Two kids suffer injuries on Six Flags Great America Tornado

Posted Monday, June 12, 2006 9:03 AM | Contributed by Brucey

Two children fell out of their raft in the Tornado at Six Flags Great America in north suburban Gurnee Wednesday. One of the children suffered a head injury and the other escaped with only a bump. Kids say that raft went "all the way to the top of the funnel" when they fell out.

Read more from WLS/Chicago.

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Monday, June 12, 2006 9:04 AM
I'm crying foul on this one... There is no way in hell the kids went any higher than the ride was designed for unless the laws of physics were temporarily suspended. If the kids fell out and got hurt, it's because they were screwing around or tried to get up.
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Monday, June 12, 2006 9:32 AM
I can see how two people could overturn the tube at the high end of the tube, but that's just because the tube's center of gravity can easily change if one or both riders move. The tube could not go all the way to the top -- the laws of physics get in the way.

It is interesting to compare this story to Absimillard's experience at another location, where the Tornado slides were only allowed to go when filled with exactly four people "to keep it 'safe' for weight and balance". http://coasterbuzz.com/forum.aspx?mode=thread&TopicID=44843

*** This post was edited by greatwhitenorth 6/12/2006 9:35:04 AM ***

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Monday, June 12, 2006 9:51 AM
There are poles near the top where water sprays down. I have personally been in a raft with three other people at PKI's Boomerang Bay at last year's Beastbuzz and our raft was literally only inches from those poles. It was freaky as I was at the top of the raft.

I wouldn't have thought it was possible to get that high, and obviously with those pipes in the way, no one would make it totally to the top of the funnel, but it makes me wonder if hitting one of the pipes could have attributed to the accident, or if it was simply kids not seated properly in the raft.

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Monday, June 12, 2006 9:54 AM
Perhaps they encountered a set of LIMs on the way down the chute.
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Monday, June 12, 2006 10:30 AM
You got remember Kids perception(sp) is already worse then an adults. Bring into play adrenaline and it seems even higher to them. Not saying they aren't crying foul just stating they could have gone high enough it seemed like they were at the top to a little kid. I do however agree they were kids and most likely screwing around trying to get it to do something it was not mean't to do.
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Monday, June 12, 2006 2:43 PM
If they were on one side of the raft, could the act of falling out of the tube have imparted an extra push to send the empty raft higher?

Either way, Tony's right about kids' perceptions.

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Monday, June 12, 2006 4:19 PM
I can kind of see how this could have happened. I honestly felt like I was going to fall out....but I held on. Now a kid? Maybe they weren't holding on tight if at all.
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Monday, June 12, 2006 8:44 PM
I wish this would happen to me! I've always wanted to be at the top of a Tornado.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 12:40 AM
I dont believe this. This is obviously the fault of the kids playing around. The raft wont even reach over halfway let alone with just 2 kids in it. I remember riding the Tornado at Hurricane Harbor in CA and all together me and my 3 friends totaled around 1000 lbs. I got pretty high but I couldnt fall out unless I tried to. Thats why I dont beleve their story at all.
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Friday, June 16, 2006 2:45 PM
You people have NO idea what happened to my daughter on this ride. She doesn't even remember she suffered loss of short term memory. She doesn't remember the entire day. Second no one ever said these kids went all the way around or all the way to the top! They went to far up the side and because of gravity they fell. They were to light....They were not screwing around they are 10 and 11. NOT 16....I am pissed that all of you will sit here and say what my child was doing. She has suffered enough and then you people have to blame this on her....Hell it couldn't be the parks fault right....NO not here in America....hell lets put the blame on the 10 and 11 year old child. Who cares that she has 28 stiches in her head, loss of short term memory and other medical problems from her fall...Hell lets not even worry about the fact that it took Great America over 25 min. to call 911. People disappoint me. They would rather blame my daughter then even think it may have been the ride...I wonder how any of you would feel if this had been a sister, mother, or friend of yours. It's really sad to see that you all are on the BIG Business side of it all.

