Just yesterday when I was talking with a friend of mine about roller coasters, he recounted an alarming tale about a rollercoaster experience when he was 16. I’m sure when he got on The Beast at Kings Island just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, he didn’t think that minutes later he’d be stuck near the top. While he told me this story he leaned back in his chair to show me the angle. Through my line of questioning I found out that:
- He was up there for 30 minutes.
- He got down by climbing out of the car and walking down the maintainence walkway, and
- He was scared.
“Imagine,” he said, still leaning back, “what it was like to climb out of the car.”
The reason the passengers had to climb down was because the operators were afraid to send the car backwards. They weren’t confident that it wouldn’t jump the track, and there wasn’t enough umph once the car stopped to get it to defy gravity and go up over the hump so it could go forward on the normal path around the tracks.
Just yesterday, about four hours after my conversation with my friend, at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky, there was a really gruesome, sad accident, but not on a roller coaster. A 13 year-old girl had her feet severed above the ankles on the Superman Tower of Power ride. This is the one that drops passengers straight down 157 feet. Here’s an account of it in a CNN article. I heard about it this morning on the radio and looked it up when I got home.
Regardless of the accidents, I still think that rides, for the most part, are safe if passengers are careful and obey the warnings and whatnot. I’m hoping to hop on a rollercoaster sometime this summer. I have never been fond of the kind that just drop you down. The photo is from the Web site RideAccidents.com that keeps track of amusement park accidents.