Shoot the Rapids boat flips; riders injured
Sandusky Register Staff
Jul 22, 2013 at 6:07 PM
UPDATED 10 p.m.:
Click HERE for the 911 call from the ride
Cedar Point officials have released the following statement:
On Friday, July 19 at 6:42 p.m., ride operators stopped the Shoot the Rapids ride after a boat rolled back down the lift hill. Cedar Point Police, EMS staff, ride operators and several park guests immediately responded and helped passengers exit the boat. All seven guests on the boat were transported to Cedar Point’s First Aid Station. Six of the guests were evaluated and treated by Cedar Point EMS Staff and released. One guest was transported to Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio, for additional evaluation. The safety of our guests is our number one priority.
Cedar Point officials are currently investigating the incident and have reported it to state of Ohio officials. Shoot the Rapids will remain closed until park officials and inspectors from the state of Ohio complete their review. No further information is available at this time.
UPDATED 9 p.m.: Firelands Regional Medical Center staff said one person who was involved in the crash on Shoot the Rapids has arrived at the hospital for treatment.
Up to 10 people may have suffered injuries Friday evening when Cedar Point's Shoot the Rapids ride experienced a serious malfunction, according to multiple witnesses at the scene.
Sometime around 6:30 p.m., a Shoot the Rapids boat was ascending the first lift hill when the ride malfunctioned, sending the boat backwards and into the entry chute, witnesses said. The entry chute is hemmed in by concrete, and the chute itself is filled with water.
Witnesses said the boat either flipped on its side or upside down — details on that are still unconfirmed. Bystanders rushed into the water to turn the boat upright, witnesses said.
To see a point-of-view video of the ride, watch in the player below
Matthew Orr, 26, of Euclid, was at the scene. Orr said about nine people jumped into the water, about waist-deep, to turn the boat right-side up. Orr said it appeared all the seats were full. A Shoot the Rapids boat can hold 10 riders.
Orr said one woman appeared to have suffered severe head injuries. He also said it appears some of the riders were submerged for a few minutes before rescuers could correct the boat. The riders included adults and children, Orr said.
The details could not immediately be confirmed by Cedar Point officials. Park spokesman Bryan Edwards said he was still working on gathering details, and refused to take a moment to confirm what multiple witnesses have said.
A witness at the scene also provided the Register a picture of what appears to be bystanders working to flip the Shoot the Rapids ride back over.
"One of the cars ... came down off that hill, and people were still in it," Orr said. "They were trapped.
"We jumped in and helped them get out," he said. "If we didn't help, I don't even know what would have happened.
"It took nine or 10 people to pull the car up," Orr said. "We had the car sitting sideways."
Orr said the riders were still belted into the car when rescuers worked to turn it over. "I'm positive," he said, adding that the children on the ride "appeared scared to death."
Sandusky firefighters said they have received no calls from Cedar Point tonight requesting assistance.
Cedar Point has nurses and paramedics at the park, Sandusky firefighters said.
The medical conditions of the victims remains unknown.
By 7 p.m., Cedar Point police were standing guard at all entry points to the Shoot the Rapids ride. By 8 p.m., police had completely cleared the scene of bystanders.
Check back for updates as they become available.