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Six Flags Darien Lake (SFDL) Discussion Thread


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Not sure how the signs are in America but in Australia it clearly says that if you have prosetic limbs or none at all then you are not permitted to ride so shouldn't he of seen the sign first and not of hoped in line? It's not the park's fault or the ride ops it's the idiot who actually hoped on the ride without telling any of the staff about his disability.

 

 

It is the responsibility of the ride ops to ensure that each rider is properly secured by the restraint, and that the rider meets the physical requirements for the ride, including the minimum height. He did NOT meet the "must have two legs to ride" requirement, and because he had no legs, was UNDER the height requirement. All this was obvious to the ride ops, yet they still let him ride.

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This was the article that was on my phone released about an hour ago. I'm unable to post a link to the article due to the nature in which my phone works (which is not to my liking). Basically, the Sheriff says the park violated their own policy, no charges will be filed, nothing was wrong with the ride, and the ride operators are to blame for clearly violating the rules posted at the ride entrance.

 

Sheriff: Theme park policy ignored in vet's death

 

BATAVIA, N.Y. - A double-amputee Iraq War veteran who was hurled off a towering roller coaster to his death never should have been allowed on the ride, but park operators will face no criminal charges despite violating park policy, authorities said Wednesday.

 

Signs at the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort clearly state riders "must have two legs," Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha said.

 

Sgt. James Hackemer died Friday when he was thrown from the last and second-highest of three hills on the coaster. He fell about 150 feet and landed on a grassy area at the park, which is between Rochester and Buffalo.

 

"He didn't have the physical attributes to hold him in," Maha said.

 

Investigators found no criminal activity, including intent. Yet the ride operators, who were not identified, "clearly knew" Hackemer shouldn't have been riding but offered no explanation for why they let him on.

 

"Darien Lake violated their own policies and procedures by letting him get on the ride," Maha said.

 

A promotional photograph taken automatically shows Hackemer's college-age nephew, Ashton Luffred, looking straight ahead in the moments after the accident, his face without expression and his hands on the safety bar in front of him. Authorities aren't releasing the photo.

 

Maha said Luffred was in a state of shock after the accident but told police Hackemer didn't say anything to indicate he was worried about falling off the ride.

 

Maha said park operators clearly violated policy by letting Hackemer on the ride but won't face criminal charges.

 

Civil liability could be determined later if a lawsuit is filed, he said. Hackemer's relatives have said they do not hold the theme park responsible.

 

Maha said the state labor department is still investigating the mechanics and safety of the ride but have indicated to him that the coaster was operating correctly.

 

Hackemer was missing all of his left leg and most of his right leg and was not wearing prosthetic limbs when he was thrown from the ride. The 29-year-old father of two had lost both his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008 and was on a family outing when the accident happened.

 

A funeral service for Hackemer is planned for Thursday in his hometown of Gowanda. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

The car pulled into the loading station with the lap bar and seatbelt still in place, Maha said.

 

The ride is still closed pending the state labor department probe.

 

By CAROLYN THOMPSON Associated Press

 

Edit: Since I could not post a link to the above article, I found this:

 

Batavia, N.Y. - Darien Lake will face no criminal charges in the death of a legless Iraq war veteran who fell from a rollercoaster last week.

 

Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha said Wednesday that the decision was made after his office investigated Sgt. James Hackemer's death and consulting with the District Attorney.

 

Hackemer was killed last Friday when he was thrown from the “Ride of Steel” coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort between Rochester and Buffalo.

 

The 29-year-old father of two had lost both his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008 and was on a family outing when the accident happened.

 

Sheriff Maha said on Wednesday, “Darien Lake violated its own procedures by allowing the man on the ride.”

 

The sheriff said that a guest must have two legs and must have sufficient body strength--and no guests may ride with artificial limbs attached--Hackemer did not have physical attributes to ride the rollercoaster.

 

Maha said, after meeting with labor officials--the ride was determined mechanically sound at time of the accident and Darien Lake is in full compliance with lap bar and seat belt safety restraints.

 

The theme park has no criminal liability in the unfortunate accident, according to Maha, and civil liability can be determined in a court of law.

 

The Department of Labor will do its own investigation into safety, proper operation of rides.

 

 

"We take our responsibility very seriously," said Darien Lake Theme Park Resort General Manager Christopher Thorpe. "We are not going to rush this process. As soon as we have final information on any measures to be taken within the park, we will share those with the public."

 

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This one gets a little more graphic...

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article487295.ece

 

Updated: July 13, 2011, 2:15 PM

 

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort broke its own rules when it allowed double amputee James T. Hackemer to board the Ride of Steel roller coaster last Friday -- resulting in the Iraq war veteran's death, Genesee County Sheriff Gary T. Maha said this morning.

