Sunday, July 09, 2006
An Accident on the 'Son of Beast'
Got a call from my wife this afternoon telling me that while she was in line for the 'Son of Beast' ride, one of the best and fastest roller coasters in the world, the train returned into the station with several injured people. Apparently after the staff helped the injured off the train, they loaded the next train and sent another group of people on the ride, only to see that the next inbound train had even more injuries.
According to my wife, the ride staff repeatedly sent trains full of guinea pigs after they started receiving and off-loading injured passengers. At one point they informed the injured people getting off the ride to walk off of the platform and down the exit if they needed help so that the ride could continue operating.
One of the women had clearly broken some ribs while many others had neck and stomach problems from hitting the restraints, but the staff just kept sending train after train down the line while EMTs were struggling to listen to heartbeats and brace the victims.
King's Island, near Cincinnati, is one of the best amusement parks in the nation, so it's not surprising that Drudge linked the story to his site. Sadly the local news stations in the area are getting all of their information from the park, which is doing everything they can to downplay the incident. I have yet to see anything on the news about how poorly the injured were treated.
We've been faithful season pass holders to the park for 4 years, and 'Son of Beast' is, or was up until now, my favorite coaster in the nation. I feel terrible for the riders... or at least the first injured riders. I have no sympathy for the others that hopped in after seeing injured riders exit in front of them. They're just idiots.
Hopefully the park figures out what happened and, if they're to blame, makes amends with those that they hurt. If there's even a hint of a coverup they're going to lose a lot of business, including mine. They've already lost a faithful 'Son of Beast' fan.
I used to work on a vintage 1929 roller coaster years ago and I'm very familiar with wooden coasters, coaster safety, and how amusement parks deal with situations like this. This explains why I will be watching the park's actions closely to make sure they do this right.
I'd also hate to see a possible bone-headed mistake like this tarnish the image of these awesome rides. There's still no better ride than a wooden roller coaster.
posted by El Capitan at 9:22 PM