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(Dallas News)   Six Flags at Half Staff Over Texas   (dallasnews.com) divider line 72
    More: Sad, Texas Giant, safety harnesses, Six Flags  
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14240 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Jul 2013 at 12:08 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2013-07-20 01:04:08 AM
8 votes:
A sad thing about this, among many, is that the kids that check them before the ride starts may very well be feeling responsible for the whole deal.  As has been said, there are multiple checks put in place, and to pin it on this one kid is a shiatty thing to do.  He or she will probably need some counseling.

Human nature has us wanting to blame / place negligence somewhere.  A few from this thread:
- The person riding (too fat!)
- the kid who was supposed to check to ensure the riders were secure (too young, he/she is to blame!)
- the engineers of the ride (you need to see a chiropractor afterwords, it is too rough a ride!)
- etc

Maybe some of these are valid, or more than likely, there are multiple failures in the system.  Another possibliity is that all precautions truly were taken and the damn thing just broke. (A gear slipped that wouldn't have been caught even on a deep inspection, for example).  Amusement park rides are risky, but it  usually controlled risk.  But you can't remove risk from it entirely; too many variables.  Or you can go the Wargames route: the only winning move is not to play.

Regardless, there is a kid that is going to have to get to sleep tonight after seeing her mother fall to her death.  That is the really shiatty thing. And we may never get a satisfactory explanation.  I hope we do, at least for that kids sake, though.
2013-07-20 07:23:43 PM
4 votes:

FriarReb98: Silly open question (because this thread is solidly in TL:DR territory): Aren't there weight restrictions on rides like this? Because I'd be shocked if she didn't overstep it by a few dozen Big Macs or so. Not to mention, I don't care how much fun a ride is, or how many times you have to ask, I'd NEVER go on a ride if the safety equipment didn't work right on me.

If I had to apply my Fark Lawyer GED on this one, I'm guessing the family won't get much if they push back against whatever settlement Six Flags gives, because it sounds like she's at fault if there's a weight limit, and they're at fault due to the whole seatbelt issue, so possible wash.

\either way, this does in fact suck royally for all involved
\\and before you say I'm weight biased, before my diet, I barely fit into the roller coasters at Universal Studios Florida
\\\one of the many reasons I went on said diet
\getting there slowly but surely


I'm a retired ride-op (we do not quit or become 'former,' we 'retire,' and there is a ceremony involving a Solo cup, the beverage of one's choice and a seat on the ride one worked after-hours,) and I am acquainted with several professional safety engineers and OSHA-type people.

My guess is that the fault is about 33/33/34 here.

First, the manufacturer of the ride should have equipped the proximity sensor to read the lock status of the lap bar and potentially halt the Clear if a harness was in any way questionable. That's been standard on certain Intamin and Bollinger & Mabillard 'coasters since the late Eighties. Even Arrow Dynamics had that technology. So one-third blame to them. Even if the original track was not so equipped, it is a matter of adding quite literally $16 worth of extremely basic electronics (I am assuming wholesale prices and in-house installation,) to an existing seat, between three and twelve additional magnetic sensors at an approximate cost of $50-100 apiece and a single additional panel for Control with perhaps LED warning lights. Worst case scenario, five grand per train. For perspective, the park at which I worked cleared that figure on parking fees alone before lunch break. So that was neglectful, given the state of the industry. One-third blame.

Second, the rider almost certainly had an opportunity to try the seat before getting in line and evaluate its' ability to latch securely. One thing I'll say for Six Flags, they do tend to keep a seat at the head of the line for tests of this kind. She also could have refused to ride if the seat's looseness frightened her, asked the ride-ops if one row of seats is larger (many American 'coasters have one or two larger seats in a given train, not just for corpulent people but extremely muscular and tall gentlemen of the NFL linebacker variety, or, you know, SAID to a ride-op 'will this seat fit me?' if there was doubt.

Within the park at which I worked, we had special sensitivity and tact training for specially checking a larger guest, we kept some 'consolations' on hand for when a guest of larger size or smaller height could not ride (under Fearless Leader's command, for example, we gave them the privilege of giving the countdown over the loudspeaker and pressing the 'Go' button at Control, as well as a photograph with the on-duty team if they had a camera and wanted one,) and we generally worked very hard to make exceptionally short or round people's visits a memorable and kind one even if our equipment could not safely accommodate them.

We even knew to adjust the greeting just slightly for exceptional guests at Entrance: "Glad to have you with us! Is this your first time on this ride today? Really, no? Well, our seats were changed recently, and if you'd like to try one out for comfort, you're welcome to help yourself to a sneak preview in our test seat her! They're a little snug on me. [This was said regardless of ride-op's size, and the big 'coasters did not employ people who were what one'd call slight of build, given the demands of the work,] So you might want to check and make sure it's to your liking." Note the tone. It was like we were offering them a taste of some wine we feared might be corked, and if the ride couldn't accommodate them, we behaved like self-hating sommeliers.

There are fat people and short people who do become ride-ops. (They do not tend to stay fat long, but that's the job for you.) They know how the riders feel. The best part of our day is when the train comes back and people cheer for the coaster and for our ride-op team. It broke my heart when riders of exceptional height or size could not enjoy our coaster, and we kept seat measurement charts of every ride in the park and would give them a line-skip note with the proper stamp for any other ride they loved and knew they could ride if it meant they weren't sad anymore. We really tried, from Entrance to Height-Check to Train to Control, and for a guest to ignore the people working there when we might have helped is what has made this story so sad for me. My team would never have let this happen. Never.

So that's a third of the blame for the rider. It's sad, but we're there to help, and she could have asked.

And the final, slightly one-percent-worse bit of blame goes to Corporate. They not only didn't train the ride-ops to intervene with tact and grace, they didn't equip the coaster with restraint-check passive safety sensors or a Clear lockout in case of unlocked or questionable harness and they didn't insist on a policy that put safety first, even at the risk  of a guest's feelings. The tact and poise my team employed was standard throughout the park, and we were regularly secret-shopped by exceptionals to make sure we would never put a guest in harm's way.

