UPDATED: Worker struck by Casino Pier's Star Jet, dies in hospital

Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 12:47 PM | Contributed by Headchopper

(Originally posted Monday, July 14, 2008 3:47 PM EDT) A ride operator was on life support after being struck by a roller coaster last night in Seaside Heights. The accident happened at the Star Jet ride at the Casino Pier. The employee, Stanislav Nikolaev Draganev, 21, hails from Tleven, Bulgaria, and was in the United States on a work visa. He was trying to retrieve a lost hat.

Read more from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

UPDATE: Jersey Shore University Medical Center confirmed today that the 21-year-old Bulgarian exchange student critically injured Sunday evening by a boardwalk roller-coaster car had died.

Read more from Asbusry Park Press.

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Monday, July 14, 2008 12:05 PM
My thoughts go out to the injured and his family.

From the article:
"He had a lot of friends, he was a good employee," she said.

A good employee would never enter the track area. I don't know what kind of rules this park has, but normally a mechanic is required to retrieve lost articles from any part of the track area.

Monday, July 14, 2008 12:13 PM
Jeff's avatar Low zone safety and tag out procedures are hardly a new concept, and yet this happens year after year. It's a total training failure.
Monday, July 14, 2008 12:25 PM
janfrederick's avatar I'd hate to be the owner of the hat. Yikes!
Monday, July 14, 2008 1:36 PM
It seems like lost hats have been an issue with every park I've visited lately. I'm sorry, but if you're ignorant enough to bring a hat on a coaster that speeds you through the air in excess of 40 MPH, you deserve to be without your hat when it blows off your head. I don't understand why other guests have to suffer while someone from the park shuts down the ride to look for such a trivial lost item. In this case, it's even worse because the employee died (regardless of whether or not he was following safety protocol).
Monday, July 14, 2008 2:25 PM
He didn't die...
Monday, July 14, 2008 2:35 PM
Sorry, my mistake. Still, he shouldn't have been injured in the name of hat retrieval, either.
Monday, July 14, 2008 2:42 PM
rollergator's avatar Certainly hope for the best...

Does bring up yet AGAIN the lack of training involved when teaching people to operate rides. Lock-out, tag-out...EVERY time. We go through this several times each year, and I'm afraid we've yet to meet the quota for '08.

Monday, July 14, 2008 4:18 PM
Even worse...

I rode the Star Jet a few weeks ago. The fence around the ride is portable carnival fencing, and I don't believe there is any fencing on the operator side of the platform. Most of the ride is up in the air, but there are a few spots that come pretty close to the pier decking.

The bad thing is that from the loading area...the ride dispatch point...the entire ride is easily visible. It would be trivial for the operator to LOOK across to the end of the pier and make sure the ride area is clear before dispatching a train. Absolutely trivial.

(Of course we don't know that the operator didn't do that and Mr. Draganev jumped down to the pier after the ride started. That's another issue.)

I've got a solution for this problem, though: Casino Pier should take a Sawzall to the pier decking and chop it all out so that the ride sits directly on the pier structure. Then if anybody loses a hat or anything else, it will end up in the ocean. I'll bet they could reduce the number of dropped hats that way...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, July 14, 2008 5:29 PM
ridemcoaster's avatar Ok.. Am I the only one in this world that understands the value of a hat VS my life?

Second accident this year involving ....a hat?

Do these said hats possess mystical powers beyond my knowledge that places such a high value to them? Honestly..

Monday, July 14, 2008 5:32 PM
Honestly. It's just a freakin' hat.

GET OVER IT! (And I don't mean the fencing around the ride)

Monday, July 14, 2008 5:33 PM
janfrederick's avatar Yes, you are the only one. ;)

Come on now. I'm sure if either of these people thought they'd be severely injured or dead, they would have hesitated. It's not a value call here...it's a judgement call. They had REALLY bad judgement. Had nothing to do with weighing life versus hat.

Monday, July 14, 2008 5:39 PM
ridemcoaster's avatar Well maybe then that was their first problem.. I certainly wouldn't cross interstate 95 (well except near DC since it doesn't move anyways) to retrieve a hat.. Why.. Its my life vs the value of a hat. I think it has everything to do with the value of one over another.

And personally I think the warning signs should thwart the "judgment call" argument.

But guess we all measure things differently.

Monday, July 14, 2008 5:48 PM
BullGuy's avatar This is unfortunate. Having said that, I've visited the Seaside Heights piers often, and even in my childhood I've felt slightly less than safe.
Monday, July 14, 2008 7:35 PM
I wonder if ride ops retrieve hats sucessfully enough on a daily basis, to think that they are immune to this, but still at least he didnt lose his life.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:39 AM
Im not sure if it is OSHA law or not but our company practice is that you have to turn off and lock out any dangerous area being worked on with machinery. Why aren't coasters considered machinery?.

Chuck, who thought the Star Jet was a cool ride and very seldom ridden at the prices they were charging 750 per ride.

Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:29 AM
Update: Stanislav Nikolaev Dragnev has died. :(
(link to Asbury Park Press article)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:21 AM
Aw, crap. That's just terrible. My condolences to his family.
Thursday, July 17, 2008 2:58 PM
rollergator's avatar Condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers. :(

The only good that COULD come out of all this - increased emphasis on safety procedures and proper training.

Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:37 PM
janfrederick's avatar Sounds like they need to make "Operator Ed" movies (not unlike Driver's Ed movies) to get ride operators to take things seriously. Then again, I recall safety being pounded into our heads when I was a ride op. No need for a movie, we had plenty of imagination.

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