State inspector says Raven showed no sign of equipment failure in weekend accident

Posted Monday, June 2, 2003 9:53 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Following the death of Tamar Fellner of New York Saturday night in an accident involving Holiday World's Raven roller coaster, a state inspection found no evidence of any equipment or safety restraint failure, said Alden Taylor, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Fire and Building Services, which inspects amusement park rides. Taylor announced today that the state's post-accident inspection Sunday afternoon revealed no violations and no signs of defect or wear in the safety equipment.

Read more from The Indianapolis Star.

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Monday, June 2, 2003 9:55 AM
While I'm leaving this open to discussion, I would appreciate it if members would restrict their comments to those based on fact, and not speculation. Thank you.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Monday, June 2, 2003 10:01 AM
I hope this doesn't become another Drop Zone at PGA incident, i.e. one in which all mechanical equipment is found to be in perfect working order, but no answer is ever found as to why the person died.
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If you have a problem with clones, the solution is real simple—Stop traveling.
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Monday, June 2, 2003 10:26 AM
Was nobody else on the train? Unless the person was riding in the back seat alone, someone should have seen something happen. As a ride operator, the Corkscrew at Valleyfair, everytime I dispatch a train my stomach gets tight until the train returns with all the riders. My thoughts and prayers are with the Fellner family. Also its with the ride ops at Holiday World. I can only imagine how they feel.

Sincerly, Tim

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Monday, June 2, 2003 10:37 AM
The seatbelt was not buckled when the train returned. Pat told us that much when she made the annoucement.

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God bless Intamin, Company that I love. Stand beside her, and ride her, from the opening to the closing of the day.


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Monday, June 2, 2003 10:41 AM
The woman was riding with her fiancee according to news reports and he alerted the people in the station as to what happened at which point someone else on the train who was a trained medical doctor rushed to the scene to administer life saving efforts along with the park's EMT's. So the answer is yes that someone was riding in the same row as her, and yes it was the back of the train. Anything beyond that would be speculation as to what he may or may have not seen.

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Bob Hansen
Resident Airtime Whore

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Monday, June 2, 2003 11:04 AM
It's easy to think that the person sitting next to her would know exactly what happened but think about when you are riding. Are you paying attention to the person sitting next you? Are you seeing everything that person may or may not be doing during the ride or even going up the lift hill? I can say in all honesty that I don't. For example, my husband could easily undo his seat belt, not that he would ever do something like that, but the point is, I would never know the difference because I'm not paying attention to what he is doing.
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Monday, June 2, 2003 11:23 AM
What a...um...surprise.

Raven was in good working order. I rode it myself that day. In that seat. As did some 200 other people that day, based on the numbers ("about 2,400 rides given") attributed to Will Koch in one of the many news articles.

loriu is absolutely correct. Most people don't watch their fellow riders, especially those riders seated in the same row. The row ahead, maybe. Same row, not likely except under unusual circumstances. Particularly not on an aggressive ride like Raven. The best evidence is the physical evidence.

The more I learn about this incident, the madder I get.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:24 PM
I have a question. Just how common is unbuckling seatbelts on coasters, in general? I have seen the signs warning of this activity in the parks, but never thought that this type of thing actually occured.

MrScott*** This post was edited by scott taylor 6/2/2003 4:26:10 PM ***

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:31 PM
What exactly does it mean by "not in the seat"? Was this woman thrown from the car? No matter what it is, my heart goes out to those close to her. It is always a tragedy when something like this happens.
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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:33 PM
When first heard the news I had a bad feeling that it was an enthuisast. I work weekends on a roller coaster, which is why I was not at SRM, and the vast majority of the riders I check actually want their seat belt snug or even tight and good number of them pull the lap bar down to where they basically staple themselves. This is in contrast to how I have witnessed some enthuisasts want their restraints fastened at a few of the events I have attended. Not trying to speculate on things just giving an observation.
What are the odds of one restraint system failing? Either lap bar or seat belts.
Then what are the odds of both systems failing at the same time?
Feeling very melancholily.

Jim Wolgamuth
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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:38 PM
scott,
I shamefully admit to having done the same thing myself before (once) and know of others who have, too. The problem, I think, is that we assume seatbelts are redundant because we grew up riding with Buzz bars and no belts and never had a problem.

