Six die in simulator accident in China

Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2010 12:18 PM | Contributed by Jerry

A space shuttle simulator ride plunged 50 feet to the ground at a popular Chinese amusement park, killing six people and injuring another 10. Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News quoted witnesses as saying one cabin came loose during a high-speed spin and struck other cabins. Some fell 50 feet, sending passengers tumbling.

Read more from MSNBC.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 12:33 PM

Sounds similar to mission:space. Any chance it was the same manufacturer?

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 1:08 PM
Jerry's avatar

I'm not sure - but have been looking for that information as well... I would think that Disney would shut it down for inspections at the very least, assuming it were true.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 1:16 PM

Yes wondering what this ride looks like and how it operates.

Thought about Mission Space but it was 50 feet off the ground.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 1:31 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

What kind of simulator goes 50 feet up? Isn't the point of a simulator to simulate the experience? Why would it have to leave the ground in any meaningful way?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 1:34 PM
Jerry's avatar

It is tragic whatever happened - I think Gonch summed it up best when stating - respect amusement park rides - they don't respect you. From what I can tell it was a centrifuge - but why it was 50 feet off the ground is beyond my comprehension for the above mentioned reasons...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 1:46 PM

Another article says it was designed and built by a Chinese Company. It may sound like a mission space experience but I think that is where the similarities end. I don't think Disney needs to be concerned about their ride at all.

Apparently in addition to spinning, the ride also rises up and down.

Link (caution: some photos are a little graphic)

Last edited by Jeffrey Seifert, Wednesday, June 30, 2010 2:00 PM
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 1:54 PM

Anyone know or have a link to park website?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 2:00 PM

Link to the park:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:10 PM
Kick The Sky's avatar

Jerry said:
I think Gonch summed it up best when stating - respect amusement park rides - they don't respect you.

I believe that is RideMan's saying...

Certain victory.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:45 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
What kind of simulator goes 50 feet up? Isn't the point of a simulator to simulate the experience?

Yea I suppose that Spiderman isn't much of a simulator than is it?

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Eric Hossfield said:

Yea I suppose that Spiderman isn't much of a simulator than is it?

No, you misunderstood. That's exactly my point. Seems to me a simulator should go zero feet up. Otherwise it's not simulation, it's reality.

I'm questioning why a simulator would need to be 50 feet in the air.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:59 PM
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 4:04 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
What kind of simulator goes 50 feet up? Isn't the point of a simulator to simulate the experience?

Post of the year. :) That had me rollin'. I laughed so loud that the guy in the office asked me what I was laughing at.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 4:56 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I don't really consider Spiderman or DarKastle a simulator and never have. It's a 3D darkride experience.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 5:35 PM

They are simulating a rocket launch, and to do so, the ride not only spins but also rises up and down. It sounds like a very cool concept, but obviously was not properly engineered. I realize that simulators don't typically have that much movement, but some do. Disney's soarin' rides probably rise about fifty feet or so if you are in the top row.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 5:48 PM

Here is my problem with what you are saying Gonch. The problem is that every simulator moves passengers up and down a little. It is just not 50 feet. So my question for you would then be how how is too high to be called a simulator?

This is why I define a simulator ride to be any ride that's primarly purpose is to bring you into a virtual world. Its simple and doesn't need numbers to define itself.

1.SV 2.El Toro 3.MF 4.I-305 5.Kumba
6.STR@SFNE 7.X2 8.Nitro 9.Cannibal 10.Diamondback

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 5:57 PM
Soggy's avatar

The point isn't "how high is too high to be a simulator?" Nor is anyone attempting to label things to be simulators vs. darkride experiences. Gonch is just saying that 50' is too high for anything to "simulate" rising up. The effect could have been done by rising a lot less than a height that would kill a passenger should the ride fail.

Anyone remember Disney's Mission to Mars? Pretty effective and no chance of death.

Pass da' sizzrup, bro!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 6:07 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I define a simulator to be those hot, boxy contraptions that jerk you around in sync to images shown on a screen in the front of the the hot, boxy contraption and are usually presented as an overpriced upcharge attraction.

Anyhting else and you're just shorting yourself, really.

I wanna make a simulator that goes 50 miles per hour, but simulates the experience of going 60 miles per hour.

There is no off position on the genius switch. :)


Seriously though, the comment was mostly in jest. Don't read too much into it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 6:09 PM

Jeffrey: Thanks for that link. That's the most detail I have seen so far on the ride system.

Another article I read earlier suggested that there were eleven "pods" on the ride, and that there were 44 people on board. This article says the ride seats 48, which means 12 ride units. Note that the article also says that images are displayed on an 80-foot-wide screen (for reference, the Cedar Point Cinema screen was 66' x 88', if you remember that...) which may explain why it is necessary for it to rise some 40 feet to generate the effect the designer wanted. Given the size of the screen, I am picturing that the pods must be open, unlike Mission: Space, where instead of an 80' screen, each ride has 40 2' screens (that's almost the same thing, right?).

I'd still love to see a photo or drawing, or heck, even a competent description of the ride system. Preferably in its pre-incident condition.

Might this be the worst amusement ride accident ever, with six fatalities? Someone pointed out in another discussion that the previous record holder seems to be the Battersea coaster incident which killed 5...

Jerry: The statement you alluded to has been in my signature since sometime in 2003. It's actually rooted in a conversation I had that Spring with Josh Wozny. In any case, I don't claim it as an original; it falls into the same category as those industrial machines with the signs that say, "This machine has no brain. Please use yours." Same general idea. And yes, I added it to my signature as a result of someone showing not merely disrespect, but outright contempt for a roller coaster, and I think we all know how it turned out. :(

I'm not so sure it applies to this incident, though.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 6:20 PM

I think that rides like Spiderman are simulators in every way. They are dark rides and they are 3d but they simulate everything else- speed, acceleration, interaction with characters, special effects, as well as height without leaving the ground.

This ride sounds possibly like a gravitron-style ride with a domed top onto which they project movies. I'd be interested to know if the dome is attached to the ride, or the roof of the building. The "going up and down" part is whats confusing. Maybe it climbs a pole like a drop tower would, or maybe its lifted by an arm. The combination of spinning around a ring, the projections, and the up and down movements sure sound disorienting enough to qualify as someone's idea of a simulator, though. And being of Chinese design and manufacture, it could be lord only knows what - maybe some concept or design we've never seen here in the west. The park descriptions on the website lose a lot in translation, but they seem to paint themselves as an innovative and modern place with an eco theme.

It's too bad about the deaths and the casualties. It's always sad when someone's day of fun unexpectedly turns into tragedy, and I also hate it for the park involved whenever there's an accident.

Good point about Soarin', Jeffrey Seifert. Whenever I've been lucky enough to snag the highest row on that ride I've always felt a little uneasy - it seems awfully high up and precarious with nothing but concrete floor below me. So for the sake of "flying" and capacity they've turn what would be a standard simulator experience into one with a gimmick, one we don't see elsewhere - probably not unlike this unfortunate ride in China.


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