MOM OF KEELY

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Friday, June 16, 2006 11:05 PM
^Wow, I am truely sorry about your daughter but there are somethings I have a question about:

Ive been on plenty of those rides and as a heavy person, I know for a fact that on those rides more weight=more height (trust me personal experience.) Its physics, you simply gain more energy with more mass so she may have went up high but she probably didnt get as high as most. What I guess is more likely is that when she hit the water trough at the bottom the bump jarred her grip on the tube loose and when the boat started to slow down at the top, she continued on and fell off (notice this does not make this any more her fault Im just trying to picture the accident.) My question is did you actually see the accident or did you here about it second hand? As to why, Im just curious I think these rides are a lot of fun but there have been trips on them when that bump at the bottom from the water trough (that is the way the ride breaks itself) has come close to knocking me off too.

Also I count one post that blames your daughter, please dont make blanket comments about a whole communitee based on one comment. What Im sure a lot of people feel is that there is proably no one at fault for this and this was simply an accident. There are warnings at enterances telling you that it is a strenous ride for a reason and no matter how well designed, there is allways going to be a risk involved in riding them. What I do question is what the park exactly did wrong and what is your motivation for sueing the park (ie how did they make this ride unsafe.) Its not that we are "big business" but you would not believe the things people sue parks for these days.

Did the park wait 25 mins to call 911 or did the ambulence not arrive for 25 mins (because if it was the latter that is sadly normal in this day and age.)

Once again, sorry for your loss.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 12:33 AM
You're right, we don't know what happened that day. So maybe you could give us some more detail. For example, why didn't you call 911 (or have someone do it for you if you don't have a cell phone) after the accident instead of waiting for the park to do it? If it were my kid, you bet I'd have made that call and not expect someone else to do it.

Please tell us what the park did wrong to cause your child's injury in the first place? There's no way it could have been an accident? (Of course not, not with "big business" involved) And why do you care what people on this site have to say anyway?

BTW, whoever used the term "screwing around" obviously meant misbehaving or doing something they shouldn't have been. From your post it seem like you think they meant something else. Yes, 10 and 11 year olds are plenty capable of misbehaving, whether you want to believe it or not.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 10:16 AM
I WAS THERE!

My daughter and I were in line to ride the Tornado at Six Flags Gurnee when the accident happened. One thing I did notice that day, was that they had alot of foreign students working ride admissions and life guard positions. I noticed that they were not making people adhere to rules (for instance, in the lazy river, people were swimming, when they're not supposed to be in there without a tube to float on).

When my daughter and I rode the Tornado the first time in the morning, we noticed that there were two types of rafts to choose from for the ride. I asked the morning attendant if there was a difference other than one was quite larger than the other. He told me the green ones (smaller) were for 2 people, and the gold ones were for 4 people to ride. So we took the green one and had no problem with the ride.

Later when we went to ride it again, we realized that there were no green rafts available to use. I asked the 2nd attendant if green ones were coming out soon, he shrugged and told me I could take a gold one (spoke with an accent and obviously didn't know the safety rules if he told me to take the larger raft for 2 people). That didn't seem right to me, so my daughter and I decided to wait till a green one became available. While we were waiting, a few more groups of two charged ahead of us, and took the gold rafts without being told by the attendant that there should be 4 people on those rafts. I was standing on one of the waiting stairways facing the large end of the Tornado when it happened, I heard the thud when it flipped, but didn't see it because someone else's raft was in my way.

