We love our thrill rides. Well, at least until they provide real-life thrills. These are the type of thrills that injure and kill. While amusement and theme park rides are advertised as “thrilling” and “fun,” often they prove deadly. Numerous amusement park deaths are caused by roller coaster crashes. Because there is no centralized reporting or investigative agency, most of the time the only investigation into the cause of a catastrophe is by the ride operator itself.
in 2011 there were 1200 amusement ride accidents in the U.S., with about 4% resulting in serious physical harm or death. A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported that between 1990 and 2010, 92,000 children were injured in amusement ride accidents.
This summer there have been examples of ride gone awry. Yesterday a power outage at Orlando’s Disney World stranded 120 passengers on the monorail who were stuck for hours in the un-air conditioned ride. http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/13/us/florida-disney-monorail-evacuated/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
Last month dozens were stuck on rides at San Diego’s SeaWorld after a power outage at that theme park. http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/29/us/san-diego-seaworld-ride/index.html
Last week four people were injured at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California when its Ninja roller coaster derailed and dangled 20 feet in the air. http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/07/us/california-six-flags-roller-coaster-accident/index.html
The litany of amusement ride tragedies was recently documented in a CNN opinion piece, “Death By Amusement: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/22/opinion/sutter-roller-coaster-regulation/index.html
Scenes like this show up during summer, when more amusement parks are open and kids are out of school:
Summertime is usually family fun time. But at many theme and amusement parks the emphasis is on making money vs. inspecting and maintaining rides. The consumer – often children – pay the price.