Iraq War veteran dies from roller coaster accident at Darien Lake

Buffalo-area theme park Darien Lake was the site of a tragedy on Friday when a man, former Iraq war vet Sgt. James Hackemer, died after falling from a roller coaster. Hackemer was a double leg amputee after losing his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq three years ago.

The accident happened on the twenty story tall roller coaster called Ride of Steel. It has large hills, banked curves, and speeds in excess of 70 mph. The roller coaster’s trains use a lap bar restraints (pictured here).

Hackemer’s nephew Ashton Luffred, who rode with him, shared his account of the horrible accident in a New York Post article. According to Luffred, Hackemer asked guest services which rides were safe for him to ride and he was told that he could ride all of them. Hackemer was ejected on one of the smaller camel back-shaped hills on the trip back to the station.

In statements to the press and on Darien Lake’s home page, the park says that they are investigating the accident with the local authorities and safety experts. The Ride of Steel roller coaster will remained closed until the investigation is complete while the rest of the park will be open.

[Photo Credit – Flickr User OliverN5]