They could have saved this woman. Maybe at the expense of a ride missed out on, maybe at the expense of some dignity and/or a frivolous 'I'm offended because the ride didn't fit me' lawsuit, but they could have saved her. The siren song of the rollercoaster is not something everyone can resist, no matter what their size, and as guardians of the rolling wind, they had a moral duty to try their best.

And they farked it up.

Tonight ride-ops all over America shall raise a silent glass to the love the lost lady had for our art, and then drink deeply of the shame which has fallen upon our industry. My Texan brothers and sisters might even pour out a Gatorade for the fallen and for the ride-ops who personally failed the Belt and the Bar, the Hand and the Sign.

Blood is upon the tracks. It can only be purged with shrieking.
HBK
2013-07-20 12:31:15 AM
4 votes:

fusillade762: Oldiron_79: Only clicked once? I'm gonna guess obese passenger.

Yeah, I was gonna guess "fat", too. But either way, they let her ride anyway. You can bet that's going to be a lawsuit.


CSB time:

I was drinking in an airport bar when I chatted up a guy who was a "seatbelt expert." His job was to evaluate seatbelts post-crash and offer expert testimony for lawsuits alleging products liability following car crashes. He had all sorts of engineering degrees and whatnot.

He said that when extremely obese people get into car crashes, their bodies are most likely to be flung from the wreck. To which I replied- "but they're heavier, you'd think their weight, plus the fact that the seatbelt has to be tighter against them and even have more surface area- I'd think they'd be harder to fling from a wrecked vehicle." I'm not a scientist, physicist, or engineer.

He explained to me that when there's a wreck (or I surmise in the case of six flags, a sharp turn or change in g-forces, or whatever), fat people's bodies go all - for lack of a better term, jello-ey. The effect is that they more easily slip from restraints. because they slip through them, I guess like that Senator from the first X-Men movie.

So I'd imagine that one click + obese = flinging bodies from roller coasters. But again, I'm no scientist. And America's so fat, you'd figure that if my hypothesis was correct they'd have to close down Mall of America.
2013-07-20 09:51:04 PM
3 votes:

SpiderQueenDemon: FriarReb98: Silly open question (because this thread is solidly in TL:DR territory): Aren't there weight restrictions on rides like this? Because I'd be shocked if she didn't overstep it by a few dozen Big Macs or so. Not to mention, I don't care how much fun a ride is, or how many times you have to ask, I'd NEVER go on a ride if the safety equipment didn't work right on me.

If I had to apply my Fark Lawyer GED on this one, I'm guessing the family won't get much if they push back against whatever settlement Six Flags gives, because it sounds like she's at fault if there's a weight limit, and they're at fault due to the whole seatbelt issue, so possible wash.

\either way, this does in fact suck royally for all involved
\\and before you say I'm weight biased, before my diet, I barely fit into the roller coasters at Universal Studios Florida
\\\one of the many reasons I went on said diet
\getting there slowly but surely

I'm a retired ride-op (we do not quit or become 'former,' we 'retire,' and there is a ceremony involving a Solo cup, the beverage of one's choice and a seat on the ride one worked after-hours,) and I am acquainted with several professional safety engineers and OSHA-type people.

My guess is that the fault is about 33/33/34 here.

First, the manufacturer of the ride should have equipped the proximity sensor to read the lock status of the lap bar and potentially halt the Clear if a harness was in any way questionable. That's been standard on certain Intamin and Bollinger & Mabillard 'coasters since the late Eighties. Even Arrow Dynamics had that technology. So one-third blame to them. Even if the original track was not so equipped, it is a matter of adding quite literally $16 worth of extremely basic electronics (I am assuming wholesale prices and in-house installation,) to an existing seat, between three and twelve additional magnetic sensors at an approximate cost of $50-100 apiece and a single additional panel for Control with perhaps LED warning li ...



You should write a book about this shiat.  I'm totally enjoying your posts.
2013-07-20 06:24:06 AM
3 votes:

The All-Powerful Atheismo: your Team Leader ruined peoples' lives. By allowing him to live, he:

A. Prolonged this guy's suffering
B. Prolonged his family's suffering as they have to deal with him
C. Deprived the other guests of an awesome front row view


We actually discussed that one night after shift. Thing is, the way our coaster was laid out, he'd probably have been thrown from the crest of the second hill, which is just above where the track crosses back in a few seconds. So the train would not only have killed him, but struck his body and potentially injured the other guests. If he hit enough supports on the way down, he could've even landed in the front row's laps. So we had to stop him to protect others.

Now, the steel coaster at the other end of the park? That would've been no big deal. He'd land harmlessly in a water feature, maybe inconvenience the filters a bit. Worst-case scenario, he'd scar some kid guest for life with the memory, though knowing the park's PR team, it would've been okay.

There was significant gallows humor in that workplace. Lady tried to sneak her late husband's ashes on to scatter on the coaster, we just got her a hard hat and took her down to a safe place by the base of the lift hill, said a little prayer, poured out a Gatorade for the fallen, then brought her up to the platform and gave her a front-row seat. We weren't monsters, and it was better to give her the same special VIP tour the American Coaster Enthusiast people got and let her sprinkle the ashes safely than risk some other guest getting wicked corpse-ity pinkeye.

And what Corporate didn't know, never hurt them. There are very few amusement parks that don't have cremated people's remains scattered about them or Suicidal Guest Protocols in place. I myself have the coaster I'd like to be sprinkled beneath picked out already.
2013-07-20 04:11:37 AM
3 votes:
I was once a ride-op on a wooden coaster at one point in my misspent youth. This was at a much nicer park than any of the Six Flags, if I do say so myself. Our Standard Operating Procedure was to check belts and bars TWICE, once down the train for belts and once up the train for bars, and we'd go back and triple-check the restraint if a guest seemed scared.

This was for three reasons:
1. Even if it was nothing, taking the time to check it, give them a smile and reassure them made our team, and by extension the coaster, the park, young college kids in general, look awesome, and it helped our survey numbers.

2. A scared guest could be scared for several reasons, up to and including 'foreign person who was completely unfamiliar with seatbelts' or 'little kid who should be given a line pass so he can go and pee BEFORE riding.'

