Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom sues Intamin and cable manufacturer over accident

Posted Tuesday, September 16, 2008 10:39 AM | Contributed by Chitown

Four years before a Louisville teen’s feet were severed by a cable that snapped on a Kentucky Kingdom ride, the cable’s manufacturer had sent the park the wrong cables, or wire ropes, to install — cables that were inappropriate to use on the ride, according to a suit filed by Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. And the manufacturer of the Superman Tower of Power ride, Intamin Ltd, which has offices in Switzerland and Maryland, made the ride available to the public without a mechanism for automatically shutting it off in the event a cable failed, the suit claims.

Read more from The Courier-Journal.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 10:49 AM

Oh snap.

Question is this really a problem or a scape goat?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 11:27 AM

The Mole said:
Oh snap.

Groan....

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 11:52 AM

So how does one make a case against the manufacturer of a wear-and-tear part that you have to inspect for, you know, wear and tear? I can see the suit against Intamin, sure, but not the maker of the cable. I also don't follow how you sue someone for sending you the wrong part. If that's true, and you install it anyway, how do you fault someone else for that?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 11:53 AM

Considering this is American jurisprudence we're talking about, I assume your questions are rhetorical?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 11:57 AM

The park claims Intamin also failed to warn Six Flags that the Tower of Power’s wire ropes were subject to excessive fatigue.

Ummmmm....DUH?

C'mon now. Six Flags is just trying to cover their own azz. I thought their lousy maitanance or lack of was responsible for the accident. I smell a rat. No cheese, just a big huge rat.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 12:32 PM

Since we disagreed on the other topic ;), I'm gonna go with Jeff on this one. Intamin COULD be held partially responsible. The manufacturer of the cable, just can't see it realistically. Now, for the sake of argument, let's say SF had sent the manufacturer's spec-sheet to the cable company but had the wrong part delivered...SF would theortically have a slightly better argument/position - not that that's what happened. Intamin had reason to know from TTD and Ka (and just plain engineering) that snapped cables can fly around and cause "Bad Things" (TM - DAlthoff).

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 1:31 PM

I think the lawsuit may have merit. We don't have all the information, but from everything I've read, it sounds like Intamin specified an inspection process that was almost impossible to carry out. As I read the article referenced above it almost sounds like Six Flags just recently learned that they were sent the wrong cables from the manufacturers and didn't know it when they were installed--thus the lawsuit.

Everyone seems quick to blame Six Flags, but other operators were treating their towers the same way. The cables frequently picked up too much grease from the carriages and that's why they were hardly ever lubricated. The idea to use talcum powder/cornstarch on the cable came from Paramount's Great America. I think an accident like this could very well have happened to any of the Intamin drop rides in operation. It just happened to occur at SFKK first.

Last edited by Jeffrey Seifert, Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:30 PM
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 1:36 PM

And yet other operators were doing more, and have said so here even. I'm willing to concede that there's likely a bigger picture design problem overall, but the evidence aired in public says to me that the park didn't do what they were supposed to in maintaining the ride.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:18 PM

Yeah, I don't know if this is just too over-simplified or what, but I see the issues as mutually exclusive.

SFKK is responsible for their decision to purchase the ride as it was designed and then making sure it was properly inspected and maintained before putting it into operation. They were also responsible for ensuring their operators were well trained in what to do in an emergency.

I think SFKK is responsible to the Lassiter's and the other plaintiffs for failing to keep them safe.

If SFKK wants to then sue Intamin and the cable manufacturer for the ways they think they were wronged as listed in this article, I say make a go at it. But trying to connect that suit to the Lassiter's suit doesn't seem right to me.

There shouldn't be a dotted line of responsibility from the ride manufactuer to the rider in this case. I really hope this doesn't delay things for the Lassiter's and the other plaintiffs. They deserve closure as quickly as possible.

