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Six Flags Darien Lake (SFDL) Discussion Thread


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I think that there will probably be no major difference in operations. They could make up for the time lost reviewing regulations by having a 15min overlap between operators shift. During the last 15min of the previous operators shift the incoming operator will review safety instructions. Of course I think it's an overreaction, but if it has to be done let it be done.

 

The only thing that will probably be an apparent change is the new signage put up around the ride. After I get back from vacation I'll head out to DL and try to get some pictures if somebody hasn't already.

 

Glad to hear that RoS is back in operation

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Ah yes, once again our education system fails. Why isn't it that we (schools AND parents)(also as Americans) teach our youth to be responsible, act responsible, and be dependable. Now, we have the government (albeit in this case possibly rightfully so) stepping in to pound regulations into the heads of people who should, on their own accord, follow the rules and regulations as they've been taught. I'm afraid to see the future where before someone is allowed to ride, they have to electronically sign a release. It's coming. I have no doubt.

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They've updated the website with the safety requirements too.

 

http://godarienlake.com/rides/thrill-rides/

 

Ride of Steel

 

One of the tallest coasters east of the Mississippi, climbing approximately 208 feet and reaching speeds in excess of 70 mph.

 

Height Restrictions: Must be 54″ or taller and under 76″.

 

Cautions & Special Requirements: Guests must have upper body control, two legs and the complete use of at least one hand. No artificial limbs may be worn. Riders must be within a certain range of size and physical dimensions. Please use test seat before entering queue line. Ride has front and back forces, side to side forces, top to bottom forces, strobe lights in use and is difficult to evacuate because of high catwalks. Do not ride if you have claustrophobia, are afraid of heights or have high anxiety.

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Besides a change in operations and the possibility of slower operations, you can expect a rise in prices at the park to cover the future lawsuit Darien Lake's insurance company will pay for the death. Poor operations of the ride ops to allow a person without their prosthetic legs to ride that ride. Now I never rode it, but I have been on Millenium Force at Cedar Point. I can understand why you need legs to ride that ride. Funny thing is that you only need 1 leg to ride Mantis, but both legs to ride Superman Ride of Steel and MF.

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Just out of curiosity, I just checked the mobile (iPhone) app. The information is updated there as well. In addition they have also released this statement in the mobile app.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort reopened the Ride of Steel on Friday, July 22. Based on the recommendations from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) and the park’s own internal reviews of the tragic accident, several enhancements have taken place.

 

“The safety of both our guests and team members always has been, and remains, our top priority,” said Darien Lake General Manager Christopher Thorpe. “We meet or exceed DOL and manufacturers’ guidelines. We were all devastated by this tragedy and are committed to doing everything we can to prevent something like this from ever reoccurring. To this end, we have enhanced training programs, increased audits of safety procedures and enforcement, and made disability ridership information more accessible throughout the park.”

 

“We offer our continued condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant James Hackemer; who remain in our prayers. Our commitment to our guests is we will continue our sharp focus on safety, providing them with a secure and fun experience, while honoring the lessons we can all learn from the life of Sergeant Hackemer,” added Thorpe.

 

Since opening nearly fifty years ago in 1964, Darien Lake Theme Park Resort has entertained more than 35 million guests. The park invests its greatest amount of time and resources into safety. This incident was the first-ever ride-related fatality to occur at the park.

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Funny thing is that you only need 1 leg to ride Mantis, but both legs to ride Superman Ride of Steel and MF.

 

Mantis has OTSR's rather than Lap bars like on MF or ROS. Mantis holds you in at the shoulders.

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I just went to Alabama Adventure the other day and witnessed at least 5 rider operators doing things that were unsafe. In just 5 minutes in the Rampage station, I noticed two ride operators with IPOD earbuds in their ears, a rider operator let a child jump the track in front of the stationary train, ride operator pretending he was going to throw another's bag onto the track while the train was out in the circuit, and a ride operator actually traveling below the station while the ride was running to retrieve a water bottle that a guest had dropped down there to receive a $20 tip from the guest. No "all clears" from ride ops at all. The Zoomerang ride operators were wearing bluetooth headsets and did not pull on or even touch the restraints once they were locked. I spoke to guests relations and their response was "well sometimes they put their headphones in and remove them if a manager is coming, but they will definitely get written up for not wearing a name tag."