3. Our Team Leader had once spotted a 'scared' guest who had come alone, undone his belt and used his knee to prop the bar up when it locked. TL caught this from the guy's facial expression alone, refused the 'clear' and signed to the team from Control to third-check him. The extra "you okay there, buddy?" caused the guest to first panic, then burst into sobs. Turned out the poor guest was suicidal, deep in debt, and his plan had been to kill himself on a coaster so his family would get a settlement from the park.

This happened on a surprisingly regular basis. We got about three Suicidals a season on our ride alone and there was coaster-sign for it.

There was a reason why we called our TL 'Fearless Leader.' He had this remarkable gut ability to sense a problem before it happened, bring it to our attention with coaster-sign and head it off before something quirky became a whole can of worms. I saw him catch a kid guest who was about to puke, two different suicidals, an epileptic in moments-to-seizure mode and like five Chessmen a week. Great guy, looked after every member of his team like we were his own siblings. We would've done anything he asked and nobody could say a word against him in our hearing.

Working at an amusement park may sound fun and all, but it's quite Serious Business. Some people come back from the experience changed for life.
2013-07-20 12:37:24 AM
3 votes:

Oldiron_79: Only clicked once? I'm gonna guess obese passenger.


My thought as well.  I'm a one-clicker on some rides, myself.  But one click should be fine.  Locked is locked.  Even if you're five clicks deep, if the mechanism breaks, it's broke.  It's not like there are 5 independent locking mechanisms, each stronger than the one before.
2013-07-20 12:33:13 AM
3 votes:

gweilo8888: HempHead: Six Flags just emerged from bankruptcy...not a lot of cash in that company.

...which is why he'll soon be the owner of a Six Flags.


Yeah that girl that head her legs ripped the fark off pretty much broke them, this will be the last nail in the coffin.
2013-07-20 12:16:16 AM
3 votes:
and i'm really shocked that 16 year old minimum wage workers might not be the best people to trust with my life?
2013-07-20 10:23:12 PM
2 votes:
Hats off to SpiderQueenDemon for MAKING this thread.  I was never so lucky to be a ride-op, but have always been curious about what it might have been like.  Thanks for sharing.

/go, bang zoom, to the moon
2013-07-20 09:18:53 PM
2 votes:

Confabulat: about time this got greenlit. I'm fascinated by this stuff. I want more info and now I have to go bike to the liquor store. Rats.


I'm kind of ashamed of it, but I'm fascinated too. As a frequent visitor of Disneyland in my childhood, this article in particular had me glued.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incidents_at_Disneyland_Resort
2013-07-20 04:46:27 PM
2 votes:

Great Porn Dragon: Have heard of 'stapling', had rather a pervier idea of what "King" or "Queen" meant (people trying to do the naughty on the coaster, hehe), but thanks for the clarification--sounds like work was quite the adventure (and not quite the horror stories I've heard from the occasional ex-Disney Cast Member, hehe).


People trying to mate on the coaster was called a 'Jane Goodall,' and luckily we didn't see many, because our belt-and-bar system and the aggressive wooden-coaster thing made it kind of hard. But there was one steel coaster I shall not name upon which the ride-ops swore a lady got pregnant while B train was at Safety Twos for a long load time on A train. It may have just been a legend, but there were those who claimed to have met the kid and gotten free donuts from the happy couple whose infertility issues were magically solved.

And Disney Cast Members were like the Air Force to our Navy. There was a mild, kind of inter-service rivalry, but at the end of the day, any Disney kids we knew had fought the same battles, been through the same hardships and we all get along. Our costumed characters had an easier time, for sure, but we almost certainly cleaned up more puke.

Six Flags, conversely, we regarded as kind of like the Mayberry Police Department to our Navy, not even competition. There was some active contempt there, especially after a certain high-profile accident on a ride that we had one of with no problems whatsoever. There were some downright obscene jokes about Six Flags ride-ops, and some that were just so difficult to explain with coaster jargon and specific scorn of various rides with which ours competed that they really don't translate outside the ride-op community. It was frequently implied that our Corporate might have kept a goat for immoral purposes, but only Six Flags managed to deduct the poor creatures as an entertainment expense.

And carnie folk, who worked on rides that moved around the country and stuff, were like the Untouchables in India. We would snub them in the streets if we met them. Claim to have worked on 'a ride like this,' especially to the op of a 'circular' ride, and be prepared for the "Where?" to be as sharp and urgent as an inquiry into "You did WHAT with the third-graders' pet hamster?"
2013-07-20 04:34:10 PM
2 votes:

Oldiron_79: I wish they would do something like this(give me a skip line ticket for another ride) when I wait through like an hour long ride only to find out my shoulders are like 8" too high for the shoulder bar to go over. Its nice when they have a sample seat out around where the line starts where I can test before I wait in line.


We had a couple of awesome regulars who were wheelchair users and season-pass holders. One time, a guy waited through our murderbeast of a line and was just a hair too pudgy for the lap bar, and our blessed rolling regulars said "Dude, don't take it out on the ride people, they didn't build the thing. What's a ride you can ride, come with us and they'll let you skip the line." We always let them ride for as long as they bloody well pleased after that. It was a kind and generous gesture from two wonderful human beings and I have never forgotten it.

So yeah, the secret to endless line-skips is to befriend a 'chair-user. I have a dear 'chair-using cousin who hasn't paid admission to an amusement park since the Clinton administration, friends and relations just keep treating her to avail themselves of what she calls the Royal Gimpy Prerogative.
2013-07-20 01:34:38 PM
2 votes:
SpiderQueenDemon, as a former FreezeFrame (Ride photo) mook, I envy you now.  You had a job that was rather cool.

I was stuck trying to sell parents slightly blurry photos of their kids screaming in terror from the ride, dealing with jerks who pissed that they couldn't get a print of themselves flipping off the camera, and old folks who couldn't accept that a picture was so damn expensive at $6.99, but would blindly shell out 6 bucks for a plain cheeseburger in the park.

