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NEWS: 12 year old girl severely injured in Wisconsin Dells


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For those of you who have been on the ride, how easy is it to judge the height of the next if you're actually up on the platform? Basically if the net was at say 20 feet rather then 40 feet would it be easy for the ride op to tell? Sorry to be playing the devils advocate when so many here seem to want blood, but things like this really make me wonder what the actual facts are. It's fun to speculate, but generally that doesn't get you anywhere.

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http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/08/04/Girl-emerges-from-coma-after-100-foot-fall/UPI-80821280931969/

 

Police in Lake Denton, Wis., said they were considering operator error in a theme park ride accident that left a Florida girl comatose for four days.

 

An attorney for the family of 12-year-old Teagan Marti said she emerged from a four-day coma Tuesday, but was unable to move, The (Fort Lauderdale) South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday.

 

"She has so many spinal fractures," attorney Stuart Grossman said, adding that Marti might be paralyzed.

 

Police said Friday's accident at Extreme World, which the Marti family visited while vacationing in Wisconsin, appeared to be accidental, but that the Sauk County District Attorney's Office will determine whether charges will be filed.

 

Investigators also said they were looking at "operator error by the ride attendant" in their probe.

 

Under Wisconsin safety codes for amusement park operations, it's the park manager's responsibility to train ride operators and test all rides each day before opening to the public. Marti crashed to the ground Friday at Extreme World's free-fall tower when the net designed to catch her failed to rise as she was lifted to the ride's top, the Florida newspaper said.

 

The safety net, Grossman said, is designed to rise off the ground as a rider is hoisted by the tower. When the rider reaches a height of 140 feet, the safety net should be at 40 feet, he said.

 

"For reasons that no one knows, when this device was at about 100 feet, the net had not gone up," he said. "It's also a design defect that would enable someone to release someone before that net goes up."

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In this video from the Green Bay area news, they say Extreme World says the employee is on leave for "mental health issues". This story just keeps getting stranger and stranger. The local NBC news here in Chicago said that the employee was a 33 year old with 15 years experience at the park.

 

I would be on mental health leave too if I caused an accident like this. It would be extremely hard to deal with knowing someone was severely injured due to your inattention.

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I hope the video that they have of the accident will show in detail what really went on. It's so hard to understand this, I want to know how long does it take for the door to open and for you to get lowered down before you drop. I'm sure people on the ground at this point would be yelling the net is not up. If someone was yelling can you here them 100 feet up in the air. It's just so many questions, and how and why did it stop at 100 feet? I just prey for that little girl.

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^ Oh wow, according to the news anchor there is video of this happening. I for one don't want to see it, but it's always a matter of time before it gets published somewhere. I hope it doesn't though.

According to an article that I read, police were reviewing 4 videos of the incident.

 

I really hope that the girl recovers from this accident, it could have been much worse.

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Interesting how the anchor in the video says that the girl saw Terminal Velocity on the Travel Channel and wanted to do it because of that, presumably the same BtC episode some on here have used to reference.

 

The ride was also featured on extreme terror rides,which premiered last year.

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I hope the video that they have of the accident will show in detail what really went on. It's so hard to understand this, I want to know how long does it take for the door to open and for you to get lowered down before you drop. I'm sure people on the ground at this point would be yelling the net is not up. If someone was yelling can you here them 100 feet up in the air. It's just so many questions, and how and why did it stop at 100 feet? I just prey for that little girl.

 

 

I agree, how would the people at the bottom not be yelling that the net is not up? I don't put any blame on her parents, but if the operator began to open the sliding doors wouldn't you start yelling? Then again, who knows if you can hear from up there.

 

This is very sad to me because i was planning on hopefully doing this ride before summer ends but now there's no chance. Unless they make it more safe (aka put sensors so that the doors CANNOT open unless the net is at a certain height, add a air pillow at the bottom in case something like this does happen) My prayers are out to Teagan and her family

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Ok, really? The net wasn't raised at all. REALLY? How fudging distracted/retarded do the ride ops have to be to release her with the net not raised at all??? This could have been easily avoided had the ride ops been doing their jobs.

 

As for the Fail-safe discussion, as far as I know, at the top of the tower (where the rider is released) There is a metal platform with a hole in it that can open and close. Perhaps there could be a way to sync the hole with a sensor. Like this: The door can't open until the net passes a sensor that can tell that it's raised. It seems unnecessary but apparently some people are too stupid to realize when a net is raised or not... I mean seriously, WTF!?!

 

That is a great idea. Once the net is high enough, it passes a proximity sensor that allows a solenoid to engage to unlock the doors on the platform, the default or failsafe is the solenoid is de energized until the sensor is tripped. That way they cant let a guest jump unless the net is high enough, even if they are complete morons. Doesnt seem too difficult to me, actually its very simple.

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Ok, really? The net wasn't raised at all. REALLY? How fudging distracted/retarded do the ride ops have to be to release her with the net not raised at all??? This could have been easily avoided had the ride ops been doing their jobs.

