Wisconsin won't investigate failed catapult ride at Mt. Olympus

Posted Thursday, July 30, 2015 9:46 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

A state agency is not investigating an incident earlier this month involving a Wisconsin Dells thrill ride that had a mechanical failure captured on video just seconds before it was supposed to launch two people through the air. The Catapult ride at Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park had past safety inspection violations. But the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services only investigates accidents that involve injury or death.

Read more from The Wisconsin State Journal.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015 9:59 AM

On Wisconsin.

It really is the Wild West in terms of insurance and regulation. I'll never forget Martha (RIP) explaining to us how it went down when she rented a car there. We're all used to the (seemingly) dozens of insurance coverages they try to sign you up for....in WI, it was like "here's the keys, don't get hurt." The in-park signs disclaiming liability for injuries on their rides...classic!

Thursday, July 30, 2015 11:10 AM

Actually in most states all they would have to do is to report the component failure. The only time there would be an investigation is if there were severe injury or death involved. As I recall, there are two certified ride inspectors in WI and they cover all amusement rides in the state, traveling and permanent.

Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:28 PM

IT was pure luck that no one was hurt in this equipment failure incident. The rider has to take some responsibility for thier own safety.

Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:41 PM

At what point of the random cable snap were the riders responsible for it failing?

Thursday, July 30, 2015 7:59 PM

What would the state actually investigate since the park dismantled the attraction immediately after the incident?

Friday, July 31, 2015 6:26 AM

Invy, I wasn't talking about this one incident but overall. You can't go into the park and leave personal responsibilty at the gate.

Friday, July 31, 2015 12:31 PM

The fact that The rider has to take some responsibility for [their] own safety immediately followed [it] was pure luck that no one was hurt in this equipment failure incident, and both sentences were the only two thoughts typed in your response, makes it difficult to infer anything other than "this particular rider has to take some responsibility for their own safety in this particular equipment failure incident."

Besides, while I agree people should be responsible in part for their own safety at amusement parks, I'm not sure what that has to do with anything about this particular subject or this thread.

Last edited by Vater, Friday, July 31, 2015 12:33 PM
Friday, July 31, 2015 4:09 PM

It's actually pretty interesting, after thinking about it. It seems like there is, and needs to be, some sort of "acceptability" in terms of what should be investigated, and what shouldn't. For example, if one of the lights on this slingshot ride was defective and didn't work, I don't think anyone would bat an eye. Granted in this case, it's the primary mechanism of the ride that's failing, and could've very easily resulted in a serious injury. I think where the line of acceptance is drawn is up for question, but no doubt in my mind that this should probably be looked at pretty closely.

Friday, July 31, 2015 4:25 PM

Cheers Vater, that's exactly how I read the post and couldn't figure out the relevance to this event.

On the point of not leaving personal responsibility at the gate, to an extent, yes - that's true. On the other hand though, if you enter a park, follow all the posted guidelines and adhere to the ride op's instructions, wouldn't that imply that you can leave personal responsibility at the gate in return for the 'people who know better' taking on that responsibility for you? Just a question that occurred to me earlier...

Friday, July 31, 2015 5:18 PM

Well put, Vater. Screamlord's post left me confused. (Which, actually, is not an unusual reaction to one of his(?) posts.)

I don't think you can ever leave personal responsibility at the gate; you can't trust the park staff are performing their jobs properly, or enforcing the posted rules.

Friday, July 31, 2015 6:01 PM

I totally understand and agree and I'm not trying to argue a point here. I'm thinking of this from the frame of mind of this 'no rider fault' incident and others over the past several years (the Alton Towers collision being the most obvious and recent one).

At some point it seems to be that there is a line that has to be crossed (which is part of the thrill in the first place) - if you follow the rules and recommendations for whatever ride, once that restraint closes and you're on your way you don't really have any personal responsibility left to bargain with and your ride (and life) is, literally, in the hands of those with the (for want of a better word) *implied* experience and knowledge to get you back to the station in one piece and unharmed. And of course, the expectation that the ride system won't incur a fault for whatever reason during that ride.

Sorry, that all seems a bit wordy but it did get me pondering on how we all perceive and react to handing over control of our 'fate,' so to speak. Be interesting to see how different people approach the same scenario...

Friday, July 31, 2015 6:24 PM

slithernoggin said:

you can't trust the park staff are performing their jobs properly

Wait, what? Maybe since we've all been to parks multiple times a year, we see things that should probably be done a different way, but for 99.999% of the patrons, how does this sentence make any sense?

Friday, July 31, 2015 6:31 PM

I hope I didn't sound argumentative.

Yes: once you're strapped in and the ride vehicle is in motion, what happens is out of your control.

If I'm walking down the midway focused not on where I'm going but on staring at my smartphone, letting all my Facebook friends know that I'm walking down the midway feeling happy, and I plow into a pregnant woman and knock her down, that's my fault.

Which was in my brain while I was typing, but didn't make it to the screen. :-)

Friday, July 31, 2015 7:04 PM

No, I didn't take it as argumentative. I just didn't get what you meant.

Friday, July 31, 2015 7:10 PM

Sorry. Sometimes I self-edit too aggressively.

Friday, July 31, 2015 10:58 PM

If this kid would have been injured, or worse, I bet the State would be investigating.

Saturday, August 1, 2015 1:06 AM

Ah, isn't that what it says at the top of the thread?

Sunday, August 2, 2015 2:59 PM

I have a question - what would have happened if the ride had launched? Has there been an instance of that occurring somewhere?

I am just wondering if there is some sort of additional safety protection in this case, or if the ride automatically became inoperative (such as a counterweight causing the other side springs to release tension) when the one side snapped it's cable.

I have only seen a few of these in operation (doesn't Kings Island have one?) and am just wondering how bad it would have been if it had happened (as I don't recall any ride like this failing similarly during launch).

Sunday, August 2, 2015 3:09 PM

Might have looked like this:



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