About the only thing that made my last season cool was the foreign exchange girls flirting innocently with me in those beautiful Eastern European accents, and the look of their enchanting almond-shaped eyes.  If only I had the ability to properly flirt back instead of being the awkward nerd I was....
2013-07-20 01:16:18 PM
2 votes:
Also, if you're ever on a roller-coaster and feel like your belt-and-bar or whatever restraints are in use aren't right, raise a fist high above your head and grip the wrist below it tightly with your other hand. That's universal coaster-sign for 'Hold!' and it means 'Stop NOW.' Even if a guest does it, if the park is worth its' salt, that will stop the train. It is not to be used lightly.

Once stopped, keep the fist up and point to your restraint with your gripping hand. It will be checked for you.

If you are questioned, just say the name of a different park and a year that corresponds with when you were approximately 20. You will be mistaken for a brother ride-op and some teams will grant you privileges, such as staying on for an extra ride if the line will allow or Corporate isn't sniffing around. Note: do not mention a park that is owned by the same parent company, or you may be required to perform the handshake (there's a handshake,) and don't mention a nearby, rival park or act like a dick, otherwise you are just asking to be stapled like laser-printer puke.

Unless, you know, you like that sort of thing. And some people do.
2013-07-20 09:24:06 AM
2 votes:
I worked at this park back when the lady drowned on the roaring rapids ride in 99.  I was working as ride photo for the Texas Giant.

I have not ridden the Giant since the redesign, but I know that before the redesign all you needed was a ratcheting lap-bar.  Even some hydraulic restraints have a fake ratchet for the sound, so the guests can be 'reassured' that the restraint is secure.

It did not take long to secure the bars, two team members could roll down the line, shove the bars down, yank them back to make sure they're locked, and even with a few abnormal guests that need a second look they could have the train ready to roll in 30 seconds to a minute.

I highly doubt the redesign made the restraints too much different or harder to work.  I think this was a moment of carelessness by the employee.
2013-07-20 09:17:13 AM
2 votes:
Well, SpiderQueenDemon has become the most interesting poster in this thread. :)

GreatGlavinsGhost: SpiderQueenDemon: ... You don't want to know what Queen and King were. Really.

Now I do.


And what he said.
2013-07-20 08:18:43 AM
2 votes:
darrengarnick.files.wordpress.com
2013-07-20 02:46:52 AM
2 votes:
My buddy's restraint failed to properly lock on the Superman roller coaster.   Well, it seemed to lock, and then magically unlocked right as the ride was about to start.  The farks running the ride were giving the go ahead to start while he was screaming about it not being properly locked.  It was only because the entire car heard his screams and proceeded to repeat them in unison that the stoned operators hit the emergency stop and proceeded to correct whatever the problem was.

Moral of the story:  If you feel like your restraint didnt engage properly, do whatever it takes to get off or get it farking fixed, and dont take no for an answer.  Not worth it.
2013-07-20 01:30:54 AM
2 votes:

DirtyDeadGhostofEbenezerCooke: Neighborhood Watch: There's actually an entire industry around inspecting amusement park rides for safety.  The insurance companies demand it.  Six Flags has insurance for this sort of thing.  I guarantee it.  I also guarantee that the ride has passed one inspection after another.

Will money be paid out?  Oh, yeah!  But nobody new is going to own Six Flags.

The insurance company will pay for the results of a flawed inspection and an equipment failure.  It will also pay for an employee not correctly securing a rider.

If there is a jury trial, what is going to redline the punitive damages is the overheard 'Everything is fine' after the rider expressed concerned.  It doesn't matter whether it's been said a million times before and always been right.  That emotional bullet point is fatal.


Except it's in Texas and they have caps on punitive damages been trying to find the exact limit but can't I am thinking when the fertilizer plant exploded they were saying it around 250,000 anyone have better Google fu
2013-07-20 12:56:45 AM
2 votes:
A lot of wood coasters don't have a second restraint. Those that do usually just have a lap belt that won't do much if you've managed to break or slip out of the locking restraint.

That said, I don't remember Nitro (steel coaster) at Great Adventure having anything more than a primary restraint, but it comes in from the front rather than from the top (hip and thigh rather than just hip/belly), and they make sure it's VERY tight. The purpose is to hold your legs clamped down and let the rest of your body feel "free."

On this wooden coaster, I'm pretty sure the restraint is sandwiching your hips, and a very overweight person may easily slip out if their hips are actually a hanging belly, or if the belly is blocking the restraint from coming all the way down.
2013-07-20 12:56:38 AM
2 votes:

Confabulat: gingerjet: Confabulat: and i'm really shocked that 16 year old minimum wage workers might not be the best people to trust with my life?

And I'm not shocked you have no clue how these things work.  That 16 year old is just another part of the operational aspect of the ride.  And they are interchangeable.  If something fails its not their fault - its the fault of the people who designed the operations around that ride.  If you ever noticed at Disney or Universal parks there is never one single person who gives the go ahead - there are multiple.

Yeah, multiple 16 year olds working for minimum wage bored and half-assed. I've spent a little time in theme parks.


while i'm well aware of the stereotype, i must say that the day we went to six flags a few months ago, those young folks operating the giant were neither bored nor aff-assed. they were having a lot of fun, but all were paying close attention to making sure the passengers were secure before all gave their hand-waving-thumbs-up to signify we were take-off ready
2013-07-20 12:40:20 AM
2 votes:
You have to be 18 to operate the ride
All rides are inspected daily before the park opens and the public rides them
Maintenance does an inspection and then the ride operators do an inspection.


/getting a kick out of these comments
2013-07-20 12:40:17 AM
2 votes:
The comments in the actual article are terrible. You can't blame the stupid kid for this, he didn't design the coaster and is not responsible for maintenance.
2013-07-20 12:31:55 AM
2 votes:

Confabulat: and i'm really shocked that 16 year old minimum wage workers might not be the best people to trust with my life?