Last edited by Carrie M., Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:18 PM
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:30 PM

As for smelling a rat, I just think that it might be rat "droppings." Either that or lawyers. :)

KK could also sue the contractor for pysically INSTALLING the wrong part. The contractor should've had the spec for the cable AND checked it as soon as it was offloaded from the truck.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:31 PM

I suspect SFKK would find it very difficult to in any way attach their third party suit to Lassiter's. Not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Exp -- I mean, just guessing.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 3:08 PM

If you contact three companies for cables, and none of them send you the correct one, I don't think your "explicit" order was explicit enough. Did the story mention which manufacturer is being sued?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 3:58 PM

I'd be willing to bet SFKK has something with the Intamin suit. Those cable break sensors have been available for a few years and I believe were actually standard issue on later Gen 2 Giant Drop installations. Unfortunately, the older installations were grandfathered in. But then again, Intamin probably didn't see a critical need to update all drops due to their previous safety records and the assumption they were being properly maintained.

As for the cable orders, have you seen the order slip? It couldn't be more clear in what they ordered. I guess SF is claiming the company sent them the wrong cable, but IMO it's at least partially back on SF for not double checking it and installing it anyway.

So I guess SFKK could score a partial victory here with the sensor thing, though they will still probably get pounded in the Lassiter case. I guess the strategy here is to attempt to collect money in this suit that you need to pay off your penalties in the other suit. Kind of slimey, but I don't really blame them for trying.

Last edited by Emiroo, Tuesday, September 16, 2008 4:08 PM
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 4:03 PM

"In May state agriculture officials said it’s impossible to pinpoint why the cable became fatigued and snapped but that Kaitlyn’s injuries would have been limited to “cuts and scrapes” if the ride operator had immediately hit the emergency stop button on the ride.And they said the accident might have been avoided altogether had park workers followed the ride manual’s instructions for detecting deterioration in the cable before it snapped."

These statements point to Six Flags as carrying the main responsibility for the accident. Parts wear. If they had followed instructions, they would have caught the worn cable.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008 4:06 PM

Here's what i'm waiting for:
 
Cable manufactorer sues steel company over possible defective ztrands. 

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008 11:38 AM

Emiroo said:
As for the cable orders, have you seen the order slip? It couldn't be more clear in what they ordered. I guess SF is claiming the company sent them the wrong cable, but IMO it's at least partially back on SF for not double checking it and installing it anyway.

Well, if the cable you order, GD-0026, is supposed to have a tensile strength to support 10,000 pounds, but they, by mistake, send you GD-0025 which only supports 5,000 pounds, how do you check that? You have an invoice that says GD-0026, the cable looks like GD-0026 (same dimensions and everything) how are you supposed to know they sent you the wrong one (unless of course there is labeling all over the cable to indicate which one it is).

Now, if it was extremely obvious that they had the wrong one and installed it anyway, then this is definitely on SF. But if not, I can see where a large portion of the fault lies with the cable manufacturer.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008 2:53 PM

Since this type of accident did happen at any other park that operates this ride, it is easy to see that SFKK failed to do proper maintence on the ride/cable and the parks lack of training employee's caused this accident. But of course SF will file a suit to muddy the water and hope to get some idiot jurors to belive there story.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008 3:42 PM

Ensign Smith said:
I suspect SFKK would find it very difficult to in any way attach their third party suit to Lassiter's. Not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Exp -- I mean, just guessing.

That may be, but it won't stop them from trying. At least not according to the article posted in the other thread by Mark Small:

"Kentucky Kingdom will ask Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Barry Willett on Monday to allow its complaint to join the Lasitters' lawsuit."


That just seems wrong to me and as I said, I hope it doesn't delay things for the Lasitters.

Last edited by Carrie M., Wednesday, September 17, 2008 3:42 PM
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Thursday, September 18, 2008 4:14 AM

Well, if the cable you order, GD-0026, is supposed to have a tensile strength to support 10,000 pounds, but they, by mistake, send you GD-0025 which only supports 5,000 pounds, how do you check that? You have an invoice that says GD-0026, the cable looks like GD-0026 (same dimensions and everything) how are you supposed to know they sent you the wrong one (unless of course there is labeling all over the cable to indicate which one it is).

Good point. If the cable provider got them mixed up like that, how is the park going to tell?

This could get interesting.

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