Worker dies at La Ronde, struck by roller coaster train

Posted Friday, July 6, 2012 9:55 PM | Contributed by DaveStroem

Police say a man was struck and killed by "The Vampire" roller-coaster car at Montreal's La Ronde amusement park. The worker "inappropriately" entered a restricted zone near the roller coaster around midday, according to an email statement issued by La Ronde's company parent Six Flags.

Read more from The Montreal Gazette and The CBC.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 1:07 PM

If memory serves me correctly, this is the third time someone has been struck and killed by a Batman model coaster. That's not a very good history.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 1:58 PM

I was wondering if it was a Batman model.

Well, it is sad for his family, but I just don't get how people are still getting killed like this.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 3:08 PM

Well if there are a lot of copies of the ride, it stands to reason that more people who choose to enter low zones will do so at a Batman ride.

I just find it staggering that this happens every other year or so.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 3:46 PM

My wife's suggestion: "Build future installations on stilts."

My suggestion was that people follow lockout/tagout procedures. 'cause you know, those are important and stuff.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 6:24 PM

Interesting to note that they said that it's entirely possible it was a suicide. In my experience, Ride Operators are trained on procedures regarding "low zones," so for this employee to go wandering into one during normal operation, there's quite probably some unpleasant back story.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 7:05 PM

The other thing about Batman models (in addition to there being, like 10 of them) is they have a lot more "accessible" by foot areas and low zones than a lot of other inverts. Nobody's going to get hit by Great Bear because it's low zones are almost all over water. Same with Alpie, but with wet forest.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Saturday, July 7, 2012 7:06 PM
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Saturday, July 7, 2012 7:51 PM

Wet forest? That sounds so...dirty.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 8:14 PM

sirloindude said:

Interesting to note that they said that it's entirely possible it was a suicide.

It's very sad but was thinking the same thing. Assuming the Six Flags lock out/tag out policy is company wide, the ride would need to be locked out for anyone to be in a low area. The low areas are in the second half of the ride and with the B&M roar, it's not like it would sneak up on you.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012 11:35 PM

If it was indeed a suicide attempt, it makes it all the worse. I feel bad for the worker's family, and I hope they are okay.

Wet forest DOES sound dirty. There is something wrong with us. *sigh*

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Sunday, July 8, 2012 2:48 AM

Why isn't there some safety system with these rides that prevents gates from even opening unless the ride is shut down and clear? A electromagnetic gate that can only be opened by someone in the control booth with a camera on who's coming in...

Also, if it was suicide, and if this were to have happened at a Cedar Fair park, would it mean that workers wouldn't be allowed to go into restricted areas alone? (see: No Single Riders on Ferris Wheels)

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Sunday, July 8, 2012 10:12 AM

Bird Of Prey01 said:

Why isn't there some safety system with these rides that prevents gates from even opening unless the ride is shut down and clear? A electromagnetic gate that can only be opened by someone in the control booth with a camera on who's coming in...

Generally safety precautions like that are in place for the general public. I'd imagine most (if not all) access points to the low-areas (apart from fence-jumping) would be located in employee-only restricted areas. At that point, I guess there's some level of responsibility the employee assumes of it's workers.

Without understanding the motive in this particular case, it's hard to really say if it would have helped at all.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012 10:27 AM

They're generally locked, and I would think that the only readily available keys would be at the controls, where you'd lock out the ride.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012 2:37 PM

Jeff, that may not be entirely true about the key situation. Granted this happened at a Six Flags park and a park in a different country for that matter. But, my cousin is in maintenance at MiA and he has keys for every external and internal gate at the park. He doesn't have that many keys so alot of locks must be duplicates to clear up confusion with having so many keys. He also says that every maintenace employee has the same group of keys, even the landscapers. But, that they still have to follow a lockout tagout procedure when entering anywhere near the rides path.

Either way, if it was a suicide I feel bad for the victims family.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012 3:30 PM

Regardless of the cause or motive, it's very sad.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012 10:24 PM

This could also be the fault of another employee. Maybe that person went down there for a specific reason, and the crew working the ride either thought that person was clear of the ride, or wasn't paying attention.

I was at Geauga Lake waiting in line for X-flight, when a ride operator did not wait for the "all clear" and sent a train out of the station with unsecured riders. You should have seen the yelling and screaming that came out of that! five crew members had to push the train by hand back to the station, and everyone had to exit the ride, so that they could reset it. The ride operator was of course removed from his position, and another guy on the platform took over. It was really scary, the cars were still in the upright position, with a full load of passengers! How could you miss something like that?!

I was also at Michigan's Adventure when a worker had to physically pull the corkscrew train into the station by hand, using a long pole. He instructed the girl at the controls to put on the brakes when he gave her the signal. Well, she didn't hear him, and the train nearly ran him over. Good thing it wasn't going very fast. He wasn't very happy, and she pretty much freaked out. He said there wasn't enough weight in the train for it to get out of the brake run, and they used the pole to bring it in by hand. I wouldn't do it.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012 11:24 PM

No. That's not the fault of anyone else. If you need to go into a low zone, you lock out the ride. I mean, in some places, you physically take the key with you.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012 4:07 AM

I actually thought it was that way in all cases. The rides I've worked on have had their low zone keys on the same key ring as the ride keys, meaning the only way to get into the low zone (without blatantly circumventing the proper procedures) is to turn the ride off and take the keys with you.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012 8:28 AM

My company often does work in facilities that require lock out tag out. We use hasps very similar to this:
http://www.northernsafety.com/photos/product/202082/400.jpg
Each employee has their own uniquely keyed lock, so that no other employee can remove it accidentally.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:55 AM

If this was a suicide, this case is not included in the following, but I have a question, or I'm confused by something:

How are these employees getting struck and killed by coasters? If you're working on a ride, I would logically assume there is something wrong with the ride where it is not operating. If the coaster is operating, why are the employees in a low zone or on the tracks or crossing over the tracks, etc.? What am I not getting? Or if you have to be in a certain area to visually observe the ride in action, why are you not standing in a designated area to observe? Are these people just dumb? Are they so used to the operations of the ride that they start to ignore safety precautions because they think they know where they can be and safely dodge an oncoming train? To me, it seems like the amusement world equivalent of playing in traffic. Anyone have experience working on ride maintenance that might have an explanation for this?

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