And I'm not shocked you have no clue how these things work.  That 16 year old is just another part of the operational aspect of the ride.  And they are interchangeable.  If something fails its not their fault - its the fault of the people who designed the operations around that ride.  If you ever noticed at Disney or Universal parks there is never one single person who gives the go ahead - there are multiple.
2013-07-20 12:30:40 AM
2 votes:
I rode this coaster on opening day.  I hated it then but the old man insisted it would be a historic event.  In other news, no one ever
gave a shat and I think that damn ride gave me a concussion from how much it shook and bounced.  When I rode it, the restraints were
the 'click' kind, I have no idea since they remodeled it.  I kind of quit riding coasters after working at one. Safety comes like 9th or 10th
on those things.  Cracked out carnies running them too.  No thanks.
2013-07-20 12:23:20 AM
2 votes:

HempHead: Six Flags just emerged from bankruptcy...not a lot of cash in that company.


...which is why he'll soon be the owner of a Six Flags.
2013-07-20 12:18:59 AM
2 votes:

UsikFark: the victim expressed concern to a park employee that her harness only clicked once when it was lowered into place, unlike the multiple clicks heard when others were strapped in.

"He was basically nonchalant," Brown said. "He was, like, 'As long as you heard it click, you're fine. Hers was the only one that went down once, and she didn't feel safe. But they let her still get on the ride."

They're not gonna have Jack Lemmon running a roller coaster.


Too bad about her kid being on the ride next to her when she fell off.  On the bright side, he'll soon be the owner of a Six Flags!
2013-07-20 12:15:25 AM
2 votes:
the victim expressed concern to a park employee that her harness only clicked once when it was lowered into place, unlike the multiple clicks heard when others were strapped in.

"He was basically nonchalant," Brown said. "He was, like, 'As long as you heard it click, you're fine. Hers was the only one that went down once, and she didn't feel safe. But they let her still get on the ride."

They're not gonna have Jack Lemmon running a roller coaster.
2013-07-20 11:53:51 PM
1 votes:
Now I wanna ride a coaster to watch all the hand signals.

/props to SQD
2013-07-20 10:13:36 PM
1 votes:

SpiderQueenDemon: I'm a retired ride-op


Retired monorail driver from your competition here.  Not exactly the same job, but enough similarities to bring back a BUNCH of memories...
2013-07-20 08:26:37 PM
1 votes:

RoLleRKoaSTeR: ds_4815: Possible photo of the woman in question.

[www.themeparkreview.com image 518x601]

Member of ACE?


Her waistline seems slightly subdued for an ACEr.
2013-07-20 05:19:40 PM
1 votes:
Possible photo of the woman in question.

www.themeparkreview.com
2013-07-20 04:27:06 PM
1 votes:

The All-Powerful Atheismo: meyerkev: Frank N Stein: [i39.tinypic.com image 850x637]

I forgot just how game breaking the shuttle coaster was in that game.

what game is that?  I want a good theme park game.  I can't find a version of Theme Park (bullfrog) that works


Roller Coaster Tycoon.

/though I'd personally recommend RCT2 from GOG.  Custom (importable) parks, a much better braking system, just a bunch of little fixes.
2013-07-20 04:21:20 PM
1 votes:

meyerkev: Frank N Stein: [i39.tinypic.com image 850x637]

I forgot just how game breaking the shuttle coaster was in that game.


what game is that?  I want a good theme park game.  I can't find a version of Theme Park (bullfrog) that works
2013-07-20 02:47:37 PM
1 votes:

The All-Powerful Atheismo: SpiderQueenDemon: 3. Our Team Leader had once spotted a 'scared' guest who had come alone, undone his belt and used his knee to prop the bar up when it locked. TL caught this from the guy's facial expression alone, refused the 'clear' and signed to the team from Control to third-check him. The extra "you okay there, buddy?" caused the guest to first panic, then burst into sobs. Turned out the poor guest was suicidal, deep in debt, and his plan had been to kill himself on a coaster so his family would get a settlement from the park.

your Team Leader ruined peoples' lives.  By allowing him to live, he:

A. Prolonged this guy's suffering
B. Prolonged his family's suffering as they have to deal with him
C. Deprived the other guests of an awesome front row view


And D) Likely prevented a lawsuit that could well have resulted in the whole damn park shutting down.  (Yes, this becomes relevant, kids.)

If memory serves me right, SQD shares similar stomping grounds to myself, and there are only three parks that have been around in the past ten years that have had woodies--a well-known family-run park known for its holiday theming and for having some of the best woodies in the country, a long-running park that has two particularly famous woodies (and a failed experiment at a woodie with a loop that is likely to be permanently Standing But Not Operating), and a small park that started out as an indie operation (and one which was starting to develop a decent rep in the coaster community, in part because of two decent woodie coasters) and was promptly farked up by Six Flags.

That third park is, as a whole, SBNO (it might reopen under the original management in 2014) thanks to a wee bit of a mechanical oopsie that happened with a non-coaster ride originally known as the Hellevator and later (post-Six-Flags-borging) got renamed to some Superman-themed thingie.  (It will always be known as the Hellevator to those of us who remember the park before Six Flags got hold of it.)  Apparently there had not been the level of maintenance of rides under Six Flags management that there had been under the original ownership, and a lift cable snapped and pretty much field-amputeed a 12-year-old girl.  (They tried reattaching the legs at the local Shriner hospital but at least one of them was unsuccessful.)

Parents proceed to sue the everloving crap out of Six Flags, and as a result Six Flags pretty much dropped the park like a hot potato along with other parks it felt were liabilities (including a park in New Orleans they had gotten around the same time which is likewise in a state of SBNO, probably permanently thanks to that old biatch Katrina) as they were pretty damn close to bankrupt at the time.

And that is pretty much how this sort of shiat can kill a park :P

(That said--now I'm very curious as to what park SQD worked at--if it was one of the three locals/regionals or something farther afield a la Cedar Point :D)
2013-07-20 01:03:05 PM
1 votes:

GreatGlavinsGhost: SpiderQueenDemon: ... You don't want to know what Queen and King were. Really.

Now I do.


Queen was about-to-puke and King was about-to-pee-or-crap.

On days when the line got long, the latter was a legitimate concern. So we got a take-a-number like the deli has and if someone had gotten all the way to the train and had to pee, we'd give them and their buddy a number, send them to use the facilities and then let them back on through the exit, skipping the line.

