April 2022 Monthly Ride Report Recap

In April 2022, media reports covered eight (8) recordable ride accidents, exposing 24 patrons, including one fatal injury. Three (3) of the cases described operator misoperation, three (3) cases described defective equipment including potential lack of or ineffective maintenance, and two (2) reports did not provide enough information to know what type of event had preceded the injury.

In the month, there were also six (6) headlines about ride stoppages and rider evacuations, four (4) worker injuries during operation or maintenance. Three (3) reports covered new litigation about prior guest injuries, and one (1) report involving a worker claiming damages for a hand amputation, and one fatal injury in a facility parking lot. There was also one report (1) about the closure of a facility that referenced a past fatal derailment.

Updates were made to reports from March 2022 and September 2021.

Date of last update: 05 May 2022.

05 April 2022, a boy, believed to be preschool age, fell from a carousel at Movie World park in Australia, and was transported to hospital with a laceration to his head. Carousels at other Australian parks have been closed as a precaution. It has not yet been reported at what stage of the ride the child separated from the carousel figure (loading, motion, unloading, etc.) Carousels are one of the oldest type of amusement device and as the ride forces are gentle, they typically have minimal restraint devices. However, like an actual horse, the seat position is elevated and it requires some balance to resist falling off. Most small children ride with adult companions to assist them to climb on and off, and to balance and avoid impulsive behaviour. Link | Link | Link | Link | Link

03 April 2022, at Forest of San Juan de Aragón, in Mexico, a small train derailed due to defective track, attributed to lack of maintenance, injuring 11 riders, mainly women and children, many requiring medical attention. Link

10 April 2022, at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, Australia, a kiddie drop ride was reportedly started while one over-the-shoulder restraint was conspicuously in the fully-open position. The ride was stopped at a small elevation (unclear if automatically or by emergency stop button) and the child was aided to jump down (unclear why not just instructed to wait in the seat for the ride to be lowered). It is hard to imagine a drop ride operator not being scrupulously cautious to check all restraints, especially after the fatal injury in March, but it is also hard to imagine the ride not interlocking the ride cycle to the restraint’s fully closed position. Link | Link

17 April 2022, at República de los Niños in Argentina, two boys, aged 11 and 14 fell out of a moving ride. While the ride rotates around a vertical axis, the seats roll 360 degrees. On one (two-person) seat, the over-the-shoulder restraints were fully opened and remained so when the ride started, resulting in the riders dropping out of the inverted seat. This suggests both that the restraints were not interlocked to ride control system and the operator did not verify that restraints were closed before starting the ride cycle. Typically, both of those occur before a ride can be started. The ejection is shown in the video. Link

20 April 2022, at the Foire du Trône seasonal fair in Paris, six riders were injured when a roller coaster cart collided with another on the roller coaster, Infernal Toboggan. Four were treated onsite, but two required treatment in hospital. The operator reportedly dispatched a vehicle prematurely, but there is no explanation for the lack of automated control system of sensors, dispatch interlocks, and brake zones to prevent premature dispatch or intercept potential collision along the ride path. Link

19 April 2022 at a fair in Pajapita, Guatemala, a nine year old boy was fatally electrocuted at a pirate-ship style ride. He was on the ground when first responders arrived, and it is unclear from the news report if he was exposed while in the ride or touching the fence, as electrocutions on ride fencing is occasionally reported, and it is not immediately clear what path electricity would follow to reach the ride seating. Link

20 April 2022, at a fair in Barendrecht Netherlands, a loose part described as about 100cm x 20cm was reportedly released from the Break Dance ride in motion, striking a girl who sustained torn clothing and a scratch. The regulator indicated the part had not been fully secured after maintenance. Link

30 April 2022, a Tilt a Whirl seat (operating as “Remolino”) detached from its post at a fair operating in Torreon, Mexico. The seat reportedly “fell on” a 21-year-old woman was injured and taken by ambulance to hospital. The seat was not occupied at the time it separated from the post. The security of attachment of the seat to the post is a common inspection point. Link

Reports of injury in previous periods

Events occurring in prior periods receive media coverage for various reasons, often because of litigation milestones (claims filed, decision reached), anniversaries of notable events, and references arising from recent similar events. 

Updates continue to be reported from March 2022 particularly the fatal drop tower fall.