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It's kinda Ironic, how when the operators don't do their part by allowing a man with no legs on Superman and is killed, it is no fault of the park. But when a kid tries to retrieve his hat from Batman: The Ride (Happened 2 times actually) by climbing 2 6 foot fences that say "Danger, Do not enter" and gets killed by an oncoming train, the parents sue the park (Yes we need security guards by every fence in a park). And actually the same thing happened in Italy, and nobody sued. (Oh how I love the legal system in America )

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I was at the park yesterday, expecting the ride to still be closed, as it was for the first half of the day. But at about 3pm from the waterpark I noticed the lift gears moving, then finally an empty train. They sent out a few over the course of an hour or so, then we noticed two maintenance guys riding in the front. A little after 5pm we were over near predator, and noticed people in the station! It was insanely lucky for us to have planned this day before the accident even happened and it worked out that it reopened. The queue has a constantly playing safety spiel, there are two big ride signs up in the station, some tiny signs here and there. Also on the exit ramp, they have a new sign and a plastic holder with disability ridership pamphlets. I was expecting to be stapled pretty hard but surprisingly, no.

 

On another note, the ride is running amazingly.

 

-Nick

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Serious question: how tall could a man with no legs be? Less than 54"?

 

It did say he was not wearing his prosthetics. Shouldn't that have been a reason to not let him ride as he would've been nowhere near the posted height requirement?

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Hackemer family files wrongful death suit

The family of a decorated Iraq War veteran who died after flying out of a roller coaster at the Darien Lake amusement park has decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

 

The family of James T. Hackemer, who was allowed to board the Ride of Steel coaster on July 8 despite having no legs, launched the State Supreme Court lawsuit on Friday against two companies associated with the park.

 

Hackemer, 29, of Gowanda, lost both legs and a hip in 2008 after a roadside bombing in Iraq, where he served as a sergeant in the Army.

 

He died after he was ejected from the 208-foot-high roller coaster during a family outing at Darien Lake.

 

According to family attorney Denis J. Bastible, park employees violated Darien Lake’s own safety rules when they allowed the double amputee to ride the coaster.

 

“They didn’t train their employees to follow the rules and the result was tragic,” Bastible told The Buffalo News. “[Hackemer] leaves two very young children behind, and his family is doing terribly.”

 

Two weeks after the accident, state Labor Department investigators cited “operator error” as a factor in the death. Labor Department officials cited the amusement park

 

for two violations, saying ride operators were improperly trained on safety requirements for the ride.

 

On the day after Hackemer died, his sister, Jody, told The News that she did not blame Darien Lake officials for the death and did not believe anyone at the park was negligent.

 

“We in no shape or form hold Darien Lake accountable,” Jody Hackemer said on July 9.

 

She added that her brother was doing what he truly enjoyed when he boarded the roller coaster.

 

Those remarks were made in the heat of an emotional moment, and the family reconsidered its position after more facts about the accident and the Labor Department investigation came to light, Bastible said late Friday.

 

“The family in no way took this decision lightly,” said the attorney, a member of the Cellino & Barnes law firm.

 

The News was unsuccessful in attempts late Friday to reach officials of Darien Lake or two companies that were named as defendants in the lawsuit.

 

“We were all devastated by this tragedy, and we are committed to doing everything we can to prevent something like this from ever recurring,” Darien Lake General Manager Christopher Thorpe said on July 22.

 

Thorpe said the park is improving its training procedures, doing more safety audits and making information about “disability ridership” more widely available throughout the park.

 

The lawsuit was filed in Buffalo against CNL Income Darien Lake LLC, the Dallas real estate firm that owns the theme park property, and Herschend Family Entertainment, which manages the 3,500-employee park.

 

Bastible said he expects the lawsuit papers to be served on both companies within the week. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Hackemer’e estate, which has his mother, Nancy, as executor and administrator.