Coaster-sign for 'Queen' was a finger drawn alongside the forehead to the ear, kind of miming a tiara, and 'King' was the same gesture with three fingers. Could easily be mistaken for wiping one's brow. It's a subtle language. We even had a special sign for 'complete asshole' which Control could respond to with the sign for 'Staple.'

To 'staple' a guest is to latch their lap bar down very suddenly and with some force. When done with a chipper smile and a high-five, the effect could be almost BDSM-tastic. And yes, we had guests who requested that we latch them in with great force and inform them of how very cowardly they were and how much they would scream. We also had a collection jar for Make-A-Wish and my one really fun coworker, Mistress Katie, personally accounted for $375 toward some cancer-kid's amusement-park outing in a single day.

Corporate would have murdered us if they knew half the cool shiat we did. Fearless Leader loved to ask groups of kids in matching high-school chorus t-shirts to sing on the platform and we once got a drama club to perform 'La Vie Boheme' from RENT with us while in line and we literally sent trains without missing a lyric. It was the best of jobs, it was the worst of jobs, and if Corporate found out, I'm sure that even a decade or so later, we would be SO dead.
2013-07-20 10:57:13 AM
1 votes:

FizixJunkee: GreatGlavinsGhost: SpiderQueenDemon: ... You don't want to know what Queen and King were. Really.

Now I do.


Seconded.


Me three
2013-07-20 09:52:20 AM
1 votes:
Ugh. Two of my friends had just finished riding when she fell. One of my friends heard a man in line say that he saw "something" fall. In retrospect, he might have said "someone."

I feel sorry for her son.
2013-07-20 09:51:15 AM
1 votes:

GreatGlavinsGhost: SpiderQueenDemon: ... You don't want to know what Queen and King were. Really.

Now I do.


Seconded.
2013-07-20 09:48:15 AM
1 votes:

FizixJunkee: SpiderQueenDemon: and like five Chessmen a week.

What's a Chessman?


Look further up in the comments, Pawns, Bishops, Knights, and Rooks are discussed, Kings and Queens are left ambiguous.

Tell us what the Kings and Queens are, pretty please?  We're grown Farkers, we can take it.
2013-07-20 09:37:32 AM
1 votes:

EmmaLou: I am deathly afraid of rollercoasters (well, any rides really) and this is one if the reasons why. I'll happily hold the coats and bags while everyone gets a go on the death traps though.


On average, 1,200,000 people die in car accidents every year, compared to two in roller coaster accidents. If you're deathly afraid of roller coasters, I can't even begin to imagine your fear of cars.
2013-07-20 08:45:25 AM
1 votes:

SpiderQueenDemon: I was once a ride-op on a wooden coaster at one point in my misspent youth. This was at a much nicer park than any of the Six Flags, if I do say so myself. Our Standard Operating Procedure was to check belts and bars TWICE, once down the train for belts and once up the train for bars, and we'd go back and triple-check the restraint if a guest seemed scared.

This was for three reasons:
1. Even if it was nothing, taking the time to check it, give them a smile and reassure them made our team, and by extension the coaster, the park, young college kids in general, look awesome, and it helped our survey numbers.

2. A scared guest could be scared for several reasons, up to and including 'foreign person who was completely unfamiliar with seatbelts' or 'little kid who should be given a line pass so he can go and pee BEFORE riding.'

3. Our Team Leader had once spotted a 'scared' guest who had come alone, undone his belt and used his knee to prop the bar up when it locked. TL caught this from the guy's facial expression alone, refused the 'clear' and signed to the team from Control to third-check him. The extra "you okay there, buddy?" caused the guest to first panic, then burst into sobs. Turned out the poor guest was suicidal, deep in debt, and his plan had been to kill himself on a coaster so his family would get a settlement from the park.

This happened on a surprisingly regular basis. We got about three Suicidals a season on our ride alone and there was coaster-sign for it.

There was a reason why we called our TL 'Fearless Leader.' He had this remarkable gut ability to sense a problem before it happened, bring it to our attention with coaster-sign and head it off before something quirky became a whole can of worms. I saw him catch a kid guest who was about to puke, two different suicidals, an epileptic in moments-to-seizure mode and like five Chessmen a week. Great guy, looked after every member of his team like we were his own siblings. We would've done anything he ...

So, how good was he in bed?

2013-07-20 08:41:57 AM
1 votes:
It's a wooden (hybrid) roller coaster, which means that there are no inversions or outside loops. How did a woman fall out of a high-speed roller coaster that pushes you into your seat in every turn? I could see it happening while going over the top of a hill, but even then there's ample time to grab hold of the lap bar, broken or not. The forces are not so strong that you cannot hold yourself in, they just aren't.

My guess is she wasn't a roller coaster person, panicked, tried to stand up thinking they would see it and stop the ride, and WHOOSH!, gone. Or maybe the obesity theory, which is just as valid as any other right now.
2013-07-20 07:05:14 AM
1 votes:

wildcardjack: 12 bed infirmary in the park.


That's for heat stroke and the like.
2013-07-20 06:52:21 AM
1 votes:

SpiderQueenDemon: ... You don't want to know what Queen and King were. Really.


Now I do.
2013-07-20 06:33:58 AM
1 votes:
I've been injured twice at that park, once as a guest and once as an employee, and it's not the safest place. But they try. It's just a little worrying that they have a 12 bed infirmary in the park.
2013-07-20 04:51:13 AM
1 votes:

Bathysphere: What's a chessmen?


In ride-op slang, Chessmen are guests with something weird that you need to check, because Chess and Checkers. (I know. It's weird.)

And we used chess-piece names to identify which was which, so guests wouldn't overhear and freak. Pawns were kids who were too short or too terrified and whose parents still wanted to try and yank them on. Bishops were people who got on a coaster all serious and then had effing hysterics, calling on Jesus to save them and generally freaking out. Knights were line-jumpers, Rooks were people who'd try to buddy up to us and get us to let them go twice in a row, and so forth. You don't want to know what Queen and King were. Really.