The snag in this theory is that an individually ratcheting restraint 6 inches from your body DOES NOT do the same thing as a buzz bar 6 inches from your body, due to the ergonomics of the designs. Also, I have often found myself sitting next to a person much smaller than me and realizing that there was enough room between the individual bars for me to easily slide out between them.

Anyway, I'd like to see a study done comparing the safety of buzz bar and seatbelt vs. individual bar and seatbelt. I'd be very surprised to see the results in favor of individuals except in cases of extreme stapling.

Also, as another point of fact, the ops on Raven earlier in the day were requiring the bar to be a fist width away from your body, not just 2 clicks down.

Edit: Magnum XL: no she was not in the car at all when it returned to the station.

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Maihama, Maihama Desu

*** This post was edited by ThemeDesigner 6/2/2003 4:41:08 PM ***

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:40 PM
I suppose any comments I have at this point would be considered "speculation," so I'll keep those to myself.

I really hope Holiday World and Raven will be able to move on and keep going a well as they have in the past.

And of course, my condolences to the family, friends and especially the fience of Ms. Fellner.

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SCREAM with me... in 2003!

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:42 PM
Magnum XL-200, I believe saying the woman was "not in the seat" is the easiest way for the park to state just that. Saying "not in the seat" does not pass blame to anyone, or speculate a cause, it just simply states she was not in her seat.

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alpengeist13

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:42 PM
I can’t help but agree with Dave here.

Raven has given hundreds of thousands of people rides with no problem. The seatbelt and lap bar have been inspected and tested, they are fine. We even have SRM attendees stating that a park official said that the train returned to the station with the seatbelt unfastened.

What more evidence could there be? How can you not draw a speculative conclusion?

If this happened at a Six Flags park, or perhaps a park that doesn’t have representative that frequently posts on this site, would this get treated with the same kid gloves? If this had happened to GP Joe, he would have been tried and found guilty by the enthusiast community the same night the accident happened.

Everyone is saddened that someone is dead. But, like Dave I’m starting to feel a little angry. It’s looking more and more like we’ve been betrayed by one of our own, someone who knows better. If this is indeed the case, she has paid for it in the greatest way possible, but we too will pay. Do you not think that this isn’t going to get you stapled the next time you ride the Raven? Perhaps you haven’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm recently.

Am I being selfish because I’m concerned about how the death of an enthusiast (any enthusiast) affects my next visit to the park? I certainly don’t think so. At least not as selfish as said enthusiast was when they took their own life looking for a little extra thrill.

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:44 PM
Scott,

All I can say is that a group of us used to do it on CP's Blue Streak when they first got the seatbelts and still had one lapbar that covered both riders. It was mostly due to riding that ride without seatbelts for so long, that we felt safe without them.

However, I would NEVER try that on MF or TTD. I feel the seatbelt is the only thing that saved my life on both those rides (though I'm sure the lapbar must have been holding me in).

In fact, at Coaster Buzz II, I found myself trying to get a little extra "airtime room" on Viper, UNTIL I hit the first hill off the second turn...after I returned to the seat and thanked God that I never let go of the hand grip, I found myself notching the lap bar down to a more secure position (of course there are no seatbelts on Viper).

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Goccvp1...who is not proud of his stupidity, but IS willing to talk about it.*** This post was edited by Goccvp1 6/2/2003 4:45:22 PM ***

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:49 PM
At least so far, the park is not to be blamed for the accident.

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A true enthusiast goes on the kiddie coasters.

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:51 PM
As we were leaving SRM on Sunday, the newspaper reported one injured. I have assumed the one injured was the fiance in the seat next to her. Does anyone know what happened to him?

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Fever

I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

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Monday, June 2, 2003 12:59 PM
I'm curious about that myself, because he was in the right seat. If the victim was in the left seat, and the accident occured where around the drop described, I would think she either had to come out straight back or through the rider in the right seat.

Yes, CoasterRider511, it is being handled differently because it is "one of our own" (for better or worse), and the park is owned by a family we have grown to respect and cherish, not some faceless corporation. Maybe that isn't fair, but it is the way we have, and will continue, to handle it.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Monday, June 2, 2003 1:10 PM
I feel a little better that the ride didn't cause it. It just makes me feel safer.

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