A blog reported on the demolition of La Feria de Chapultepec park in Mexico City and plans for its replacement mentioned the case that spurred the closure of the original park, involving derailment of the Quimera roller coaster, with fatal injuries. Link

Litigation was reported pertaining to July 2021 injury of a 25 year old man on the Cyclone wooden roller coaster at Lakeside Amusement Park in Colorado. After several satisfactory rides, the rider reported his extended hand struck against the ride track on a turn, sustaining a wrist fracture requiring surgery. Ride safety standards specify that the ride analysis will verify no points of impact within the outreached arm of a large male, plus 3″, although standards must be adopted by a legal authority in a jurisdiction, and previously constructed rides may not be subject to design requirements, unless legislation establishes retroactive application. Link | Link

Litigation was initiated in connection with a woman’s foot injury reportedly sustained in a lazy river at Rapids Water Park in Florida US on April 10th, 2021. The specific nature of the injury was not reported, but it was described in typical litigation terminology as critical, associated with loss of earnings, and various other claims. Link

An occurrence from 11 May 2013 was revisited in response to the disposition of litigation involving Súper Park in Argentina. In this case, a seatbelt unfastened while bumper car in use, resulting in impact of the child rider’s face within the vehicle. The court dismissing the owner/operator’s claim that since the attraction passed an inspection, the only explanation is the rider’s own fault. The judge found no evidence of the rider’s fault, and noted that the inspection is not designed to catch defects of restraints that may emerge through operation, and indeed that only a sample of carts were inspected in detail. Link

Excluded reports

Some media reports are outside the scope of the database. Riders stuck on stopped rides are popular topics for human-interest stories. Also excluded are media reports that cover multiple cases without specifics of each case. Employee injuries are also excluded, but can attract media interest.

01 April 2022, on a gondola wheel at a fair in India, a worker fell from an estimated height of 50 feet after losing his grip due to electric shock, landing on a bystander, both of whom were injured. It is not immediately clear if the ride was in operation. Link

02 April 2022, Havoc, a horizontally revolving ride at West Edmonton Mall, in Alberta stopped with 26 riders aboard, waiting about 30 minutes for the ride to be lowered for unloading. Link

05 April 2022, a worker fell into an empty pool at the Raging Waters waterpark in California, sustaining nonfatal injury. Link

07 April 2022, due to a loss of power for an unknown reason, “nearly a dozen” riders at Universal Studios Hollywood required to wait in place for evacuation for two hours. One story reports the attraction was Transformers, and the other reports that it was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, both citing thesame time of onset. It is possible that one report was misinformed, or that both attractions experienced a power failure at the same time. The number of evacuated riders in both reports is similar, despite both attractions having far more riders inside the ride path at any time than the number reportedly evacuated. Link | Link

08 April 2022, at the Clay County Fair, an operator stepped onto a ride to retrieve a guest’s hat and became lodged between sections of floor, sustaining nonfatal injury. Despite remarking on the ride being left in operation afterwards, two separate news reports failed to identify what ride it was, but another identified it as the “Hydra”, a swinging spinning pendulum. Link | Link | Link

18 April 2022, 54 riders required evacuation by crane when an 32m tall ride was stopped while elevated. Link

A report dated 14 April 2022 described Electro Spin, an elevated ride at Carowinds (NC USA) stopped with riders on board on “the weekend”, and quoted breathless spectators as having their confidence shaken. No actual riders from the Electro Spin were interviewed in this widely reposted report. As previous recaps have noted, safety control systems stop rides when sensing conditions that could make continued motion dangerous. This could be related to weather, power fluctuations, or natural debris blocking a sensor, as much as it could be the development of a hazardous condition of the equipment itself. Parks have procedures to unload riders in these conditions. Anyone choosing a ride should be aware that there is a small chance that the ride could be stopped pending an assisted evacuation. Link

On 13 April 2022, an employee encroached into the path of motion of the Intoxx ride (a “kamikaze” or “ranger” style ride) at a fair in Mainz, Germany, sustaining serious injuries. On this ride, the operator’s platform is quite small and close to the ride path. Link | Link

18 April 2022, The Eagle at Slagharen in Netherlands stopped at elevation for a reason that was not known at the time of reporting. Evacuation of 55 riders was completed within an hour by the fire brigade using cherry pickers. Link

29 April 2022, the Flying Cobras roller coaster at Carowinds (USA) stopped on the lift. The ride vehicle was returned to the station for unloading within 30 minutes, although riders interviewed reported distress. Link

30 April 2022, an 18 year old man was killed outside the Maritime Park waterpark in Pensacola Florida US. He was occupying an inner tube in a retention pond, being towed by a truck in the parking lot and the tube landed in the parking lot. While clearly not an accident related to the waterpark facility, it becomes reported in association with the property and property owners in general are motivated to secure the property against such stunts. Link

An employee who lost a hand in 2019 while servicing the Windseeker ride at Carowinds has filed a lawsuit in federal courts alleging negligence by multiple parties was responsible when his hand was pulled into a pulley by a wire rope during an inspection. Link

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About Kathryn Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, teaching, researching, and consulting in the area of human factors engineering / ergonomics particularly applied to amusement rides and attractions (https://thrilllab.blog.ryerson.ca), and to broader occupational and public safety issues of performance, error, investigation and inspection, and to disability and accessibility.