A day out at the amusement park is one of my favorite things! I know I’m not alone because anytime I go to a park, it is absolutely packed! Some people just like to walk around and check out the food. Some people like to play the games or see the shows. Others are into the smaller rides or just watching their kids have fun. Then there are those of us that live for the roller coasters. I love a good roller coaster! The faster the better. Thankfully, I’ve always had great experiences at the parks I have visited, but there are some who aren’t so lucky.
Unfortunately, accidents happen and people are killed on rides like this quite often. They say there is only a 1 in 300 million chance of a roller coaster accident killing you. Sometimes the reason is mechanical, sometimes it’s the computer that runs it all that malfunctions, and sometimes the person running the ride makes a fatal error. Accidents and fatalities have happened all over the world.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst examples of roller coaster tragedies from around the globe.
In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada there is an indoor attraction called Galaxyland Amusement Park. It’s an indoor park located in West Edmonton Mall. How much fun is that? Shopping and rides! The Mindbender was deemed the safest roller coaster at one point, despite the triple loop. The tragedy happened in 1986. Just before the third loop, car number 4 derailed and caused the train to go backward, missing the loop. It began flailing sideways, uncontrolled, finally crashing into a cement pillar.
Four of the riders were thrown out when their lap bars failed, and they fell 25 feet down. Three of them were killed in the accident, and the fourth had serious injuries but did not die. A design problem was determined to be the cause of the accident. The bolts on the left side wheel had come loose. This catastrophe prompted some changes, including an anti-rollback mechanism and seatbelts and headrests being added. They also reduced the number of people who could ride at one time.
2: The Smiler
The next horrible story comes to us from Staffordshire, England. Alton Towers is an amusement park featuring the Smiler, which holds the world record for the most inversions on one coaster. It has 14! The problems started right from the beginning in 2013, when it malfunctioned during an event which delayed the opening by some months.
The biggest problem to date happened in 2015. The ride’s computers warned the operator of an issue, which he chose to override and started the ride anyway. This resulted in 16 people in a full car crashing into an empty car. Five were seriously injured, including two teenaged girls losing a leg each. The coaster has left people stranded as well. These incidents cause people to be uncomfortable for sure, but they have not caused injuries. I’m not sure this ride is worth it.