Woman dies after fall from ride at Pigeon Forge Rockin' Raceway

Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 8:17 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A Tennessee woman is dead after an accident Sunday afternoon on a Pigeon Forge amusement ride. Family friends of June Carol Alexander, 51, say she tried to get off the ride at the last minute when it started to move. The accident happened shortly after noon on a ride called "The Hawk" at the Rockin' Raceway, an amusement park on Pigeon Forge's popular parkway.

Read more from WATE/Knoxville.

Monday, March 15, 2004 8:21 AM
Jeff's avatar Is this a Zamperla Hawk? It looks like it from the little picture. If it is, I'm anxious to hear more precise details. I know at Kennywood it appeared they had problems with theirs constantly because the ride won't go if it "sees" an open restraint (and they were frequently closed when reporting open).

One thing that does bother me about that ride, which I really like otherwise, is the lack of redundant seat belts. Even though I understand the engineering of the hydraulic restraint, I'm not convinced that it can't fail. Dorney has one now, right? Did they add seat belts?

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Monday, March 15, 2004 9:21 AM
Thanks, Jeff...I couldn't remember if there were belts on that thing or not.

It IS a Zamperla Hawk, and the photo at flatrides.com is the actual ride on which the incident occurred.

Apart from a catastrophic mechanical failure, I can't think of any way an adult could come out of that ride. But then, it's been a while since I've ridden one.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, March 15, 2004 10:25 AM
Dorney does indeed have a Hawk, Meteor. It's a Hawk 48 like Kennywood's (dual arms), and yes, it has redundant seat belts.
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Monday, March 15, 2004 10:43 AM
john peck's avatar SeaBreeze also has a hawk, although it's a single boom. I don't think that one had belts last time I was on it.
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Monday, March 15, 2004 12:01 PM
rollergator's avatar ....still puzzled how the restraint could "unlock" after the ride was in motion....or how the ride could have gone in motion with an unlocked restraint.

As always, condolences to the friends and family....:(

I assume that if this isn't somethng readily *correctable and/or preventable* that ALL models will be getting seatbelts soon....

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Monday, March 15, 2004 2:44 PM
I have been to this place and would not have gotten on the Hawk to save my life...it just didn't seem like it was well maintained.
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Monday, March 15, 2004 4:01 PM
I have been to this place and would not have gotten on the Hawk to save my life...it just didn't seem like it was well maintained.

Thats what I was thinking when I was at this place this past summer.*** This post was edited by Vortex 3/15/2004 4:02:11 PM ***

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Monday, March 15, 2004 5:38 PM
The prototype Hawk 48 is at SFMW under the name Hammerhead Shark. It was closed for almost the whole season, only operating in March, April and May. I've never felt unsafe on them, and the restraints get really, really tight. They are not hydraulic restraints, but more mechanical (sounds like gears while they lower and raise.) Still I don't see how it could fail, and it's a shock to me that she would be able to get out. I often ride on the end and don't hold on, and there's no way I'd be able to get out, and I weigh 120lbs.

Sorry about that Jeff, I think the general idea got across. :)*** This post was edited by GoliathKills 3/15/2004 11:08:01 PM ***

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Monday, March 15, 2004 8:02 PM
Jeff's avatar Spell it with me... H-Y-D-R-A-U-L-I-C

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Monday, March 15, 2004 8:57 PM
Rollergator,I would be suspecious of somebody shunting the interlocks out. The computor sees a false all clear and allows the ride to run. This is the unfortunate result.
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Monday, March 15, 2004 11:18 PM
Looking at the photo of the ride in question it looks to have the same automatic harness system used on the roto-shake.When you first board the ride the op's ask you to keep your arms up & don't pull on the restraint while it's being lowered & locked otherwise the whole thing has to be reset & locked again.If the ride was properly locked & checked there should be no reason why anyone should just fall out....it looks like I might be staying off of Iron Eagle at SFA for a while,atleast until they determine that it wasn't a design flaw with the Hawk ride itself.
*** This post was edited by BATWING FAN SFA 3/15/2004 11:20:21 PM ***
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Tuesday, March 16, 2004 1:02 AM
BFSFA, has it right. These aren't the standard issue restraints that come with the park version, but the restraints as seen on the Rotoshake and the Mixer from the picture. Not that it'll make you feel any safer Jeff, but the KMG rides don't have backup seatbelts either, and that includes the Chance/Morgan Revolution park production model of the Afterburner. LIke the Hawk park version, they rely on lights to show if a restraint/section is locked. I can't for the life of me figure out how she got out. I guess we'll leave that up to the investigators.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2004 7:40 AM
Jeff's avatar I saw some video of the ride, and you're right, it does not have the same restraints that Kennywood's (and presumably Dorney's) has. It appeared to have the pins on the side similar to those on the Vekoma and B&M flyers.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2004 5:27 PM
A few thoughts that haven't been mentioned:

1) Is it possible that the woman was trying to get out before the ride started because she realized her restraint wasn't locked?

2) Alternately, did it look like she was trying to get out because the ride moved her around with an unlocked restraint?

3) If the woman was trying to get out, a seat belt would have been irrelevant since she would have released it.

Hopefully we'll get a good investigation that will answer all of our questions.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004 9:16 PM
The problem with that theory is that the ride won't start if any restraints are unlocked & if she did "get out" while the restraints were in the process of being locked then she would not have ended up dead in the first place because the load platform is at ground level.

I've been on Iron Eagle enough times to know & have seen that if the restraints are not locked then the computer will detect it & then the op has to come out & open them up & start the auto-lock procedure all over again...remember how they always tell you to put your arms up & to the side & not to pull on the harness while it comes down or it won't lock properly?

In a way I suspect that the restraint on that seat simply failed...this woman was older (51) & most likely wouldn't panic & decide to jump out just as the ride was starting like a much younger person might be prone to doing...even if there was a problem like that I'm sure she would've probably at least tried to get the operator's attention to inform him/her that her seat wasn't locked or that she wanted to get off the ride....that's what I sometimes do if I think my restraint is too loose.

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Thursday, March 18, 2004 1:42 AM
how it's possible to get out of this harness? We have the same ride in our park and it's true that the ride won't start if any restraint are unlocked. there are two locking systeme to lock the harness: one with the electromagnet and one with the electrovalves on the seat bloc cylinder. 1 thing: when Zamperla sold that ride, the seatbelts come in option. I bealive now they have no choice and they will put safetybelts automaticly for the safety of everybody.

safety first.

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Thursday, March 18, 2004 1:43 PM
I guess we'll be seeing lap belts added to the roto-shakes as well.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2004 11:32 PM
Their is a a good close up pic of the The Hawk at
http://chaserl.com/hawk/
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