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Six Flags Darien Lake (SFDL) Discussion Thread


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You know what other park is larger and could use a B&M capable of 3 train operation? Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Hopefully all NY amusement parks can open next season.

Most importantly, we'd have Moose on the Loose in December!

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Anyway, this was my first trip to Darien Lake so I'll just give a quick report

 

Walk-ons to 5 min wait for everything, even ROS.

 

-ROS: I really liked it. Nowhere near as good as SFNE's Bizarro but there were still some good moments of air. Are the restraints different from Bizarro's though? I went to SFNE last in October 2010 and I definitely didn't notice shin guards...but on the exit of the second helix and the turn right after the first drop, the shin guards really hurt. It broke down around 2 (stuck on lift hill) but opened around 3. When we tried to go back around 6, it was closed for the rest of the night with security guards blocking it off because of the accident

 

-Predator: rough but not painful. Went on a good few times

 

-Boomerang: not too bad. I forgot how forceful the reverse leg of the ride is though

 

-Mind Eraser: this was OMFG painful. The only other one I've been on is Mind Eraser at SFNE and that wasn't nearly as bad as this one was

 

-Viper: pretty painful too, but nowhere near as bad as Mind Eraser

 

-Motocoaster: this was my first Vekoma motorbike. It wasn't amazing but it was fun, especially for no wait

 

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It's been updated- he was an Iraq war vet who lost both his legs in a roadside blast.

 

Ugh, see, this just bothers me and makes it worse.

 

This was just a no win situation for anyone from the beginning and ended with a death.

 

Imagine the headline and news for Darien Lake if they denied the guy boarding: "Injured Iraq War Vet Denied Roller Coaster Ride" There would have been a lawsuit (if not more than one) and a PR nightmare. And now because they gave into that pressure they have the headline of "Injured Iraq War Vet Killed by Roller Coaster".

 

Seriously, this is just a really bad situation that bugs me on more than one level.

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^I agree with you, it's a PR nightmare either way. In the end though, if they had not let him on the ride, and Darien Lake was sued for that, they probably would have won on grounds of safety. Really it's just common sense. I'm definitely interested in hearing what the ride op's have to say though. They probably did just give in to the pressure.

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Queue my FB news feed blowing up about NEVER RIDIN A COASTER AGAIN.

 

Kinda surprisingly, the comments on Darien's Facebook have been pretty understanding of the situation and not automatically assuming the ride is unsafe.

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I'm definitely interested in hearing what the ride op's have to say though. They probably did just give in to the pressure.

 

 

There is still no insight if the deceased was wearing long pants, which I personally expect to be the case. I don't believe it is very common for double amputees to walk around showing off their prosthetics.

Edited by larrygator
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This is horrible! I just heard about this on the local news at 11! I immediately got the computer and came to TPR!

 

I am supposed to go there on Thursday. It will be interesting to see what happens and if the guy actually had legs.

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I don't know why so many people are assuming he literally didn't have legs. Good to see that people aren't automatically blaming the ride for being unsafe, but just about every other comment on the facebook page is about how Darien Lake let a man with no legs get on a roller coaster

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Sgt. Hackemer was a double amputee, who lost his right leg below the knee and his left leg below the hip. He was at the Darien Lake with his sister and his children.

 

The park says the ride was traveling at about 50 miles per hour at the time Sgt. Hackemer was ejected. He was riding in the front row of the first car on the roller coaster. Investigators say nothing mechanical was wrong with the ride as far as they know. Both the safety harness and bar were checked and appeared to be working properly.

http://www.9wsyr.com/mostpopular/story/Victim-of-fatal-roller-coaster-accident/jM-zd3jWt0yhuwkx4Y1i4A.cspx

 

So basically all that was holding him in was one thigh?

 

I've heard stories of prosthetic legs flying off on rides ever since the PMK episode on coasters back in the '90s, so I can't see that helping.

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I'm definitely interested in hearing what the ride op's have to say though. They probably did just give in to the pressure.

 

 

There is still no insight if the deceased was wearing long pants, which I personally expect to be the case. I don't believe it is very common for double amputees to walk around showing off their prosthetics.

 

 

Yes, very true. However, here's the updated article : http://www.wivb.com/dpp/news/genesee/Crews-at-accident-in-Darien-Lake

 

DARIEN, N.Y. (WIVB) - A trip to an amusement park ended in tragedy for a decorated veteran Friday night.

 

News 4's George Richet says there are very few stories he knows he will never forget. One of those stories is that of Sgt. James Hackemer, the Gowanda High School graduate who lost his legs in the war in Iraq three years ago. He died twice on the battlefield that day when his heart stopped. He believes he saw heaven and hell.

 

Friday night, Sgt. James Hackemer got on the biggest roller coaster in western New York, and during the ride, fell off to his death.

 

Daniel Sommer was on the ride around 5:30 p.m. on Friday about ten seats back. In one of the first seats in the car, he watched a double amputee get in. It was Sgt. James Hackemer, who lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq three years ago.

 

"They were helping him in, and we were on the ride, and we started to go, and we went on the first drop. We were about, probably 75 miles an hour, had to be, coming down from that drop. And on the first turn, this kid with no legs, he flies out of the car," said Sommer.

 

It happened on the first turn after the big drop. Did the workers know he was handicapped?

 

Sommer said, "Yes, they did. They knew he was handicapped. He had no legs.They were very quick about securing people in. They should be more helpful to people. They should be more secure about how the people are secured."

So far, the park isn't saying much about the death of Sgt. Hackemer.

 

"An adult male guest came out of the Ride of Steel roller coaster and we are saddened to report that the guest has passed away. We are currently investigating the situation with our safety experts and local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers, of course, are with the friends and family of the victim," said Darien Lake spokeswoman Linda Taylor.

