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Wild rides: 5 fatal roller-coaster accidents

Published on Jul 9, 2014 4:41 PM
 

An Icelandic teenager lost his life on Monday, after being flung off a roller-coaster in the Spanish coastal town of Benidorm.

The 18-year-old was at the Terra Mitica theme park with his parents and a friend, when his harness failed on a ride called Inferno - Catalan for "Hell".

He suffered multiple fractures and head wounds, and died from heart attack in the ambulance.

On the same day, 25 people were left dangling 6m above ground at a precarious angle at Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park in Los Angeles, California.

A tree branch had fallen onto the track of the Ninja, a suspended roller-coaster whose description ironically read "You're hanging from the track, which on this insane ride is above your head".

Fortunately, only four people sustained minor injuries.

Here are some deadly roller-coaster incidents in recent years.

1. Six Flags Over Texas theme park, Arlington, Texas, 2013

A woman died on the park's Texas Giant roller-coaster in July last year.

The ride is the tallest steel-hybrid roller-coaster in the world, standing majestically at 14 storeys high.

Witnesses said that the victim's safety bar gave way in the middle of the ride, sending her tumbling out of the carriage and plunging to her death. She was taking the ride with her son.

2. Darien Lake theme park, Syracuse, New York, 2011

Sergeant James Hackemer, 29, died after he was flung out of the Ride Of Steel roller-coaster in July 2011.

He was an Iraq war veteran who had lost both legs while deployed in 2007, when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED).

Investigators said the safety harnesses and restraining bars on the ride were working fine.

Sgt Hackemer had been riding on the front row with his nephew, when he was ejected at a speed of 80kmh. 

3. Overseas Chinese Town East theme park, Shenzhen, China, 2010

In one of the worst roller-coaster accidents in recent times, six people died and another 10 were injured in the park's space shuttle simulator ride in June 2010.

The ride, which lets riders experience a rocket launch, plummeted over 15m to the ground.

According to survivors, there was a power cut and a loud explosion moments before the drop.

Witnesses said one cabin had come loose during a high-speed spin and struck other cabins. The ride consists of 11 four-person cabins.

4. Six Flags Over Georgia theme park, Austell, Georgia, 2008

A 17-year-old teenager was decapitated when he was struck by the park's Batman roller-coaster in June 2008.

Asia Leeshawn Ferguson, who was at the park with his parents, had climbed over two fences into a restricted area and ignored signs that warned of danger, to retrieve a hat he had lost while riding the roller-coaster earlier.

Police said the ride was at its fastest when it struck him. The ride's top speed is 80kmh.

5. Sunway Lagoon amusement park, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 1997

Closer to home, 29-year-old Madam Siti Arfah Sheikh Mohamed Dom died in November 1997, after she was flung out of the Runaway Train ride.

She had hit a rock-like structure before landing in a man-made lake several metres below, and died of severe head injuries.

Park attendants had rushed her to Subang Medical Centre, but she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Her husband, Mr Jubli Mohamed Said Taral, who took the ride with her, was also thrown out of the carriage but managed to cling onto the steel railing.

He said that his wife had told him her seat belt was loose and the safety rail was not properly in place right before tragedy struck.

 

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