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Six Flags Darien Lake (SFDL) Discussion Thread

P. 408: Predator retracking under way!

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We were at the park on Friday and as we were leaving we saw the ambulance leaving. It is such a tragedy. I do read all the warning signs before going on a ride. The ride in question has a lap restraint and at times you are lifted up off your seat. If you have no lap area, it would not be possible to be restrained. How could the op not know this?

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Here is a video of the News Conference at Darien Lake yesterday.

 

 

Some important questions answered.

 

- The Victim was James T. Hackemer, 29

- He was not wearing any prosthetic limbs upon entering the ride.

- One leg amputated at hip, one just above the knee.

- Department of Labor, Darien Lake, and Sheriffs involved in Investigation.

- It was on one of the hills, possibly the first airtime hill after the drop (from what I gathered).

- The ride was traveling an estimated 50mph.

- The ride will re-open after department of labor investigation and when DOL deems ride able to open.

- Passengers on the ride were taken to safe area and interviewed after incident.

- The rest of the park will be open today.

- Nothing Mechanical appeared to go wrong.

- The restraint system was functioning.

- Darien Lake Staff first on scene, sheriff on scene few minutes after police were called.

 

Also here is the WIVB interview with one of the passengers on the ride, his comments were quoted earlier in the thread.

 

EDIT: Here is another video that will give some insight into the life of the victim, a wonderful person.

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It is really sad to hear about something like this, especially when he gave so much for our country.

 

But, at the same time, we all know our limits. Someone who has suffered a heart attack might not ride certain rides because, well, they have a medical condition. Someone who is too large might not ride a certain ride because they are too big (and I've read the rule signs where this is stated).

 

Somebody screwed up big time.. the operators? Or?

 

I know everyone is sue happy in our society, and quick to point their finger, but wow, how was he let on this ride?

 

Aren't there rules that state (at least for certain rides) that you must be physically able to put your self on the actual ride, without any assistance? That was clearly not the case with this guy.

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Having done this many years, I don't just see an entire platform, of at least 2 people, let a man ride with no legs. It would have to have been everyone's first day to let something like that go.

 

But not every ride operator is necessarily as astute or caring as you are.

 

That's no excuse - when you're operating a dangerous piece of machinery, you have to pay attention to everything.

 

Cameron.

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My question is does Darien Lake allow handicapped people to go up the exit like other parks do? Is that sign that gives the safety rules to the ride located anywhere in the exit if that is the case? He may not have ignored the rules and warnings because there may not have been a sign stating them anywhere on the path he entered the ride through.

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My question is does Darien Lake allow handicapped people to go up the exit like other parks do? Is that sign that gives the safety rules to the ride located anywhere in the exit if that is the case? He may not have ignored the rules and warnings because there may not have been a sign stating them anywhere on the path he entered the ride through.

 

The way the ROS midway is set up you would have to pass the sign to get to the exit. The ride exits through the gift show and the ride entrance with the sign is located just to the left of the Gift Shop. He would have to pass the entrance in order to get to the ride exit.

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I'm still curious where this actually occurred, some things saying he fell "208 feet", which would be from the first drop, something else I saw said he came out of side of the ride during the turn at the bottom, and others saying he came out on a different hill, where it was going about 50 mph, which wouldn't be the first drop or turn.

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My question is does Darien Lake allow handicapped people to go up the exit like other parks do? Is that sign that gives the safety rules to the ride located anywhere in the exit if that is the case? He may not have ignored the rules and warnings because there may not have been a sign stating them anywhere on the path he entered the ride through.

 

The way the ROS midway is set up you would have to pass the sign to get to the exit. The ride exits through the gift show and the ride entrance with the sign is located just to the left of the Gift Shop. He would have to pass the entrance in order to get to the ride exit.

 

Thank you for clearing that up I have seen quite a few rides where the exit is in another area and a person going through that way wouldn't see the signs at all.

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The on ride photo is at the very end of the ride before the last bunny hill. If his entire body fell out of the ride though, I'm not sure what you'd see in those pictures

 

You would see pictures of people losing their minds because what looked like half of a man was thrown from the train. Bet there weren't a whole lot of hands in the air after that!

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This is operator error, no matter how you look at it.

