the catch car hits its set of brakes and decelerates the mass of the car as the motor comes to a quick stop. In this case, the motor comes to a quick stop but the cable's momentum will cause it to keep moving without the catch car to keep it in place. The only possible outcome is for it to snap out in front of the train.

I've never been comfortable with this system, and this doesn't help.

Agreed Jeff, Even Anton on his push lift coasters put the contact point at the rear of the train and pushed

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Friday, September 18, 2009 3:21 PM

Coming from someone who was working at Great Adventure in 2005 the day when Kingda Ka had its major incident during a test run and having seen the damage to train, catch car, and brakes, I have never felt very safe riding these rides. Great Adventure was lucky that day, I firmly believe there would have been major injuries/fatalities if guests had been on that train.

Those who remember the queue line for Kingda Ka went down and around the launch runway and back again. The accident threw debris all over the queue area. They ended up re-routing the queue line away from the launch areas and declared the former queue and launch observation area a no-entry zone due to fears of debris from the ride if a similar accident were to occur. I have not visited in years past and they may have re-opened the original line and observation area but it was a no-go in 2005 after said accident.

This shows that not only can these rides be dangerous to those who ride but sometimes more so to those watching. What stops these cables from snapping and whipping into spectators at Top Thrill and other similar rides? Not much.

Storm Runner you can stand feet below the launch cable and watch it go through its cycle. Some parks may want to re-think how they approach safety on and around these Intamin Rockets. Though how can you when the massive amounts of speed, tension, and momentum all come with the territory?

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Friday, September 18, 2009 3:34 PM

Does Vekoma use a similar launch system on their motorbike coasters? If so, has one of their cables ever snapped? Does it pull from the front of the train or push from the back?

Just trying to get a comparison to these Intamin rides. Did they copy the design exactly or did they approach the safety issue differently.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 3:35 PM

Alexatucla said:
Some might think the CF lawyers are all over this one


I'm sure that Edward Markey will do everything in his power to make all this public.

Last edited by Eric Hossfield, Friday, September 18, 2009 5:36 PM
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Friday, September 18, 2009 3:43 PM

^Same question on the S&S launch systems (towers and coasters)...

Does anyone know what caused the sudden stop at the end? You can see the train "bump" over the cable on its way back, and the brakes seems to do their job slowing the train down. However, on the Intamins all you have to fully stop the train are the tires. It seems to me that if it was a tire stop it would have skidded a bit to a stop a la Maverick after the sloped brake run. this doesn't happen, though, and the train looks like it jams to a halt. Did the front of the train catch something and grab it, did it bump the other train in the station, or am I way off and something else happened?

As I was thinking about it, we can be thankful that the train was still able to run along the track more or less smoothly so that the brakes could still do their job. I'm wondering just how much of the cable/catch car penetrated the envelope above the track; subsequently spilling into the train.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 4:13 PM

Alexatucla said:
I was not sure if I should post the video here as I thought Jeff might think it is not an "official" video and is going to close the topic. Actually I am still surprised that it is still on You Tube.

It's not my place to filter what's on YouTube. I don't run YouTube.

That said, if you posted it, you probably put yourself at pretty serious legal risk. That's your bed to sleep in, not mine.

The LA NBC affiliate posted a short story on it.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 4:22 PM

There is a certain amount of protection built into the rides.

I have never ridden Xcelerator as I refuse to ride anything without my glasses for safety reasons, so my commentary here is based on Top Thrill Dragster and to a lesser degree on Storm Runner.

The catch-car does not have wheels on it, and if you ride in the front seat of the train and look down the launch track, the tow ropes are totally enclosed. The only exposed rope is the return rope attached to the back end of the catch car.

There are actually two ropes attached to the front end of the catch car. Both ropes are attached to the sides of the front of the catch car, and run in a channel which is outboard of the open trench that the catch car runs in. There are actually "walls" on both sides of the open trench, and a slot near the bottom to accommodate the ropes as they attach to the catch car. So if the haul ropes fail, there really should be no way for them to exit the channel where they are contained. It would be interesting to see video of the launch track from the ground during this incident, because the design *should* preclude the haul rope from getting loose in the event of a failure. Furthermore, if either rope should fail, it should simply take off down the track and wind up on the cable drum.

The complication, of course, is if the rope fails downtrack of the catch car (rather than at the catch car connection) as this would leave a piece of suddenly-untensioned rope in front of the catch car. This could bring the catch car to a sudden halt, but that would not be a problem as the train would simply over-run it. And yes, the connection between the train and the catch car is an over-running system which will completely disengage when the train over-runs the catch car, such that when the train comes back down the hill, the car will NOT attempt to re-engage with the catch car.

Someone said something about the mobility of the train after the incident...we know that the train is mobile following the incident because it did in fact over-run the catch car and went up the hill, then rolled back into the brakes. So releasing the brakes should allow the train to continue to roll back to the station.

So the big question here is, where did the debris cloud come from? The only thing I can think of SPECULATION ALERT! is that the rope failed ahead of the catch car and the catch car and the slot damaged the loose end of the rope, or perhaps one of the haul ropes failed and the other rope abraded against the edge of the slot because of a misalignment of the catch car.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 4:34 PM

The video has been removed from youtube.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 4:45 PM

The LA TV station still has it up on their site, for the curious.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 5:02 PM

(video removed from YouTube)

ClickToFlash, Safari Element Inspector, and QuickTime Pro, FTW!

I don't understand why Cedar Fair would even try to have this video suppressed. The genie is already out of the bottle, it won't go back in.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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