Did the 2 girls this happened to have a green raft or a gold raft? If they took the gold raft, I could see why it might flip with only 2 people on it, as it is pretty large and heavy.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 12:42 PM
Why do we blame Six Flags....Illinois Department of Health informed us that the report filed stated when the company Pro Slide came to look at the ride they found the water pressure up to high. Also that the 2 man slides were to be eliminated because it is suppose to be a ride for 3 or 4 people via Pro Slide. If you look on Pro Slides website you will see that this is a "family" water slide. Now to answer the 911 question I was not there...my bestfriend however was and as she held my daughter bleeding in the water she screamed for them to call 911. It is park policy however to try to take care of the accident theirselves so they can transport the accident victim to the hosptial so they don't have to file with the state....My daughter was bleeding so badly that before she came out of the slide blood was coming out of the slide via witnesses. Also the boy with her DID get hurt. He suffered a concussion also. He is still freaked out about seeing this happen. Why does it have to be these kids faults???? Wow I just don't get why the injured party has to defend theirselves.

Keely's MOM

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 12:55 PM
Keely's Mom,

I hope you were not thinking I was placing blame on the kids with my post. I was asking if you or anyone knew which raft type they used because the attendant in charge at the time was not adhering to the rules for those rafts. He did not check on the group (2 or 4 persons) and make sure they had the proper rafts going up and that very well could have made a difference in regards to weight distribution in the rafts and the possibility of flipping over.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 1:17 PM
Karen,

No I was not thinking you were blaming my child. I believe you post helped me see what the attendent was doing or not doing and for that I thank you. I am just trying to make people understand that this just was not Dylan's or Keely's fault. They did what they were suppose to do and still got hurt. It happens. I am just hurt that others want to blame a child instead of thinking that perhaps it was the ride.

Keely's Mom

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 1:36 PM
^Keely's Mom, only a small minority is blaming your child, most of feel that this accident was no ones fault (that is after all the definition of an accident) none of these rides are perfect because its impossible for them to be just that.

As for the blood, head wounds tend to do that. Thankfully it appears that your child has no lasting brain injury (the memory loss would have continued either in a forward or backwards direction if it was perminent) so the loss of blood wasnt a problem in the long term (thankfully.)

As for the whole filing with the state thing, think about that for a second. How in the world was SFGAm going to cover this accident up by transporting your daughter to the hospital? That really makes no sense, what does make sense is that they know that ambulences take a long time to get to the park and if SFGAm feels that the wounded is in no immidiate danger they would simply transport them to the hospital to save time. However with your daughters continued loss of blood it was apparent to them that she needed an ambulence just in case. I know this may sound to you like a "big business" answer but think about it, why would it be in the park's best interest to keep their guests from dieing and being hurt.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 6:03 PM
I don't believe in lawsuits unless someone is disabled for life - with that said, but I do believe it is Six Flag's responsibility to pay all medical costs involved and possibly counseling if there are long term psychological problems stemming from the accident.

With that said, IF the ride attendants were not trained or operating the rides properly, then that is Six Flag's fault. I can verify, that the rides were not being attended properly on the ground level where we were. If the attendants did not properly advise riders on the proper rafts to use, or they were using rafts that were not supposed to be used on the ride, then it's not an accident, it is more a case of negligence.

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Monday, June 19, 2006 9:28 AM
Something still doesn't add up, and if your child was injured, I wonder what you were doing at the time that she wasn't immediately transported to the hospital. If my kid was bleeding like that, I wouldn't have waited for the park to take action.

Here's the thing... gravity is gravity the world over. I rode my second Tornado this weekend at PKI. Two things I take issue with:

1) Water pressure will not force your raft up higher in the side of the funnel. A water outlet just before the drop actually slows the raft (and tickles your bum), it doesn't make it faster. Furthermore, the water outlets inside the funnel are spraying down.

2) Because of the height of the drop, you can't possibly go higher than roughly the side of the funnel. That's just the way gravity works. When you bounce a ball, it can't bounce higher than the point you dropped it from. That's just physics, and the manufacturer and Six Flags can't get around physics.

So what can go wrong on the ride? As far as I'm concerned, only rider misbehavior can cause an accident. Not holding on, not sitting in the raft correctly, trying to get out of the raft, etc. I'm not trying to be insensitive here, because I don't want children to get hurt either, but I absolutely can't hold Six Flags or Proslide accountable on a device that, in my opinion, makes it impossible to get hurt unless you do something wrong.

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