Six Flags to pay $4 million in river ride death

Posted Friday, February 22, 2002 6:02 AM | Contributed by bigboy

Six Flags will pay $4 million to the family of the woman killed at the chain's Arlington park. The woman drowned after one of the boats in the Roaring Rapids ride overturned. Attorneys believe that the rubber bladders made by Canyon Manufacturing, one of which deflated, were defective and the cause of the accident.

Read more from AP via the Star-Telegram.

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Friday, February 22, 2002 6:35 AM
This was a while back. Long time ago.

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At least I dont call a vertical loop a "loopdie-loop"!

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Friday, February 22, 2002 6:41 AM
No, this was announced today.  The accident was in 99, as the article states
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- Peabody
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Friday, February 22, 2002 6:49 AM
Yea. Still awhile back; For me.

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At least I dont call a vertical loop a "loopdie-loop"!

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Friday, February 22, 2002 7:26 AM
I don't have much to say except:

Man, that must have been horrifying. 

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If the shoe fits, find another one.

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Friday, February 22, 2002 7:34 AM
I am very curious for MORE in-depth information about this. I would like to know how they contend that the "bladders" were "defective", and not just worn or punctured during normal operation. It sounds more like a "freak accident" to me than a defective part. They are targeting the manufacturer of the rubber "bladder", rather than Six Flags or the RIDE manufacturer themselves. Interesting.

My condolences go out to the victim's family.

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I've traded in my 2000 Giovanola for a 2002 Arrow X4D :)
My other car is now an Arrow X4D!

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Friday, February 22, 2002 8:04 AM
This was just what you say it was: a horrible freak accident.  I think SF has described a "chain of failures" that led to the accident.  One thing that is intriguing about this story is the fact that a defendant in a suit has settled with the plaintiff, only to join with them to become co-plaintiffs in a suit against another defendant.  This has to be treading into new legal ground, especially for a theme park and manufacturer.
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Friday, February 22, 2002 8:07 AM
This is probably one of the few deaths actually caused solely by a ride.  More often than not, the rider is at least partially to blame.  Considering that SFoT has been open since the 60's, they appear to have an outstanding safety record.  I don't know how you can put a value on a person's life, but I guess $4M is fair if the survivors think it is.

Mike

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Laugh your troubles away at Riverview, the world's largest amusement park.

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Friday, February 22, 2002 8:33 AM
Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a freak accident, because it occured semi-regularly for a period of time. Many parks had problems with their rapids rides (were they all Intamin?), and the whole SF chain closed every rapids ride for a long period.

Honestly, accidents like this have gotten me thinking about the worst every time I go on one of those things. This is especially true on the wilder rapids rides like Bilgerat Barges down at IOA. If you hit a rapid the wrong way and  if part of the raft is deflated, then you could feasibly flip over.

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Friday, February 22, 2002 8:44 AM
DH, not all river rapid rides are made by Intamin. Many are made by OD Hopkins.
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Friday, February 22, 2002 9:16 AM
That is why when ever I ride them, I know right where my seatbelt buckle, just incase I need to rip it off.
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Friday, February 22, 2002 9:51 AM
Riverview Mike:  While rider misconduct seems to be responsible for a lot of minor accidents, it is the primary cause in only about 25% of fatal ride accidents.  Mechanical failure is the most common cause.  This is based on a study of all fatal amusement ride accidents from 1987 through 2001.


bigboy:  It is a freak accident if the raft is hit by a meteorite and sunk.  The failure of a inflatable bladder has a cause or causes.  We can determine these causes and take proper actions to prevent the same accident from happening again.  Accidents Don't Just Happen.  They Have Causes. *** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 2/22/2002. ***

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Friday, February 22, 2002 10:01 AM
This is an interesting move....Paying the family and siding with them for another suit.
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- Peabody
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Friday, February 22, 2002 10:03 AM
rollergator's avatar Alright, not at all sure who said it first (not me), but anyway there was supposedly a change made from a multi-bladder design to a single-bladder design.  The multiple bladders could get a leak in one or two, yet keep floating...the single bladder gets a leak, and this is the result.