 

"Basically, Darien Lake broke its own standard operating procedures," said Maha, who explained how Hackemer gained access to the roller coaster.

 

Three employees were aware of Hackemer's physical condition, but when questioned by sheriff's investigators, they offered no explanation as to why they didn't intercede and remove Hackemer from the ride.

 

Hackemer, a 29-year-old resident of Gowanda, died when he was ejected from his seat in the lead car on the third hill of the ride.

 

"The force threw him out. He didn't have the body mass to hold him in," Maha said.

 

Sgt. Steven Mullen, the lead investigator in the case, shared graphic details of how the accident occurred.

 

"After being ejected, he hit the front of the car, then hit the track and was thrown forward into a grassy area near Route 77," Mullen said. "The hill is the second highest in the ride, but he didn't come out at the top of the hill. He maybe fell an estimated 150 feet."

 

The cause of death was blunt force trauma, Mullen said.

 

Maha said his investigators worked with state Department of Labor officials, who conducted an immediate inspection of the ride following the accident last Friday afternoon and determined there were no mechanical problems.

 

The sheriff noted that there are signs on both the general entrance to the ride and the exit ramp, which doubles as a secondary entrance for disabled individuals.

 

The signs for the Ride of Steel state: "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. In addition, guests must have sufficient body strength and complete use of at least one arm and hand to hold onto the grab bar. No guests may ride holding anything or with artificial limbs attached."

 

Hackemer's 19-year-old nephew helped him onto the ride. Traveling in a wheelchair, Hackemer approached the boarding area by way of the exit ramp.

 

Riders are secured with a T-shaped lap bar that comes up between their legs. In addition, there's a fabric seat belt.

 

The eight-car ride has a maximum capacity of 32 passengers, but at the time of Friday's accident, there were only 24-26 passengers. Each car in the eight-car train has four seats.

 

Investigators interviewed a number of witnesses who remained near the scene or went to the park's security office to report what they'd seen.

 

The sheriff declared the ride safe, but it will not reopen until state authorities complete their investigation.

 

When asked if Hackemer complained to his nephew about any physical distress during the ride, the sheriff said they received no information to that effect. But the nephew was in a state of shock when he was interviewed, the sheriff noted.

 

Photographs taken of riders as the cars pull back into the station, available for purchase afterward, show only the nephew in the car and that the T-bar and seat belt were in place in the seat where Hackemer had been sitting.

 

Maha said his department's investigation is almost complete, but for a few loose ends.

 

Regarding the possibility of Hackemer's family pursuing a civil liability lawsuit against the park, the sheriff said that would be for the courts to decide.

 

When asked why no criminal charges were brought against the teen-age ride operators, Maha explained there was no demonstration of reckless and negligent behavior by park employees.

 

The sheriff also pointed out that he consulted with the Genesee County District Attorney's Office during the investigation. "There is no criminal liability associated with this incident," Maha.

 

Edited by robbalvey
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When asked why no criminal charges were brought against the teen-age ride operators, Maha explained there was no demonstration of reckless and negligent behavior by park employees.

 

So disregarding the park's and Intamin's policies is not negligence? Learn something new everyday.

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There's just got to be something they're not telling us!?!?

 

How the hell can you not hold the staff and park negligent when you say that they didn't follow their own rules that led to a patron's death!?!? Isn't that pretty much the definition of negligence?!?!

 

Is this park in Florida, and is the guy who died actually a 2 year old girl!?!? (What? Too Soon?)

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I have GOT to start using that in the Games Forums... that or RTFM.

 

Back to DL: As my Lawyer-filled family would say: There's always a lawsuit to be had- as there are more idiots than there are people who think. It's outrageous to me that the patron would even THINK of disregarding the signs, warnings, etc. before boarding a ride. I sort of think this is going to be, however sad, a case of Darwin-Award quality logic going wrong on all sides, and sadly, with the emotional destruction of many along the way.

 

It's not just the family of the deceased I'm thinking of- it's the other riders, park patrons, employees, etc. who are also going to be dealing with this all over.

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Perhaps these teen operators weren't taught or had knowledge of every rule about the coaster. They could have been hired new for the season and have had no experience with an amputee or a supervisor mentioning amputee rules. If this shows anything, maybe it's that all ride operators should read all pre-existing regulations and manuals. IMO, it's a pretty big rule to skip over.

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I'm not familiar with this park but Hersheypark has a volunteer program that allows people to operate the rides. I had all of 30 seconds of training when I was left by myself to operate a kiddie swing ride. On another occasion I was checking the lap bars on Lightening Racer. I would hope they train employees more.