Also, the thumbs-up sign you see for Clear (Clear meaning 'train can go,') is just the tip of the coaster-sign iceberg. There are ride-ops who can have whole conversations in coaster-sign, depending on how good one's TL and ATL were, the nature of the ride and whether or not it was the sort of ride you might need a lot of signs for. Every roller coaster uses High Clear (thumbs up and hand higher than one's head; Low Clear is the same sign at shoulder height or lower, used for 'yes' or 'okay' other than sending trains,) Hold (one hand in fist, other hand gripping own wrist, means 'stop NOW!') and Cross (wrists crossed above head, means 'I wish to cross from one side of the platform to the other,' you give the sign, Control makes eye contact and gives Low Clear, you cross and then return Low Clear once you're literally clear of the gap, like a salute,) but if you have a loud wooden coaster with multiple Safeties and a 48" or 54" height limit, you can have as many as twenty-one unique signs.


It was possible, on our team, to warn Control that 'The guest in Row 2-2 is trying to drag a clearly incapable kid on the ride,' with one hand. You just signed 'Chessman, Pawn, Two, Two.' and Control understood and could direct the closest person accordingly or even get Security if there was a need for it. We had a guy try to sneak a camcorder on the ride and the whole team knew about it before he set foot on the platform, just from the kids at Entrance and Height Check passing the word in coaster-sign.

There was a whole unique culture in the park that I'd be shocked if Corporate was aware of.
2013-07-20 04:23:03 AM
1 votes:

SpiderQueenDemon: I was once a ride-op on a wooden coaster at one point in my misspent youth. This was at a much nicer park than any of the Six Flags, if I do say so myself. Our Standard Operating Procedure was to check belts and bars TWICE, once down the train for belts and once up the train for bars, and we'd go back and triple-check the restraint if a guest seemed scared.

This was for three reasons:
1. Even if it was nothing, taking the time to check it, give them a smile and reassure them made our team, and by extension the coaster, the park, young college kids in general, look awesome, and it helped our survey numbers.

2. A scared guest could be scared for several reasons, up to and including 'foreign person who was completely unfamiliar with seatbelts' or 'little kid who should be given a line pass so he can go and pee BEFORE riding.'

3. Our Team Leader had once spotted a 'scared' guest who had come alone, undone his belt and used his knee to prop the bar up when it locked. TL caught this from the guy's facial expression alone, refused the 'clear' and signed to the team from Control to third-check him. The extra "you okay there, buddy?" caused the guest to first panic, then burst into sobs. Turned out the poor guest was suicidal, deep in debt, and his plan had been to kill himself on a coaster so his family would get a settlement from the park.

This happened on a surprisingly regular basis. We got about three Suicidals a season on our ride alone and there was coaster-sign for it.

There was a reason why we called our TL 'Fearless Leader.' He had this remarkable gut ability to sense a problem before it happened, bring it to our attention with coaster-sign and head it off before something quirky became a whole can of worms. I saw him catch a kid guest who was about to puke, two different suicidals, an epileptic in moments-to-seizure mode and like five Chessmen a week. Great guy, looked after every member of his team like we were his own siblings. We would've done anything he asked and nobody could say a word against him in our hearing.

Working at an amusement park may sound fun and all, but it's quite Serious Business. Some people come back from the experience changed for life.


What's a chessmen?
2013-07-20 03:58:03 AM
1 votes:
I am deathly afraid of rollercoasters (well, any rides really) and this is one if the reasons why. I'll happily hold the coats and bags while everyone gets a go on the death traps though.
2013-07-20 03:12:00 AM
1 votes:
Today was a bad day for amusement parts. A boat on Shoot The Rapids at Cedar Point suffered anit-rollback failure and tipped over. Multiple injuries, but no fatalities.
2013-07-20 03:03:40 AM
1 votes:

TOSViolation: jst3p: Well, there is a good chance that she was a young earth creationist pro-lifer. Let's be positive her.

At least we all know there is a 100% chance you're an idiot.


You are bad at math, there is some degree of chance that it is a simple typo. Are you from Texas? I hear math and cognitive reasoning aren't real big there.
2013-07-20 02:20:46 AM
1 votes:

almandot: I can't think of a time that someone said to the operator "I don't think it lathed right" or "it's too tight" and they didnt hit the release to let them do it again.


You can't think of even a single time this may have happened?
2013-07-20 02:07:22 AM
1 votes:
So.... don't blame the kid is not his fault? Ok, I mean, is not like the woman said "I think this didn't latch properly" OH WAIT SHE DID.

If someone in a rollercoaster says "This didn't lock properly" sure as hell I'm going to investigate before I press "Go". Is like on a plane, if you see smoke coming out of the farking engine before take-off I'm going to go all shouting inside the cockpit...
2013-07-20 02:01:58 AM
1 votes:
you know, if you're the dude strapping people in
and she tells you it doesn't feel secure

would it really be such a hassle to check it out?

cuz you just cost your employer their next 20 years in profits
2013-07-20 01:57:03 AM
1 votes:

Confabulat: and i'm really shocked that 16 year old minimum wage workers might not be the best people to trust with my life?


I made the mistake one time trusting an operator at a carnival. Lets just say the laws of physics, specifically centrifugal force, and earths gravity prevented a tragedy. (It was the moon landers that go upside down with only a bar to restrain you. I didn't see it in action and assumed that the ride did not go upside down with only a lap bar to protect you. But I assumed incorrectly. )
2013-07-20 01:27:10 AM
1 votes:

Confabulat: and i'm really shocked that 16 year old minimum wage workers might not be the best people to trust with my life?


amusement park workers are paid less than minimum wage.

They get the same "seasonal" minimum that migrant farm workers do.  Think about THAT.
2013-07-20 01:25:57 AM
1 votes:

RyansPrivates: A sad thing about this, among many, is that the kids that check them before the ride starts may very well be feeling responsible for the whole deal.  As has been said, there are multiple checks put in place, and to pin it on this one kid is a shiatty thing to do.  He or she will probably need some counseling.