True, parks are responsible for your safety so long as you abide by the rules, but I gotta believe my life is worth more to me than to my relatives...therefore, I always check my own restraints, and try to keep an eye out for "escpae routes" in case of accident.  By all accounts, none of these would have prevented this tragedy....ASSUMING I have the story straight, this really would be the park's fault...

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Friday, February 22, 2002 10:43 AM
janfrederick's avatar I worked at Rip Roaring Rapids at Great America Santa Clara for a couple of seasons. These types of rides are the most dangerous. Not only was I injured during testing (thrown out of my seat when the raftr bottomed out on a badly placed weir), but we had multiple instances of rafts flipping. Most of the cases involved rafts getting too close and wedging in the trough. Fortunately, nobody was ever killed. 
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"I'll bet that thing hits 5 Gs going through that loop.....faaar ooouut!"
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Friday, February 22, 2002 10:58 AM
Jim:  You're right in that the deflated air bladder was not a freak accident.  Something had to cause that bladder to become damaged.  However, I do believe that the results of that damage did result in a freak accident.  That ride was 16 years old at the time of the accident.  I can't imagine that this was the first time that guests boarded a raft with a deflated tube.  This was just the first time that the circumstances were right for this type of accident to occur.  I worked at SFOT and I worked around that ride off and on.  I saw a lot of strange things happen on that ride that kept me from being terribly surprised when people were injured. *** This post was edited by bigboy on 2/22/2002. ***
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Friday, February 22, 2002 1:26 PM
Jeff's avatar There was a lengthy feature about this accident, but searching the forums and news I can't find it. If it's the story I'm thinking of, the crew for the ride was not well trained, and several guests jumped in to save people. That said, the raft may have been defective, but there was apparently some problem with the way it was handled.

Is the ride (as a whole) and Intamin ride? I seem to remember them catching flack for this as well.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Friday, February 22, 2002 2:00 PM
There were issues with staff training in the accident.  While a few guests did jump in the water to assist, there were about a dozen park employees who jumped in the water.  Some of the sensationalizing of the lack of training was brought on by a "dive expert" who witnessed the accident.  She erroneously reported to the media that the employees did nothing to assist the guests trapped on the boat.  To the park's credit, they took some outstanding measures to improve the overall safety of the ride.  Several security watch positions were added to the ride, water safety equipment was placed at the ride, and employees were put through water safety training.
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Friday, February 22, 2002 2:33 PM
janfrederick's avatar Sometimes the closest folks to the scene are guests, not employees.

Also, jumping into a ride that is still operating is pretty dangerous. Although I wouldn't think twice about it, you can't expect an employee to risk their own life as part of their job unless there is full understanding that that is what they are getting paid to do. In which case, pay them more and make sure they all receive CPR and basic first aid training...since we want them to act like lifeguards. Which, by the way, isn't such a bad idea. With so many people in a park, things happen. It'd be a good thing to have someone who can respond right away.

BTW, the only thing our managers told us to do in the case of a flip was to shut off the ride. I would imagine that instructing ride ops to do something dangerous like perform a rescue would not only warrant extra pay, but would probably cost the park more in terms of disability insurance.

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"I'll bet that thing hits 5 Gs going through that loop.....faaar ooouut!"

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Friday, February 22, 2002 2:38 PM
A number of things attributed to the accident. The partially deflated rafts made the boats ride lower. As the boat traveled around the course, it got stuck over an underground pipe at which rushing water made the bungee cord snap that held the raft and boat together which allowed the seats to tip over. Since then, Six Flags has installed underground ramps over the huge pipes, use a much stronger bungee cord, and have a different kind of rafts I believe.
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.:| Brandon Rodriguez |:.
http://www.coasters2k.com
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