 

Not only is it Dariens Lake policy to reject an anyone with amputations on the legs, but it's also Intamins. The operators should have been trained over these guidelines and been tested later. Yes, the man is also at fault for not knowing these policies but operators are there to catch things out of place/ wrong and the operators weren't doing their jobs correctly. It should have been obvious to them that when you have both legs amputated, one being at the hip and the other above the knee, that a LAP bar cannot properly secure someone going 70mph (Especially when that person has no lap.)

 

I know it's still too early to blame anyone, but right now the op's look to be the blame and DL will pay dearly for this. What a tragic event.

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From a legal standpoint, warning/rules signs really don't mean jack and don't absolve the ride ops/park of liability. Those signs are put up to try to protect the park/Intamin from liability before it happens, but they don't protect the park, really. It's like those Caution: Wet Floor signs in stores. If someone slips and falls right beside the sign, you'd better believe the store is still liable. The rider used poor judgment, but the ride ops should not have let him ride.

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Another quick update. Judging from this interview the family appears to be dealing with this tragedy remarkably well. As bad as the situation is, it appears that all parties involved (Darien Lake, Family, Investigators) are dealing with it very well.

 

 

Also, here is another news report on the accident with witness reports. However, the witnesses are very young and make some statements that make the ride appear unsafe... When I rode ROS a week ago the restraints felt very secure and very safe. I however make sure that my restraint is securely fastened and as tight as comfortably possible.

 

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As incredibly tragic this event is the girls in the second youtube video really made me mad. They made ROS's restraints sound incredibly unsafe and flimsy when really they are perfectly safe like all Intamin rides. I feel that all parties are responding well but everyone knows why this tragic accident happened and I feel that Darien Lake is getting an incredibly bad deal out of this and especially ROS, arguably the best roller coaster in New York.

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This story hit the local news tonight. Mom called, was all "did you hear someone fell out of a coaster in NY today?" Yes mom, that was last night. Her reaction, they should install handicap seating on coasters.... *facepalm*

 

Ummmm- not a facepalm. I for one think there should be some sort of seating on -every- major ride for people with disabilites/challenges. It doesn't have to be always used as such- but a seat that could be easily, quickly and safely modified for guests who need additional restraints (Amputees) or who can't easily get into/out of a seat.

 

Being handicapped myself, I find that a few rides DO have adaptations for getting into/out of seats- and differently built restraints. Volcano:TBC for example, has one seat on each train where the side-bar for the leg can be lowered out of place- making it easier for me (and others, I'm sure) to get onto/off of the ride. There are two restraints- on the side and in front, to prevent any problems along the way.

 

While I don't stand there and scream EVERY ride should be handicapped accessible (It's simply NOT practical, even if well designed) it should be a consideration for all rides. I'm not going to cry if a park has a ride I can't go on due to the seats/restraints- nor will I force a park to let me on if I can't ride.

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^Interesting and well written post. There are certain coasters out there that do have accommodations. Another I remember is the 'side cars' on the motocoaster at Dreamworld quite clearly, seemed like a great idea. I also agree with you though that it would be terribly impractical to mandate handicap seats on EVERY coaster/ride out there.

 

The story just gets stranger and stranger though. The family seems to be coping almost too well with the whole thing.

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Perhaps I'm reading into it a bit much, but the reporter says something pretty intriguing in the first video. It's about 50 seconds in, she says, "He made up his mind that he wanted to get on the Ride of Steel, and that was that. Once he made up his mind to do anything, his sisters say, there was no denying him." I wonder if he was denied, but maybe started to make a scene and complain so they let him go?

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^Perhaps that is the case. More details will come in time.

 

I just hope that this serves as a lesson for all. For guests, that your safety is important. You're not invincible, safety measures are in place but those mean nothing if you are reckless. For Darien Lake, there is room for improvement (not just in rider safety). Making company policies clearer and informing employees of how to react to any number of situations. Training and testing employees on policies and procedures is important.

 

After visiting the park last week, Darien Lake could defiantly use some improvement. After watching a girl with a head laceration wait almost 10 minutes in the motocoaster station before getting medical attention really was the last straw for me. It is my home park, but I'm not exactly proud of it. It's not a bad park, it just has so much potential.

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