Human nature has us wanting to blame / place negligence somewhere.  A few from this thread:
- The person riding (too fat!)
- the kid who was supposed to check to ensure the riders were secure (too young, he/she is to blame!)
- the engineers of the ride (you need to see a chiropractor afterwords, it is too rough a ride!)
- etc

Maybe some of these are valid, or more than likely, there are multiple failures in the system.  Another possibliity is that all precautions truly were taken and the damn thing just broke. (A gear slipped that wouldn't have been caught even on a deep inspection, for example).  Amusement park rides are risky, but it  usually controlled risk.  But you can't remove risk from it entirely; too many variables.  Or you can go the Wargames route: the only winning move is not to play.

Regardless, there is a kid that is going to have to get to sleep tonight after seeing her mother fall to her death.  That is the really shiatty thing. And we may never get a satisfactory explanation.  I hope we do, at least for that kids sake, though.


Best post.
2013-07-20 01:23:14 AM
1 votes:
When I read this I thought of that scene in "The House on Haunted Hill" (remake) where the roller coaster ejects a car full of mannequins in front of the riders right before they go through that same curve for effect.  If anyone on the Six Flags coaster saw it happen I would imagine there were some people in desperate need of clean underwear after that ride.
2013-07-20 01:21:58 AM
1 votes:

mrswood: The comments in the actual article are terrible. You can't blame the stupid kid for this, he didn't design the coaster and is not responsible for maintenance.


The "stupid kid" was an employee responsible for ensuring people are properly secured, and when a problem was brought to his attention, he blew it off without checking.  Sure, there's plenty of blame for Six Flags for not properly training their employees and/or hiring untrustworthy (a.k.a. cheap) employees, and for having equipment that failed in the first place, but that doesn't excuse the employee's (lack of) action when attention was called to the problem.
2013-07-20 01:19:37 AM
1 votes:

Seige101: You have to be 18 to operate the ride
All rides are inspected daily before the park opens and the public rides them
Maintenance does an inspection and then the ride operators do an inspection.


/getting a kick out of these comments


I'm getting a kick out of your over-confidence of amusment park maintenance personnel, ride operators, and the age of 18.
2013-07-20 01:18:27 AM
1 votes:
Three days ago I was having a discussion about this very thing happening and we covered every single thing mentioned in this thread

1) Fabio
2) Not entrusting my life to a bunch of high school kids
3) People do fall out

They told me I was full of shiat, that no one ever falls out. I am sadly proven right just days later. I now know how Brody felt when he saw the kid playing on the escalator again.
2013-07-20 01:11:27 AM
1 votes:

Lt. Cheese Weasel: HempHead: The last time I rode the Texas Giant I almost lost the fillings out of my teeth. I think a chiropractor should set up an office at the exit to offer back adjustments.

This, one rough biatch.  I rode it because my party shamed me into it. I hate coasters. I hate airplanes for the same reason. My life is suspect and in the hands of others who are either making 8 bucks an hour or alot more and haven't slept in the last 36 hours. I'll take the bus, you can have your zero G nonsense.


You'll be pleased to know they retracked it in 2011 and it went from one of the most terrible coasters in the country to the #5 steel roller coaster in the world.

Most of the reports (including TFA) are talking about "one click" on the bar (no belt, just a single lap bar), but it's a hydraulic restraint and doesn't actually "click" when it comes down. Semantics, I know, but still.
2013-07-20 01:04:29 AM
1 votes:
There's actually an entire industry around inspecting amusement park rides for safety.  The insurance companies demand it.  Six Flags has insurance for this sort of thing.  I guarantee it.  I also guarantee that the ride has passed one inspection after another.

Will money be paid out?  Oh, yeah!  But nobody new is going to own Six Flags.
2013-07-20 12:55:17 AM
1 votes:

HBK: Shyla: HBK: fusillade762: Oldiron_79: Only clicked once? I'm gonna guess obese passenger.

Yeah, I was gonna guess "fat", too. But either way, they let her ride anyway. You can bet that's going to be a lawsuit.

CSB time:

I was drinking in an airport bar when I chatted up a guy who was a "seatbelt expert." His job was to evaluate seatbelts post-crash and offer expert testimony for lawsuits alleging products liability following car crashes. He had all sorts of engineering degrees and whatnot.

You met Tyler Durden!?

I have no idea what you're talking about, sir.


You said you'd say that. Hold him down!
2013-07-20 12:36:26 AM
1 votes:

HempHead: The last time I rode the Texas Giant I almost lost the fillings out of my teeth. I think a chiropractor should set up an office at the exit to offer back adjustments.


This, one rough biatch.  I rode it because my party shamed me into it. I hate coasters. I hate airplanes for the same reason. My life is suspect and in the hands of others who are either making 8 bucks an hour or alot more and haven't slept in the last 36 hours. I'll take the bus, you can have your zero G nonsense.
2013-07-20 12:28:38 AM
1 votes:

jaytkay: Arlington residents gather to pay their final respects
[media-cache-ak1.pinimg.com image 550x343]


Ha, I could not remember why in the hell I knew what Arlington, Texas is. Rusty Shackleford is on the case!
2013-07-20 12:21:46 AM
1 votes:

DirtyDeadGhostofEbenezerCooke: UsikFark: the victim expressed concern to a park employee that her harness only clicked once when it was lowered into place, unlike the multiple clicks heard when others were strapped in.

"He was basically nonchalant," Brown said. "He was, like, 'As long as you heard it click, you're fine. Hers was the only one that went down once, and she didn't feel safe. But they let her still get on the ride."

They're not gonna have Jack Lemmon running a roller coaster.

Too bad about her kid being on the ride next to her when she fell off.  On the bright side, he'll soon be the owner of a Six Flags!




Six Flags just emerged from bankruptcy...not a lot of cash in that company.
2013-07-20 12:20:28 AM
1 votes:
media.star-telegram.com
2013-07-20 12:20:27 AM
1 votes:

Confabulat: and i'm really shocked that 16 year old minimum wage workers might not be the best people to trust with my life?


Exactly what I was thinking
2013-07-20 12:15:27 AM
1 votes:
about time this got greenlit. I'm fascinated by this stuff. I want more info and now I have to go bike to the liquor store. Rats.
2013-07-20 12:15:02 AM
1 votes:
The last time I rode the Texas Giant I almost lost the fillings out of my teeth. I think a chiropractor should set up an office at the exit to offer back adjustments.
 
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