Cedar Fair closes rides after Six Flags mishap

SANDUSKY Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. has temporarily shut down five of its drop tower rides after a girl's feet were amputat
Janet
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. has temporarily shut down five of its drop tower rides after a girl's feet were amputated during an accident Thursday at competitor Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

As a precaution, the drop tower rides at Cedar Fair parks will be closed for reinspection, Cedar Fair spokeswoman Stacy Frole said.

The rides are at Kings Island, near Cincinnati; Canada's Wonderland in Toronto; Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va; Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C.; and Great America in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Superman Tower of Power at Louisville's Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom was closed Thursday after a teenage girl's feet were sliced off during a ride. Six Flags also shut down similar rides at parks in St. Louis, Gurnee, Ill., and near Washington D.C., the Associated Press reported.

The girl's feet were amputated just below the ankle while riding the Superman Tower of Power.

Her feet were recovered by Six Flags staff and were sent to the hospital with her, according to media reports.

During the Tower of Power ride, passengers are hoisted aloft, suspended momentarily, then pulled down. Passengers -- secured with bars and seat belts but with arms and legs free -- drop 154 feet at 54 mph.

A police dispatcher said a cord wrapped around the girl's feet while she was on the ride.

"I seen the car go up. Then, like, the cable broke ... and I heard a lot of people screaming," a witness said.

Frole said it is standard operating procedure to shut down similar rides after an accident occurs.

"Once we're comfortable with (the rides') safety, we'll open them back up to the public," she said.

The Swiss company Intamin manufactured the rides that were closed.

Cedar Point has two free-fall rides -- Power Tower and Demon Drop -- that will not be closed.

Monty Jasper, Cedar Fair's corporate vice president of safety and engineering, said the rides are different from the one at Kentucky Kingdom.

"It wasn't deemed necessary to do when it's not built in the same manner as the one involved," he said.

Power Tower is manufactured by Utah-based S & S Sports Power Inc. Although Demon Drop is made by Intamin, it is a different type of ride that does not use cables.

"You need to evaluate where the likenesses are and where the dissimilarities are," Jasper said.

The rides at Cedar Point are inspected twice daily by the park's maintenance expects. Ride operators also run a series of checks before the ride is operated, Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards said. The Ohio Department of Agriculture's amusement ride safety division also visits the parks for periodic park checks.

Cindy Brown, a spokeswoman for the department, said the division inspects all rides at amusement parks "at least once annually."

"Safety is our No. 1 concern for all the people who visit these parks and fairs," Brown said. "We take ride safety very seriously. Ohio is only one of three states that has a full-time year-round ride safety division."

California and Florida are the other states.

Brown said the drop ride at Kings Island was last inspected in April, and the division does not have plans to reinspect the ride unless something is brought to its attention.

"It's too early to tell," she said.

Power Tower and Demon Drop were last inspected by the amusement ride safety division in April.