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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

P. 401: Herschend Enterprises named majority partner and park operator

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If there was suddenly a rush of elevator cables snapping and elevators plummeting in skyscrapers, would we be having these same types of things happening?

 

I don't understand what you mean here. If you mean there will be a bigger push to regulate elevators in skyscrapers, I'd say "yes."

 

There is no way to prevent accidents from happening, hence the name accidents. It just bugs me in this sue happy country that things like this get so blown out of proportion.

 

This would depend on the nature of the "accident," wouldn't it? If this horrible incident happened due to SFKK using faulty cables or failing to inspect rides adequately--or due to a flaw in the ride itself--the family would have every right to sue.

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This would depend on the nature of the "accident," wouldn't it? If this horrible incident happened due to SFKK using faulty cables or failing to inspect rides adequately--or due to a flaw in the ride itself--the family would have every right to sue.

 

Exactly. A products and negligence claim.

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This would depend on the nature of the "accident," wouldn't it? If this horrible incident happened due to SFKK using faulty cables or failing to inspect rides adequately--or due to a flaw in the ride itself--the family would have every right to sue.

 

Yes, you are correct. What I was more referring to is that things like this cause people to get outrageous and sue for anything, especially the stupid stuff. What if someone breaks their finger on a roller coaster because they are goofing off and trying to get free of the harness? Nowadays, you could find a lawyer to sue anyone for your own stupidity, that's what I was referring to.

 

And as far as the elevator thing, it was just an example. I knew the first person to respond to my post would be Jaco, just because he has nothing better to do, I believe his signature states all we need to know about him, but anyway, it was just an example of how if something like that happened, the media would completely blow it out of proportion (like the SFKK accident) and cause mass hysteria all around while the actuals numbers are greatly less than what they make it seem. That's what I was getting at.

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And as far as the elevator thing, it was just an example. I knew the first person to respond to my post would be Jaco, just because he has nothing better to do, I believe his signature states all we need to know about him, but anyway, it was just an example of how if something like that happened, the media would completely blow it out of proportion (like the SFKK accident) and cause mass hysteria all around while the actuals numbers are greatly less than what they make it seem. That's what I was getting at.

 

Nice. Bait a mod. Very cleaver.

 

As for the signature, it's from Brad Paisley's song "So much cooler Online." It's a wonderful ode to those who pretend to be something they're not. Trust me, I'm not cool. Not even on here.

 

And finally, I handled general liability claims for over five years, I was only pointing out that your example wouldn't have much of an argument legally. Just trying to put my CCLA to good use, as it's worthless to me now that I've gone over to underwriting.

 

We're litigious, BUT the plaintiff still has to present a case where the defendant didn't do due diligence. In this particular case, I'd say SFKK is in a heap of trouble, and the family has a right.

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Just reading the facts that are out there about this accident, it really reads as though it should be a text book negligence case.

 

I would be very shocked to see this case make it anywhere near trial, I'm sure Six Flags is going to want to settle and make this as painless as possible for themselves.

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Listening to that interview made me wonder, how much will this become a state's rights issue? I mean, I don't know a lot about amusement park safety laws, but are there basic, federal, minimum standards of safety and then the finer details determined from state to state? Or is solely the state's responsibility?

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Nowadays, you could find a lawyer to sue anyone for your own stupidity, that's what I was referring to.

 

It's true. The solution? Petition universities to reduce the number of law school seats. Less lawyers = less time to pursue bogus cases. There are, as the SFKK case illustrates, legit cases out there, just not enough to keep the glut of lawyers busy.

 

Unfortunately, law schools are a big money maker for universities as they can charge medical-school-like tuition while the cost of educating a lawyer is relatively low. So, don't expect to see them cut back seats any time soon.

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You know, I'm all for better safety standards and all, but this interview seems like overkill and what really makes theme parks "seem" unsafe and gives the GP the wrong impressions. I feel very sorry for the girl. But seriously, you know going into a theme park, that you are riding on engineered devices that constantly push the limits.

 

If there was suddenly a rush of elevator cables snapping and elevators plummeting in skyscrapers, would we be having these same types of things happening? It seems like they are using the girl and her injury as a jump start to accomplish their own goals.

 

Yes, she got hurt and that's horrible, should it have happened? No, but will it happen again, yes, probably. There is no way to prevent accidents from happening, hence the name accidents. It just bugs me in this sue happy country that things like this get so blown out of proportion. You are at risk anytime you go anywhere of getting hurt or losing your life. That's called life.

 

Not to be a downer, but just seems like they are completely blowing it out of proportion and this Senator or whoever is writing this new bill is using this little girl's injury to jump start his career and gets his name recognized.