 

As for the Fail-safe discussion, as far as I know, at the top of the tower (where the rider is released) There is a metal platform with a hole in it that can open and close. Perhaps there could be a way to sync the hole with a sensor. Like this: The door can't open until the net passes a sensor that can tell that it's raised. It seems unnecessary but apparently some people are too stupid to realize when a net is raised or not... I mean seriously, WTF!?!

 

That is a great idea. Once the net is high enough, it passes a proximity sensor that allows a solenoid to engage to unlock the doors on the platform, the default or failsafe is the solenoid is de energized until the sensor is tripped. That way they cant let a guest jump unless the net is high enough, even if they are complete morons. Doesnt seem too difficult to me, actually its very simple.

 

 

Or even more simply, why not attach a cable to each corner of the safety net so that they are the right length to be tight when the net is at the correct height, this would have a double effect of holding the net still in strong windy conditions. Thus the operator would know the net was at the right height when the cables are tight. Simple but effective?

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^It would have to be some sort of electronic fail safe, just like you can't set of nuke's without two keys, the net would need to be in proper position to set off a sensor that would then allow whatever to happen. I'm not familiar with the procedures of the ride, but I would think to make this idiot proof, you should have the net in proper position even before the "rider" is allowed up the elevator. Pretty much you need to eliminate the possibility of human error.

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However, when Teagan was released, she was only 100 feet up, and the net was fully on the ground

Two things:

 

1. This is very, very sad and I feel very bad for the family. I look forward to hearing about the girl's recovery, and personally, I hope some prosecution is brought to the ride op for negligence.

 

2. Robb and Elissa were right.

 

--Robb "Why do so many people doubt us?" Alvey

 

 

1.) The "prosecution" is being performed via capitalism - the park is folding into foreclosure. (But I know what you mean - especially when the word "negligence" is used)

 

2.) Your other question, however, I do not have an answer to...

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God, that video with the father. You can just see the pain on his face.

 

I'm sure the ride-op doesn't feel very good, and I'd be suffering from "Mental Health Issues" if I had practically killed a 12-year old girl simply because (it seems) I couldn't take 3 seconds to see if the net was in place.

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However, when Teagan was released, she was only 100 feet up, and the net was fully on the ground

Two things:

 

1. This is very, very sad and I feel very bad for the family. I look forward to hearing about the girl's recovery, and personally, I hope some prosecution is brought to the ride op for negligence.

 

2. Robb and Elissa were right.

 

--Robb "Why do so many people doubt us?" Alvey

 

 

1.) The "prosecution" is being performed via capitalism - the park is folding into foreclosure. (But I know what you mean - especially when the word "negligence" is used)

 

2.) Your other question, however, I do not have an answer to...

The park was going into foreclosure prior to this accident. The two are not specifically related.

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More info

 

http://www.wiscnews.com/wisconsindellsevents/news/local/crime_and_courts/blog/article_6f21c6ee-a191-11df-8609-001cc4c002e0.html

 

The Lake Delton Police sent its report of last week's accident at Extreme World's Terminal Velocity to the Sauk County District Attorney's Office Friday, and the Department of Commerce has not completed its reports or determined if the ride will reopen.

 

Chief Tom Dorner wrote in a press release his department would confer with D.A. Patricia Barrett's office to determine how much, if any, of the police report is released to the public before the DA reviews the case for possible criminal charges. According to a report by WKOW-27, the ride's operator has been identified as Charles Carnell, 33, of Wisconsin Dells.

 

Lt. Janet Klipp would not confirm or deny Friday that Carnell was the operator who dropped 12-year-old Teagan Marti 100 feet July 30.

As for the four homemade videos of the fall, Dorner wrote that the department was expecting to have copies of the videos by late Friday. Lake Delton Police had the Department of Criminal Investigation remove the videos from recording devices.

 

Department of Commerce inspectors returned to Extreme World Thursday for the third time to continue its investigation into Marti's fall to the ground, owner Bill Anderson said.

 

Anderson and Commerce representatives discussed possible protocol changes for Terminal Velocity, but Anderson said he didn't want to comment on the new protocol because "many options" were discussed.

 

Maintenance at 2 a.m.

 

Extreme World maintenance workers were at the park around 1:53 a.m. Thursday working on Terminal Velocity, according to a Lake Delton informational police report.

 

Officer Lucas Killick said he noticed the ride's lights were on, and "based on the unusual circumstances" he decided to investigate. Killick spoke with track Manager William Whitt, who said workers were repairing the ride's control arms. The arms, Whitt said, are located on the ride's four outside support columns and are used to evenly guide the drop net support wires when the net is raised, the report said.

 

Anderson said the work was routine maintenance that was done because he knew inspectors were coming later on Thursday. "I said, ‘We are going to be inspected, let's start from point zero,'" he said. "We didn't have to do it." Whitt told Killick that the control arms hadn't been replaced in the ride's eight year history and were rusted "beyond the ability to turn them."