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I'm not familiar with this park but Hersheypark has a volunteer program that allows people to operate the rides. I had all of 30 seconds of training when I was left by myself to operate a kiddie swing ride. On another occasion I was checking the lap bars on Lightening Racer. I would hope they train employees more.

Please don't take offense to this, but that statement TERRIFIES ME! I'm sure you did just fine and were intelligent enough to do it, but what about those who aren't?

 

When I worked for Disney in the 90s, and was allowed to pick up another shift, or be involved in a program that allowed you to work in a different department, like attractions, you were VERY limited on the things you could do, unless you had literally DAYS of training. And most on attractions, you were allowed to be a 'greeter' or helping with crowd control. But at no point were you ever allowed to operate a ride, or have anything that involved rider safety in any way.

 

I operated a Gerstlauer Bobsled coaster during an ERT session a few times, and they literally showed me the controls and let me at it, and that was nerve wracking enough with it being just TPR members! I could never do that with the general public!

 

--Robb

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Robb the ride operator! Sounds awesome! Being one is definitely a job that carries a lot responsibility and sometimes a lot of emotions. I feel like a coaster enthusiast would naturally be more prepared for being a ride operator. For example If I was one, I would gravitate towards understanding everything about the ride (including the ride rules) because it sounds appealing!

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I'm not familiar with this park but Hersheypark has a volunteer program that allows people to operate the rides. I had all of 30 seconds of training when I was left by myself to operate a kiddie swing ride. On another occasion I was checking the lap bars on Lightening Racer. I would hope they train employees more.

Please don't take offense to this, but that statement TERRIFIES ME! I'm sure you did just fine and were intelligent enough to do it, but what about those who aren't?

Cedar Point does it too:

http://www.cedarpoint.com/public/jobs/fund_raising.cfm

 

Its always fun seeing "volunteers" trying to check the heights of kids, checking Millennium Force restraints, or even operating the occasional kiddie ride.

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^Pretty sure all the Cedar Fair parks do it as I've seen these 'volunteers' at Dorney and Valleyfair. Usually they're in pretty basic positions that don't involve too much safety.

 

I agree though I've seen volunteers at kids rides and ride ops on their first day operating kids rides and I just find that unacceptable as watching and taking care of children on mechanical rides is a scary important thing!

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The sad fact is, it costs too much for companies to have workers who are well trained and intelligent, because they know how much money they need to run their lives. Companies would rather have novices and imbeciles working for them, because they'll work for less, and that improves their bottom line.

 

I've been to Darien Lake before, and I've seen the people who work as ride ops. Frankly, most of them seemed to be dim-bulbs to me, so I'm not the least bit surprised that such a terrible thing happened here. Today, I'm even more ashamed to have this park as my home park.

 

Doug "Why the hell couldn't my parents have stayed in Pennsylvania?" Booth.

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After being turned loosed an a coaser, albeit on a team with actual employees, I decided that I would look into other areas of Hershey's program. I wasn't comfortable with having someone's life in my hands. Nor was I sure of how I would handle a disabled person who really shouldn't be riding or a larger peron who doesn't fit in the restraint. I would hope that part of the employee training covers how to politely disallow these "at risk" guests from riding.

At the same time, I feel that the volunteer programs in the parks are a good thing. This program allowed me to help pay for my daughter's VERY expensive cheerleading program. I decided to switch to working the on-ride photo booth at the coasters and ushering at the concerts in the stadium. Both had the extra benefit of free park tickets and the ushering allowed you to stay to see the concert.

 

And Robb- no offense taken I was quite taken by surprise when they let me unattended to run a kiddie ride.

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The sad fact is, it costs too much for companies to have workers who are well trained and intelligent, because they know how much money they need to run their lives. Companies would rather have novices and imbeciles working for them, because they'll work for less, and that improves their bottom line.

 

I've been to Darien Lake before, and I've seen the people who work as ride ops. Frankly, most of them seemed to be dim-bulbs to me, so I'm not the least bit surprised that such a terrible thing happened here. Today, I'm even more ashamed to have this park as my home park.

 

Doug "Why the hell couldn't my parents have stayed in Pennsylvania?" Booth.

 

I can't speak for DL, since I have personally never been there, but I have to agree with Movieguy. AND IT'S SAD. To think that this world is no longer a place that cares about the things and people around them is upsetting. For businesses to be more concerned about their P&L than the welfare of their guests & employees is heartbreaking. I would love to go back to the park I used to work at for the simple fact that I know I can make it slightly better off than it is now. I was a Ride Op - back when people cared.

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