Two injured on carnival Tilt-a-Whirl from falling decorative part

Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 1:48 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Inspectors from the state fire marshal's office inspected the Tilt-a-Whirl ride at the Coleman Brothers carnival in New Britain, CT on Monday. Carnival owners said that the curved, top piece of the ride, which is called the bonnet, fell off while the ride was moving on Sunday.

Read more from WFSB/Hartford.

Monday, April 9, 2007 3:14 PM
Slight correction here...

The WFSB story suggests that the part in question is the car-top, which contains the head pads and is really not a "decorative part" as it is described in the CoasterBuzz headline. That is actually a functional part of the ride.

The top of a Tilt-A-Whirl car is held in place with two fixed hooks at the front edge of the bonnet which fit through rings on the top of the car. At the back of the bonnet there is a snap-hook attached to a spring-loaded piece of wire which holds down the back of the bonnet. If that hook fails, it is possible for the bonnet to bounce up and down at the back edge, but it is unlikely to fall from the car because in order to come off of the car, the bonnet has to be folded forward almost a full 90 degrees to disengage the fixed hooks at the front of the bonnet. That doesn't mean that it *can't* swing forward on its own as a result of the ride action, and that's probably what happened here.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:29 AM
According to the article, the carnival has offered to pay "part" of the medical expenses. As long as the riders were not doing anything that may have caused the accident (which does not seem to be the case), shouldn't the owner/ operator be responsible for 100% of the costs?
Wednesday, April 11, 2007 2:16 PM
Not if they decided to get some plastic surgery while they were at it. ;)
Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:52 AM
In my opinion, the carnival should hold them responsible, to keep their rides safe for riders, if upon an ijury they should pay.
Thursday, April 12, 2007 2:39 PM
You have to be careful in stating what kind of medical payments any party is going to make in an instance like this one. If I remember correctly, in liability insurance, all coverage for bodily injury is "excess medical coverage", meaning it covers where other policies in force do not. It is semantically, legally, and functionally correct to say that the carnival and/or its insurer will pay for "part of" the medical expenses even if the part happens to be 100%. In fact, what will happen is that the medical expenses will be accrued, and the various parties with any interest in the case, including the patient's own health insurance (if any), insurers for the carnival, the event sponsor (if any), the property owner...whoever...will argue over the charges like a bunch of Scotsmen trying to decide who gets to pay for dinner ("Aye, methinks this one is yours..."). All of this takes place in a process which can get rather messy, but which the patient shouldn't need to concern himself with.

The point of the matter is, the people who got hurt will be treated and their treatments will be paid for. Neither they nor us need to know the details of who ultimately paid how much for what.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 4:47 PM
The Coleman's have been in the business for a long time. They are probably the oldest surviving show in New England now, having been on the road since the (as I recall) 1920's.
You don't stay in business that long by taking short cuts or putting your patrons at risk, believe me. Personally I think there might be more to this story than what is now known.

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