 

Extreme World reopened Sunday, but Terminal Velocity remains closed. The ride cannot be reopened without approval from the Department of Commerce, which officially closed the ride. Anderson added, "I don't know if they will even open it."

 

According to a spokeswoman in the Commerce communications office, the state's report isn't expected to be completed until the end of next week.

The office did release a one-page amusement ride accident report this week, which was signed by Anderson, that says Marti "was released by the ride operator before the net was raised to its proper height. Protocol was not followed."

 

According to Commerce, amusement rides inspections include the following things:

 

-- Inspection of the foundation to make sure the ride is level and erected according to manufacturer's requirements

-- Complex rides are inspected during the ride's erection.

-- Inspection of the power transmission, power electrical supply, the loading and unloading area and the ride for health and safety concerns.

-- Inspectors look at shafts, cables, drive sprockets, idler pulleys, sweeps and other mechanical features to ensure safe operation of the ride.

-- Inspectors check seat belts, straps, sharp edges and other unsafe items to ensure safety.

 

Terminal Velocity has not failed an inspection in its eight-year history, and was last inspected June 28. This was the first serious accident at the park since it opened in 1993.

 

ADMIN EDIT: I went ahead and added the story so people didn't have to jump to read it. In the future feel free to quote the story after you link to it. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's an update for those of you following the story.

 

www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/18/amusement-park-worker-cha_n_686514.html

 

MADISON, Wis. — An amusement park worker "blanked out" and never saw an all-clear signal before he let a Florida girl plunge 100 feet to the ground on a free-fall ride, according to a criminal complaint.

 

Prosecutors charged Charles A. Carnell, of Lake Delton, with one count of first-degree-reckless injury, a felony punishable by up 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

 

Sauk County Circuit Court Judge James Evenson on Wednesday set Carnell's bail at $1,000 cash with the conditions he have no contact with the girl or her family. The judge also ordered Carnell not to operate the park's free-fall ride, bungee jump or ejector seat ride.

 

Carnell's attorney, Christopher T. Van Wagner, didn't immediately return a message left at his Madison office.

 

The complaint, filed Tuesday, said Carnell, 33, was the dive master on the Terminal Velocity free-fall ride at Extreme World in Lake Delton on July 30. The ride offers patrons a chance to free fall about 160 feet into a net and air bags.

 

Twelve-year-old Teagan Marti of Parkland, Fla., entered the ride the morning of July 30. Carnell told investigators he rode in the cage with the girl and two others.

 

At some point the cage stopped and was lowered slightly, Carnell said. He looked over the side of the cage and saw a co-worker blowing up the air bag.

 

The cage began ascending again, then stopped. Carnell said ground workers typically will halt the ascent to add more air to the air bags.

 

After the cage stopped the second time, Carnell said he was supposed to look over the side of the cage and extend his arms, signaling all-clear to workers on the ground. A ground worker was supposed to return the signal, telling him the air bags were ready.

He said he didn't look and didn't get the signal from the ground. He said he "totally blanked out" and didn't know why.

 

When he looked through a trap door in the cage, he thought the bags were inflated. Witnesses, however, said the bags weren't inflated and the safety net was on the ground.

 

Carnell then prepared Teagan to drop through the trap door. He unhooked her safety device and she fell to the ground. He said he heard a thud and saw her land on her back.

 

He said he realized then the cage wasn't at the proper height, estimating she probably fell about 100 feet rather than the full 165 feet.

 

Police said they found the girl on the ground under the ride. Her skin was gray, her lips were blue and she was bleeding from the mouth, ears and nose.

 

Doctors said she suffered swelling in her brain, multiple severe fractures of her spine and pelvis and lacerations to her liver, spleen and intestines. They told investigators she could end up paralyzed.

 

The girl was listed in critical but stable condition Wednesday at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, hospital spokeswoman Ellen Schwenn said. She declined to release any additional information, citing health privacy laws.

 

Stuart Grossman, an attorney for Teagan's family, said the ride needs a fail-safe mechanism that warns operators when the cage has reached the correct height and whether the net and air bags are ready.

 

"It is high time that the state acknowledged that this ride, the way it was operated, was atrocious," Grossman said. "That he could be allowed through carelessness to drop a human being a hundred feet with no net extended is really a moral outrage."

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If that idiot moron is blacking out and doesn't know why he should not be operating anything...ever!

 

Oh so NOW they think it should have a failsafe... it should have had a failsafe to prevent this in the first place..... Frikin duh!!!

 

He said he "blanked out," not "blacked out," which to me means he is saying he doesn't know what he was thinking when he violated procedure. It could be interpreted in different ways,

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Unfortunately there will always be human error at any ride, no matter how trained the operator is.

 

All it takes is something like a bad night's sleep, or not enough sleep, for an operator to lose sight of what's happening for a split second during their shift. There's no way to stop these things from happening (you can't exactly set a bed time for your employees), but you can install better failsafe devices that could stop anyone from getting hurt should there be some kind of human error.

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