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NEWS: Vekoma SLC at Magic Springs Injures Employee

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HOT SPRINGS - An employee of Magic Springs & Crystal Falls Theme Park sustained severe injuries Saturday after becoming trapped for approximately two hours in the mechanism of a park ride.


The Gauntlet is an 11-story looping roller coaster that began operating at the park last year. The 2,200-foot-long ride features harnesses that partially suspend passengers through 100-foot climbs and drops and five inverted loops at speeds up to 60 mph.


The ride had been working normally all day, said Daniel P. Aylward, chief operating officer and president of Themeparks LLC of Louisville, Ky., Magic Springs' owner. But about 1:30 p.m. a malfunction occurred in the ride's braking system, he said.


The ride has a safety system that locks up the ride's brakes if sensors detect insufficient air pressure in the braking system, Aylward said.


The brakes locked up and the ride was halted just before about a dozen passengers were to depart on the unloading platform. A lift was used to remove the passengers from the ride. No passengers were injured.


"Our maintenance crew began working on the brake system," Aylward said. "While they were doing that, the ride shifted and one of our employees was caught by the ride." The employee was not identified.


Hot Springs Fire Chief Ed Davis said the first company on the scene reported the man's legs were trapped along the tramway, between the wheel assembly and the ride's support structure.


"It was a very, very difficult rescue," Davis said, adding some of the ride's wheels and structural tubing had to be cut away to facilitate extrication. The man sustained "a considerable amount of trauma to the lower legs," Davis said, but he remained conscious while being attended by paramedics throughout the extrication process.


Once he was freed, he was lowered to the ground and then airlifted to St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center by a Baptist Health Center Med Flight helicopter which had landed on the U.S. 70 access road in front of the theme park.


A hospital spokesman said late Saturday that the man's condition was listed as critical but stable. "This is really the first injury of substance we've had and we're very concerned all the time that every safety procedure is followed," Aylward said. "Safety has always been our number one priority and it's going to continue to be. Hopefully, this incident will never be repeated."

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he could sue vekoma and make them go bankrupt!

i will be praying for this to happen, if anyone wants to join me


Even thought I agree on SLC beeing painful and I myself don't like them either, I have to say they're economical great rides for smaller parks...


And always remember that we would have a lot less, if even any, sweet B&M and Intamin without Vekoma...

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Geez guys... C'mon Vekoma has made more than their share of turkeys but heck they make some decent products as well... I seem to remember a post about a certain Booster Bike model being a lot of fun.


I dunno but personally we have too few companies making coasters as it is. Vekoma may not be the BMW of coasters but it certainly isn't the Yugo you guys make it out to be...

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I'm waiting for the day that the first SLC gets scrapped for good - I'll have the champagne on ice!


Devil!! The SLC is a great little ride, and with hte new chassis and axles on the cars - apparently quite smooth.


The jaws of life can cut through a roller coasters structure? Wow those things are powerfull.


Nah, it will probably have been some walk way or smaller structures, you'd never get through a coaster track tube with them, you'd need a "BIG FOOK OFF" cutting disc, and it would take forever to get through the thing, so if they had to cut the track, they'd use that and not the jaws.

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Crikey, poor bloke.


I read or heard somewhere recently that Vekoma have scrapped the new SLC chassis and are back to the old ones. If true, that's good news for me, as I prefer the old Arrow style central pivot chassis to newer Ackermann style ones. They're just so funky to watch during the ride!

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