 

The next big question is: should he have been on that roller coaster? And what roll did his having no legs have in Sgt. Hackemer falling off the ride? Darien Lake is not ready to answer that question yet. However, News 4 spoke with Sgt. Hackemer's mother and father. His mother said, "This is what he wanted to do. He wanted to live."

 

It sounds pretty clear that they knew he had no legs. I don't see anything there that mentions anything about prosthetic limbs either. I wonder if he didn't have any at all. I'm sure we'll know more once the investigation is complete.

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I got the text earlier at work (Via subscribing to TPR's Facebook page) and told my coworker about it. She was from NY, and her home park was Darien Lake. She always told me how awesome the "Superman" was. She was in shock today when I told her that someone fell from it. Not so much in shock that she was saying "Oh noes I'm never riding a coaster again!" but more let down that her favorite ride was involved with a death. I told her that I'd have to look into this and see what exactly happened after, whether if it were a ride malfunction, rider malfunction (which seems to be the case from the short bit I read just now), or a weight issue with a rider. Still won't stop me from riding any Intamin coasters or rides, just like the SFKK Drop Tower incident didn't stop me from riding CGA's tower.

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Here is a picture of the ride sign I took in 2008 where it clearly states:

 

"For the restraint devices on this ride to full and safely engage, guests must have two legs and be within a certain range of size and physical dimension. In addition, guests must have sufficient body strength and the complete use of at least one arm and hand to hold on to the grab bar. No guests may ride holding anything or with artificial limbs attached."

 

ridesign.thumb.jpg.5d264700d9ffa498a9d9506c82b87c58.jpg

 

I have no idea if the ride policy has changed since 2008, but if it hasn't, and this person in fact did not have two legs, why were they let onto the ride?

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Here is a picture of the ride sign I took in 2008 where it clearly states:

 

"For the restraint devices on this ride to full and safely engage, guests must have two legs and be within a certain range of size and physical dimension. In addition, guests must have sufficient body strength and the complete use of at least one arm and hand to hold on to the grab bar. No guests may ride holding anything or with artificial limbs attached."

 

[attachment=0]ridesign.jpg[/attachment]

 

I have no idea if the ride policy has changed since 2008, but if it hasn't, and this person in fact did not have two legs, why were they let onto the ride?

 

Thats the million dollar question right? Same one I stated on my FB...why!?

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Absolutely staggers the mind that he was allowed to ride. I'm still going to give him the benefit of the doubt, because a vast majority of park goers don't read those signs. Granted, he probably should have double checked given his condition, but it's ultimately up to the employees to ensure his safety and prevent him from riding. The GP aren't the ones that should know all the rules, the employees are. This is tragic, indeed.

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Was it possible that the Ops just didn't care/think anything of it? Sounds ridiculously stupid, but aren't there times when we all make really bad choices when we don't necessarily care? Granted-this was a big eff up on their part. He's an amputee, an otherwise normal guest, even if he did lose his legs in the Iraqi War, he still can be told no to protect his safety and well being due to his condition. If a lawsuit was claimed because he was not allowed to ride (probably not by the veteran, because he of all people should realize that there are certain limitations) Darien Lake would win on grounds of safety. Nobody would have been physically hurt that way.

 

EDIT: ^Yes, it's not the job of a guest to know the rules, but it is the responsibility of an amputee to know what the limits of safety are. Roller coasters are insanely safe if you follow all the rules and regulations, but they can and will cause problems when they are ignored.

 

Very tragic.

Edited by mightbeawannabe
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Absolutely staggers the mind that he was allowed to ride. I'm still going to give him the benefit of the doubt, because a vast majority of park goers don't read those signs. Granted, he probably should have double checked given his condition, but it's ultimately up to the employees to ensure his safety and prevent him from riding. The GP aren't the ones that should know all the rules, the employees are. This is tragic, indeed.

 

Quoted for truth...except one thing...

 

If I'm in a situation he is, where I'm pretty far from being "normal", I would personally be checking everything myself just to make sure no one does screw up. You cant aimlessly go through life depending on everyone else to do everything. You are right, the crew is the last line of defense and SHOULD have stopped this there. But I think if you have certain things that should make you think "hmm, I wonder" then you owe it to yourself and the people working (wherever that is) to look or ask questions yourself.

 

I know Americans pride themselves on being ignorant, but we gotta wake up a bit.

 

I feel really bad for the family and the ride ops who will have to live with the fact they let someone on who then was killed while on their watch. That cant be fun.

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Nobody gets special treatment if it's for their own safety in a situation like this. A guest is a guest, and they should all be aware of what they can and more importantly what they cannot do. It doesn't matter if he's an Iraqi War vet, the only place where that makes a difference is the image of the park in court and on the newspaper.

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^^Agreed. It's a very sad situation for everyone involved, and one that unfortunately could have easily been prevented. Hopefully we get more insight as to what was said between the man and the employees, that way it would be a little clearer as to how he was able to board. I would also like to know if he rode anything else during the day. Perhaps he rode something with similar restraints that gave him a false sense of security, not realizing that the ROS trains are much more open than other coasters he may have ridden?

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Sad news indeed. Here's my outlook on this.

 

The ride has a lap bar restraint. This guy had no lap, therefore he should not have been let on the ride. I doubt the sign has changed. The part where it mentions that you need two legs to ride is probably safety standards from Intamin. It makes total sense as well. If you don't have any legs, what is restraining you against the -G forces on the ride?

 

OTSR would likely be a different story though.

 

Just my two cents.

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OTSR would likely be a different story though.

 

Just my two cents.

Which I wouldn't be surprised if you see the park retro-fit the ride with the i305 style trains.

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