At 11.30am yesterday, five people stared death in the face when the amusement park ride they were on malfunctioned, causing the seats they were strapped in to to free-fall for 16 metres.The accident happened Tuesday at the Van Huong Mai Amusement Park in Chau Phu district in the southern province of An Giang.Le Thi Lanh, Nguyen Thai Hai Dang, Huynh Tuan Khanh, Huynh Thi Xuan Nha and Nguyen Thai Duong from Thoai Son district are the victims who rode the faulty roller coaster.According to an online report on Nguoi Lao Dong, the operation system experienced a technical error while they were being lifted up, and the whole platform supporting them plunged from a height of 16 metres.
The operator of the amusement park sent the victims to the Chau Doc General Hospital for treatment.
Four of the five are in stable health and have been transferred to the private Binh An Hospital in Chau Doc Town, An Giang.However, the condition of the last victim – Ms. Le Thi Lanh, is serious as doctors suspect her spine suffered fractures caused by the fall.Lanh is being monitored at the Chau Doc General Hospital.Local authorities have cordoned off the amusement park pending investigation.
ScreamScape wrote:Park News - (2/27/12) A 14-year old girl died over the weekend when she somehow fell out of the of the Le Torre Eiffel ride (Intamin Giant Drop) at the Hopi Hari theme park in Brazil. According to witnesses, it appeared that her safety restraint somehow came lose as the car entered the magnetic braking area near the bottom of the drop. The restraints are held in place by a double-redundant safety system, with an additional third system in the form of a manually latched safety strap that runs between the legs and hooks on the bottom of the restraint bar.
Hopi Hari’s version is a little different from those found on American versions of the ride, which had a simple clip locking the strap instead of a seat-belt style latch. That said, it should have still been just as effective… assuming that it was locked in place during the ride and not unlatched by the rider. While not mentioned in the report, I did talk with a few industry people who have speculated that perhaps she could have been riding with a very loose restraint (hoping for more airtime). If the belt was unlocked by the rider, or left unlocked/unchecked by the ride ops (which also fits in to the theory of how she could have ridden with a very loose restraint), it is possible that force of braking could have allowed her to slip through the gap if she was small, as the restraint was still reported as being in the locked position after the ride. Even still, this is somewhat of a long shot of a theory as the bottom of the seat is contoured, with a bump between the legs.
First of all, from what I’ve been told, the actual seat the girl was riding in was said to have been made off-limited and inactive since 2003 by the park. I’m told that the reason this action was taken by the park was that it was determined in 2003 that the Eiffel Tower themed decorative structures that surrounds the lower half of the ride comes a little too close to that particular seat. While your average rider was in no danger of striking it on the way down, if a very tall rider with long legs were to ride in that particular seat, there was a possible danger. To ensure no one would sit in this seat, the local story being told is that it was supposed to have been welded shut, never to be used again. As the seat was taken out of order before the park added the extra crotch belt, it was apparently never fitted with the safety belt.
Jump ahead nearly a decade to today and it seems that either the seat was never welded shut, or that someone in the maintenance department may have fixed it so that it would open once again. A rider operator is also seemingly to blame here for allowing the girl to ride in the off-limits seat, and for failing to tug on the crotch belt to ensure it was locked… because there was likely no belt to lock at all. This all falls even further to show a training failure for the ride operations team.
(February 24, 2012) - At Hopi Hari theme park in São Paulo, Brazil, a 14-year-old girl was killed after falling 80-90 feet from a drop tower named "La Tour Eiffel."
"La Tour Eiffel" features cars which are hoisted to the top of a 224-foot tall tower and then drop 129 feet, reaching speeds of near 60 miles per hour. The cars are floorless, open-air cabins, and allow the riders' legs to dangle beneath them throughout the ride. Electromagnetic brakes bring the cars to a gradual stop at the base of the tower.
According to early reports from witnesses, the girl fell forward as the car was in free fall, and landed face down on the pavement at the base of the tower. She died as she was being rushed to a local hospital.
The ride has been shut down indefinitely while police investigate the accident.
In 1999, a twelve-year-old boy was killed after he fell out of a similar ride at Paramount's Great America theme park in Santa Clara, California. The cause of that accident was never determined.
According to park officials, the victim's seat should not have been occupied because it did not have a functioning restraint system. The seat was not used -- along with at least one other seat on a different car -- because it was possible that taller riders sitting in these outer seats could bump their feet onto the decorative metal structure surrounding the bottom portion of the ride. The seat had been out of service for ten years.
A statement from Hopi Hari faulted maintenance workers for failing to designate the seat as being out of service on the day of the accident. They also acknowledged that each rider's restraints should have been checked manually by ride operators.
In 2002, the ride's manufacturer called for the installation of seat belts on all of its drop tower models as a backup restraint device. The seat belts were designed to connect the shoulder harness to the seat at a point between the rider's legs. The belt was never installed onto the victim's seat, because the seat was not in service in 2002, and park officials intended that the seat would never be used.
The park has been ordered closed for at least ten days while each ride is inspected and all procedures, maintenance logs, and training practices are reviewed.