 

This is a pretty disgusting post. Jump starting goals and careers? Hopefully you can figure out on your own how that that accusation is so far out there.

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I agree with both sides of this argument, I don't think there is any reason why we shouldn't be trying to make rides as safe as possible, safer rides is a good thing for all of us, however, rides are already safer than many other things in this world so i think people getting sue-happy could cause a lot of problems for the industry and spoil the ride experience for all of us!

 

So I can see both sides of the argument, but really this was just a very unfortunate accident, just like a plane crash or car crash or falling down the stairs, could it have been prevented? probably, but it's much easier to criticize in hindsight!

 

Oh, and I know baiting mods is bad, but I just thought it was amusing that you didn't use the spellchecker on that response!

 

Nice. Bait a mod. Very cleaver.

 

No offence meant!

 

Matt

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  • 2 weeks later...

From Screamscape: 5/30/08 - UPDATE: According to the local news the report for last summer’s Superman: Tower of Power accident has been released and they are placing the blame on both a “faulty cable and slow response by the amusement park ride operator as the largest factors in the accident”. “"In the KDA's opinion, the injuries to the ride patrons probably would have been limited to cuts and scrapes had the emergency stop button been pressed, in accordance with training," the report said. “A loud noise and screams from passengers to stop the ride gave the operator enough time to halt it and avoid serious injuries”.

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What's crazy is that the ride op had roughly 10 seconds to react to pressing the E-stop. It doesn't sound like a lot until you count it out aloud to yourself. From the report:

 

"Inspectors from the KDA timed the travel of the passenger car starting at 45 feet from the ground (the approximate position of the loud noise) and ending during the approximately two second pause at the top of the tower before the freefall (where depressing the emergency stop function would not have stopped the ride) as being at least 10 seconds."

 

I honestly couldn't tell you what I'd do in that position. I do know when working at an automatic carwash we had an employee jump into a car while on the rollers too early, got his foot stuck in the door and I slapped the E-stop button on it so that the door wouldn't hit the dryers and smash his ankle in the door jam. If I had to guess I would have had about 5-10 seconds to react and I was 16 at the time. However I should note that carwash rollers move at a blazing speed of .5 mph compared to S:ToP which moves 100 times faster.

 

It sucks all around, my heart goes out to the girl and her family.

 

~Rob Willi

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I think that in this special case, the family is completely justified in its anger, but only really at its anger at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom itself. Beyond that, they are blowing it totally out of proportion, assuming that every park is always handled the same way as SFKK, which, as we all know well, is far from the truth. I whole-heartedly support parks being as strict as they need to be about safety, but I don't think that this girl understand how awful KK really was in comparison to other parks. I was there the day of the accident, and with the way things were running, I was amazed that something had not happened sooner.

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What I find interesting is that they expected the ride ops to press the button in 10 seconds. I find it even more ironic that they expected the operator to distinguish the sound from the cable snap, to the regular click before the car is released. I found it even more ludicrous that they should also have known from the screaming that something is wrong, even though almost every ride on a drop tower is filled with screams... And also they use the word probably, so how would they have known that the girl only would've suffered from scrapes and cuts if the e-stop button was pushed.

 

I feel bad for the girl and all, but most of all for the ride operator, who will be faced with this incident for the rest of her life. The victim is truly the ride operator, not the girl whose feet got cut off. She is given a second chance to live her life, but the ride op's already has a mark on her permanent record, until the day she dies.

 

They can try and make the rides as safe as they can, but in reality there will always be that one incident that no one could've expected.

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^ yeah, I'd feel worse for her if the ride op wasn't ON THE PHONE while the ride was operating! I know that was grounds for immediate termination at King's Island when I worked there. This is highly unsafe and I think a rule enforced at almost all major themeparks. The ride operator should only be focusing on the ride itself when the ride is in motion! Also when people around are screaming "Stop the Ride!", you should probably err on the side of caution.

 

-James Dillaman

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Please tell me what you didn't agree with dj snow.

 

I too read the entire report, and it said the reason why the op was on the phone was to call emergency services, and to ask about a cord that was flying about.

 

I also find it interesting that the facts aren't straight, especially with the part about yelling "Stop the Ride". In one area it says one of the ride ops yelled it:

 

"When the ride started going up we heard a cord snap and I screamed out "stop the ride"; but it was too late, it was already coming down."

 

But in another area it says only the passengers said it:

 

"The main operator, witnesses, and the ride patrons in section III have all stated the ride patrons in section III were yelling to stop the ride."

 

Not the ride operator yelling to "stop the ride".

