View Full Version : Man dies after falling off roller coaster.

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07-11-2011, 01:22 AM
The man's cousin was quoted in today's paper as saying her cousin died happy, doing what he loved.

07-11-2011, 03:10 AM
Very sad.

07-13-2011, 02:06 AM
A short clip on ABC News about the lack of federal regulations on roller coasters. In addition to the fatal accident in NY, they highlight a ride evacuation in Texas last week as bad. Although no one likes to walk down hundreds of steps from the top of a roller coaster, the ride actually did what it was supposed to, which is to stop trains from colliding should something go wrong with the ride. All coasters now have a multitude of sensors and braking areas/evacuation zones for cases like this, and the top of the first hill is one of them. So I wish they'd do a little homework before they go and report something like that as bad.


07-13-2011, 11:52 PM
nerdycool, thanks for all the information.

I don't like roller coasters. The forces make me feel like all the organs are shifting in my body and it's a very unpleasant experience. I have to brace myself to get through it. If I didn't feel that maybe I could enjoy the ride, because I'm not scared of the heights/speed/etc.

It's interesting what you said about seat belts. Because I don't remember any seat belts on the two roller coaster that I was on. We only had that big metal thing that goes around your shoulders and there's a bar on your lap. And every time I felt it wasn't enough. I was trying to hold on to it as if my life depended on it. Maybe it did after all.

The first roller coaster I was ever on went inside a big wheel and stopped at the top. I remember being upside down and all my weight was on the metal bar on my lap. No seat belts. I was making my body stiff so much, trying to hold on, that I was so weak afterward I could barely walk. I felt as if I went through labor.

07-14-2011, 12:14 AM
The investigation outcome is pretty much what I'd thought. What's next, beyond the a sad funeral? The family doesn't "seem" to be the sue happy type, but if they were they'll be, what, saying that a [likely 17 year-old kid] carnival ride operator shoud have known better and overrided the war hero and his eager family ... a hero apparently eager to "do what he loved / be normal again"?

No crime (www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/13/us-rollercoaster-death-idUSTRE76C78P20110713) ... "[the park] violated its own policy in allowing Army Sgt. James Hackemer on the ride, but the violations were not criminal" ...

Investigators said Hackemer, who lost both his legs and a hip while serving in Iraq in 2008 and was not wearing prosthetic limbs when he fell, should not have been allowed on the 208-foot-tall ride that reaches speeds as fast as 70 mph.

The sheriff department's investigation concluded that Hackemer did not have the physical attributes necessary to be properly restrained on the ride.

"The rules say you have to have two legs to ride. They didn't stop him or question him. They violated their own policy," Sheriff Gary Maha said in a statement.

"Basically he didn't have the body mass to keep him in his seat," Maha said.

07-14-2011, 12:29 AM
I'm glad the investigation was done quickly and that the family seem to be content with not suing. And I really hope the park retrains their employees... because I can guarantee that man passed at least 2 workers before even getting on the ride, and more may have even watched him get on. Handicapped people take longer to load in, so the other workers would have gotten their jobs finished by the time he entered his seat. So massive fail as a whole team.

You're welcome WindSpirit.

Seat belts are a relatively new thing to roller coasters, and not all may have them, depending on what type of coaster it is and whether the coaster is in an amusement park or a county/state fair. But about 10 years ago there was a big hub-bub about adding additional safety measures along with the ones already in place, so most coasters had them added and new coasters were built with them already in place.

But yes, coasters can take a lot out of you physically. Especially the wooden coasters, which give a bumpier ride. The steel coasters have a smoother ride, but they usually go faster since they can be built taller. The one I worked at (Wild Thing at Valleyfair), tops out at 74mph, and that was tough for my neck to take sometimes. And it's not even close to being the fastest coaster... there's one in Abu Dahbi that goes 150mph! I cannot even begin to imagine that ride.

07-14-2011, 01:09 AM
According to Maha, park policy is spelled out on signs at the entrance and exit of the "Ride of Steel" saying: "For the restraint devices on this ride to fully and safely engage, guests must have two legs and be within a certain range of size and physical dimension."

However he said there was no reckless behavior or criminal negligence on the part of the attendants.

"There is no criminal liability associated with this incident," he said, calling Hackemer's death an "unfortunate accident."

I wonder why there is no criminal liability?

07-14-2011, 01:20 AM
The one I worked at (Wild Thing at Valleyfair), tops out at 74mph, and that was tough for my neck to take sometimes. And it's not even close to being the fastest coaster... there's one in Abu Dahbi that goes 150mph! I cannot even begin to imagine that ride.

A tear came to my eye when you mention Wild Thing, don't even get me started about the High Roller :( I miss them both.

07-14-2011, 01:37 AM
I wonder why there is no criminal liability?
Because having both legs was a park rule, not a government-imposed requirement. That doesn't stop the family from suing the park, it just means that the park didn't violate any goverment-imposed safety rules.

Many moons ago, Great Adventure in NJ had a walk-through haunted castle attraction. Behind the facade, it was just a bunch trailers linked together with black lights and live "spooks" that jumped out at you as you walked past horror scenes. One spring day, there was a fire (suspected arson) and eight kids died inside because they couldn't find their way out. The park/company was charged with manslaughter because they hadn't set up sufficient emergency plans. (Poor emergency lights, exit signs, insufficient exits and no smoke/fire detectors.) The park was found not guilty, but it was still a horrible loss that led to improvements in the process overall. The families settled out of court for the most part.


I always hated that attraction, and one of my nieces would freak out when we would wait outside. The ghouls really scared her badly. (She was very young)