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Amusement parks are places of thrills and adventure, but sometimes things just don’t go right and accidents happen. Occasionally, people lose their lives in what are supposed to be happy, fun places.
Fire in the Hole
Silver Dollar City is located in Branson, Missouri, and one of its most popular rides is an indoor roller coaster called Fire in the Hole. In 1980, a worker mistakenly sent a train on a maintenance track — instead of the train being empty, there were still guests aboard. A young man was killed when his head struck a low structure in the storage area. It was deemed operator error and the ride reopened a couple days later.
At Six Flags Great Adventure, located in New Jersey, a 20-year-old employee fell to his death while conducting a test run of the Rolling Thunder roller coaster. An investigation revealed that the employee may not have used the safety restraints as required, which contributed to his death. The ride was inspected, deemed mechanically sound and remained open until its closure in 2013.
In 1984, a 46-year-old woman fell to her death while riding a stand-up roller coaster called the Rail Blazer at Six Flags St. Louis. While park officials claimed the woman had fainted, which caused her to collapse and led to her death, her husband who was beside her on the ride said that was untrue and she had been flung off the coaster. After this incident, it was converted to a traditional, sit-down coaster.
In Bell’s Amusement Park, located in Oklahoma, a roller coaster known as the Wildcat had a massive malfunction in 1997. As a train was being pulled up a lift hill, the parts holding it onto the track failed, sending it backward, directly into a collision with another train. A 14-year-old boy was killed in the crash and several others were injured. The Wildcat was eventually disassembled and sent to another facility, where it operated under a different name for about a year.
At Action Park in New Jersey, which is also famous for tons of non-fatal injuries, a 27-year-old man got out of his kayak after it tipped on the Kayak Experience ride, intending to right it. He unfortunately came into contact with an electric current that sent him into cardiac arrest, and he died at a nearby hospital. While the park wasn’t found to be at fault, the ride was closed and never reopened.