 

 

The phrase "stop the ride" is a phrase taken lightly at theme parks. I have been on many rides were various riders yell "I'm gonna die", "Help me, Help me", or even "Stop the Ride".

 

It is not that the e-stop break wasn't pushed, it was that it wasn't pushed fast enough.

_________________________________

 

I find it difficult to base judgment on varying perspectives, especially if you weren't even at the ride when it happened, observing every little detail that preceded the cable snap.

 

Like I said, I feel sorry for the injured girl, but even more sorry for the two minors that are not even considered adults, that will be faced with the charge.

________________________

 

Just trying to put myself in others shoes...

 

 

What would you have done?

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the reason why the op was on the phone was to call emergency services, and to ask about a cord that was flying about.

 

She shouldn't have had to call to ask if the wire flying around was dangerous; she should have stopped the ride as soon as she saw it.

 

I also find it interesting that the facts aren't straight, especially with the part about yelling "Stop the Ride". In one area it says one of the ride ops yelled it.... but in another area it says only the passengers said it

 

Nowehere does the report say that only the girls were screaming. It says that both the girls and an op were yelling for the ride to be stopped, and the Main Operator purposefully decided not to.

 

The phrase "stop the ride" is a phrase taken lightly at theme parks. I have been on many rides were various riders yell "I'm gonna die", "Help me, Help me", or even "Stop the Ride".

 

There's a difference between one or two riders jokingly yelling things like 'Stop the ride' and a group of people all frantically screaming 'Stop the ride!' Judging from the report, the latter was closer to what happened.

 

 

 

To me, this just goes to show that even in cases where the fault is mechanical, human intervention could have stopped the accident.

 

Condolences to everyone involved.

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I can understand the idea of being frozen in fear or hesitation after seeing the cable snap but the ride is still crawling upward during the cycle. That surely seems safer than the unknown of what would happen of letting it all go, the forces multiplying to that of the intensity of gravity taking over. We know what happened but with this snapped cable now presenting a cycle not seen before out of safety E-stop should have been pressed as soon as possible.

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In reading over the past couple of pages of posts, there are quite a few points I would like to address-as a theme park enthusiast, a former park employee (PKI in the late 90s) and (most importantly) as a MOM!

 

I have observed many times over the years, ride ops "do their thing" (check restraints, close gates, etc) and then push the button and go on about their business (which can include talking horsing around with coworkers). In many cases they are not watching the actual operation of the ride. The question I have is this... shouldn't that be a requirement? I have been in wave pools and lazy rivers in the same park's water areas and the lifeguards are required not to take their eyes off the water. Shouldn't it be the same for rides?

 

To that, I agree with two points made in earlier posts #1...if every time a patron yelled "Stop the ride", nothing would operate. From punk kids horsing around, to scared girls dragged onto rides by friends or boyfriends, I have been in line for many rides where I have heard someone yell this out in jest... however #2, a loose cable hanging from a ride COMBINED with anyone yelling to stop the ride should have resulted in an immediate e-stop. A loose thing on ANY ride, in my opinion, is worthy of a stop and a call to maintainance. I cannot fathom that if the ride ops were paying attention to the rides ascent and saw the broken cable that there would not have been time to stop the ride and prevent this tragedy.

 

On the subject of politicians futhering their career by pushing for the regulation of amusement parks, and the involvement of the Feds, I challenge whoever was offended by the mere suggestion to find me a politician who doesn't enjoy TV face time to get his or her cause du jour out to the media. Please! Have you not seen three people named Hillary, Obama and John?? Of course they have ideas and plans that would improve the lives of the general public, but they are also furthering their careers. Any congressman, senator or other public official who can put a family on tv such as the Lasiters and rally the GP around the cause will do it in a heartbeat.

 

Sadly, the bottom line here, to me, is that there are probably far too many ride ops out there like the young people at SFKK who are either A) not paying attention or B) ill-prepared to react in an emergency, or both.

 

It's a shame this happened, but unfortunately this is how accidents do happen.

 

Shari

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^ The requirement at KI when I worked there (03-04) was to watch the ride at ALL times when it is in motion. The ride operator CANNOT ever answer a phone, or make a phone call while the ride is in motion. If there is ANYTHING out of the ordinary during a ride cycle (which is easy, because you hear the same sounds and see the same things thousands of times a summer during normal operations) the stressed course of action is Hit the E-Stop and only THEN can you get on a phone to call in a problem.

 

This accident was caused by a faulty or misinspected cable, but could have been a much milder incident (not still being talked about a season later) if the ride operator had been doing her job correctly.

 

-James Dillaman

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