 

Herschend Family Entertainment has operations in Georgia and Branson, Mo., and also manages singer Dolly Parton’s Dollywood fun park.

 

The wrongful death suit cites the findings of “operator error” made by both the state Department of Labor and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Neither government agency is pressing criminal charges in the case.

 

Hackemer fell out of the front car of the park’s Ride of Steel coaster as it plunged down the final hill of the ride at about 5:30 p. m. July 8.

 

No civil or criminal penalties were lodged against the park, and the park was given permission to reopen the ride July 22.

 

Under state law, it is too early in the litigation process to demand a specific money amount.

 

Bastible noted that Cellino & Barnes had represented an Olean man who was awarded $4 million by a jury after a 1999 accident on the same roller coaster.

 

At the time of the 1999 accident, the coaster was known as the Superman and the park was under different ownership.

Source

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^This is in no way surprising. Once the park was fined, you knew it was only a matter of time before a lawsuit was filed.

 

I'm sure lawyers were lined up at the families door...and as it turns out, Cellino & Barnes (who advertise non-stop in the Western NY area) are going to be the firm representing the family. No big surprise there either.

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Oh goodie. Another needless lawsuit... Gee, I can smell the OTSRs now coming to RoS.

 

Nothing (And I do mean -nothing-) pisses me off more than meaningless lawsuits, especially by ambulance chasing lawyers. Some worm crawled into the family's residence, and rotted away whatever common sense was left- and let the greed take over.

 

Personally, and this is no offence to his family intended, I do hope they find the suicide note.

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^^^I don't think it is unreasonable for the family to sue by any means. Should they ask for millions? No way. But it is not unreasonable for them to ask the park to foot some of the bill for the expenses. There is no doubt the park is at least partially responsible for this death, which is where our legal system comes in handy...a judge (or lawyers behind closed doors) will decide how much is the fault of the patron, and how much is the fault of the park and pay the family accordingly.

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Oh goodie. Another needless lawsuit... Gee, I can smell the OTSRs now coming to RoS.

 

Nothing (And I do mean -nothing-) pisses me off more than meaningless lawsuits, especially by ambulance chasing lawyers. Some worm crawled into the family's residence, and rotted away whatever common sense was left- and let the greed take over.

 

Personally, and this is no offence to his family intended, I do hope they find the suicide note.

 

Greed? The guy died! No amount of money replaces a loved one, but they absolutely should be suing, because the park was negligent. I hardly think the family is thinking, "Yeah, we lost him, but at least we're going to get rich!"

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^^^I don't think it is unreasonable for the family to sue by any means. Should they ask for millions? No way. But it is not unreasonable for them to ask the park to foot some of the bill for the expenses. There is no doubt the park is at least partially responsible for this death, which is where our legal system comes in handy...a judge (or lawyers behind closed doors) will decide how much is the fault of the patron, and how much is the fault of the park and pay the family accordingly.

 

Greed? The guy died! No amount of money replaces a loved one, but they absolutely should be suing, because the park was negligent. I hardly think the family is thinking, "Yeah, we lost him, but at least we're going to get rich!"

 

Sadly, in this lawsuit happy nation of ours, there's one motive behind every lawyer- and that's M-A-K-I-N-G M-O-N-E-Y.

 

There is a saying out there; "Money may not buy happiness, but it sure does clear up a lot of the hurdles along the way." People tend to lose their sight of the loved ones when the thought of millions of dollars is placed in front of their eyes- and there's plenty of ambulance chasers to ensure there is a pile of money waiting for them at the end of the rainbow. "Sure, you lost your loved (husband, brother, sister, second cousin twice removed related by your great Aunt Peony), but think of it this way: We can be sure that a (park, airline, car company, Mcdonalds) pays out to ensure their memory is never forgotten!"

 

And in the eyes of the lawyers, they call these people 'Marks'

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a judge (or lawyers behind closed doors) will decide how much is the fault of the patron, and how much is the fault of the park and pay the family accordingly.

 

It won't be a judge. It will be a jury or an out-of-court settlement. Definitely NOT a judge. The ambulance/hearse chasers know that juries are far more likely to act on emotion/sympathy for the plaintiff(s).

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