Storm collapses Kennywood's Whip - 1 fatality

Friday, May 31, 2002 3:50 PM

The Whip building at Kennywood has collapsed, killing 1. Very sad news.

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/1491082/detail.html

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Karl
http://www.twistedrails.com

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Friday, May 31, 2002 3:56 PM

I've just seen this on TV. Very sad indeed. Did this happen during the bad storms that drove through the area?

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AIM: Pritti Kittie

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Friday, May 31, 2002 3:58 PM
From what I've heard, the collapse was indeed caused by the severe storms and tornados moving through the area (they're just reaching Uniontown right now). My two friends were on their way to the Waterfront when they hit and they told me that traffic is being detoured around Kennywood Boulevard and that large trees are down all over the place.

My prayers go out to those who were injured by the collapse, as well as the possible death that occured.

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Joe Cernelli
Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
Phantom's Revenge Count: 54

*** This post was edited by cernelli on 5/31/2002. ***

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:05 PM

Contribute this to the news. This is very very sad.

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Vekoma stands for-
Very Extreme Kind Of Mental Aches

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:17 PM

I'm watching it on the news now, 7:55. Damnit that sucks. I feel sorry for the deceased's family and pray for the injured. I also have more info. We in the Pittsburgh are experiencing a heavy thunderstorm system with winds in the upper 70s at least. According to eyewitness accounts and helicopter footage, the roof tore off and collapsed either on the ride. There is at least one confirmed fatality, as mentioned above, plus multiple injuries. Also, there are reports that one of Kennywoods pavillions collapsed, injuring at least 20 people. Local hospitals are expecting at least 50 people. WPXI 11 has footage of the collapsed building right now 8:00. There also appears to be debris on the Log Jammer flume ride, leading me to believe that the pavillion nearby may have collapsed as well (just an educated guess at the moment). Guests at the park report debris of general variety (tree limbs, etc.) flying everywhere. The is tons of damage in West Mifflin (immediately surrounding the park), such as trees & telephone poles down & houses badly damaged. Eyewitnesses report that the weather came up very suddenly, and report tornado like winds. I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

*** This post was edited by BBSpeed26 on 5/31/2002. ***

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:30 PM

Another thing I am thinking is that from experience, i know that when severe weather comes through (rain), kennywood tends to leave covered rides open, seeing as they are protected from the rain. This would explain why the whip was still opened. A teenage eyewitness reports a funnel cloud (not necessarily a tornado) come down from the hills at the far side of the parking lot and plow into the whip, but this is unconfirmed and no tornados have been confirmed as of yet.

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Something Funny And Witty Goes Here

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:33 PM

It's been reported that they were anouncing for people to leave the park due to the nasty weather beginning to move through.. wouldn't they have shut the rides down with that?

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AIM: Pritti Kittie

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:34 PM
Judging from the aerial footage, and the confirmation by my meteorlogist friend, it does look like a tornado. The Whip building looks absolutely terrible.
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Joe Cernelli
Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
"If you want to follow me, you've got to play pinball."
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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:39 PM
Kennywood PR director Mary Lou Rosemeyer has spoken with local news, saying that now Kennywood personel are trying to match up lost or seperated guests with their family members and friends. She reports that the Whip was in fact open, and also reports that there are trees down in the park. This tragedy is reported to have happened atapproximately at 7 pm. For those unfarmiliar with the whip, it is partially enclosed in a pavillion style structure, with a roof but opened sides with supports holding up the roof all the way around. The injurey count is now being reduced, much less than 50 is what I've heard now.

*** This post was edited by BBSpeed26 on 5/31/2002. ***

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:43 PM
Holy crap, and to think I was just on the Whip this past Sunday at KennyKon. That's sad...

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mmm, roller coaster
(Homer Simpson)

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:46 PM
It WAS a wierd storm though, came up in 10 min, lasted about 15 and then it was sunny again. A couple branches in the yard was all I got (about 5 miles away)

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--Proud member of the "More brains than common sense" club.

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:46 PM
I had considered going to Kennywood today due to the cancellation of my SRM plans, thank God I didn't.
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Joe Cernelli
Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
"If you want to follow me, you've got to play pinball."
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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:54 PM

I'm on the south side and all we got was some heavy thunder and heavy rains. I'd like to note that this is the unfortunately the first death and injury incident that was not the fault of park guests. This is a sad week for the theme park biz.

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Something Funny And Witty Goes Here

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Friday, May 31, 2002 4:55 PM

Reported that several trees fell on the Log Jammer, and people are crediting the ride with saving their lives.

Another thought... if deaths occur in three's.. this is the third this week for amusement parks.

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AIM: Pritti Kittie

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Friday, May 31, 2002 5:00 PM

The report of a seperate pavillion collapse is losing credibility, as no eyewitnesses are reporting this. The debris on the Log Jammer could likely be from trees falling on it as Jess mentioned.

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Something Funny And Witty Goes Here

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Friday, May 31, 2002 5:19 PM

Current news reports (as of 9:10 pm) from KDKA have shown video footage from the parking lot. You can clearly see the roof of the Whip down to ground level. At this point, Kennywood is not allowing news crews into the park for obvious reasons. So far, at least 15 people have been brought to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital's emergency room (the same building where I work, and currently am right now) but so far no news is being released on their condition.

In talking to one of the people in the admission department just about 15 minutes ago, no information is being released on their condition at this point. They are currently being activated for a "disaster" condition, which means that they could be inundated with many more injuries, given they are the closest level 1 trauma unit from the park.

The storm itself rolled through the Oakland section (where I'm at, and just about 6 or 7 miles from the park) and it has wrecked havock here. The live feed from across the street from Kennywood are just as unfavorable.

More to come...

*** This post was edited by Neil on 5/31/2002. ***

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Friday, May 31, 2002 5:27 PM

More information from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

http://www.post-gazette.com/breaking/20020531webkennywood0531ap1.asp

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Friday, May 31, 2002 5:33 PM
Just to throw in my hometown information for those of you who aren't getting live feeds or anything...

Wow. The whole Whip building is on the ground with shards of wood, shingles, tree branches, leaves, etc. all around that area of the park and the surrounding area. The tops of nearby houses have just been ripped clean off. It's not "confirmed," but it had to be a tornado.

It's sad, indeed. Since the same line of storms passed through here about two hours ago, I have a pretty good feeling just how fast they hit. Kennywood, like all other parks, are constantly monitoring the weather, but this was a freak occurence.

My prayers go out to the family of the deceased, as well as the injured.

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Matt Lynch

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Friday, May 31, 2002 5:40 PM
KDKA is now reporting 1 dead, 27 injured. A home video shows trees down everywhere. There appears to be damage throughout the park as a result. Hospital reports that one woman has a broken bone (reported as leg) as a result of a tree falling, and two children are now going into surgery for injuries to the abdomen and another is being evaluated for possible bleading in the brain. Other children may be still trapped under the fallen roof structure, and local hospitals are on alert. The deceased is now being reported as an 8 year old girl. My prayers go out to the families involved in this freak incident.

*** This post was edited by BBSpeed26 on 5/31/2002. ***

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Friday, May 31, 2002 5:40 PM

Another update:

KDKA has just shown footage from inside the park. Debris and numerous trees are down everywhere. There are witness reports that a large tree has fallen into the Log Jammer as well.

As I began typing this, I contacted a colleague of mine in the ER department at UPMC Presbyterian, who has indicated that none of the injuries brought to our hospital appear to be life-threatning. And I have just heard from the TV playing in an office across the hall that the person killed was an 8 year-old.

News briefings are forthcoming in this developing story.

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Closed topic.

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