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Glenwood Caverns Discussion Thread


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Whale’s Tale water park in New Hampshire has a similar waiver you have to sign.  Originally it was just for their flow rider, but they extended the document to cover just getting into the park more recently.

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Yes, this has been a thing since the first attractions opened in the mid 2000's. It was really mainly because of the Alpine Coaster but it makes logical sense to continue it to all future attractions. Waivers like this wouldn't be necessary if people could behave like descent humans and not sue someone because they ran around in laser tag (against the rules).

It was funny because we'd get lawyers say occasionally it wouldn't hold up in court which it has. I do want to mention the waiver is only needed for the rides. You can ride the gondola and do the cave tours without a waiver.

Anyway, people have started harassing the park of course despite the fact we have no conclusion reached. However evidence is starting to mount that she was trying to wiggle out. The family (whether they were told by a lawyer or know what happened and won't lie) haven't made a statement against the park. They do have a verified GoFundMe which is linked in the article I'm posting.

https://www.postindependent.com/news/gofundme-set-up-for-family-of-child-who-died-at-glenwood-caverns-adventure-park/?__vfz=medium%3Dstandalone_top_pages

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1 hour ago, disownedpear said:

That's really bizarre, so every park guest had so sign a waiver before they entered or what? I've never heard of such a policy. 

There's a similar policy in place at Camelback in the Poconos if you want to ride their mountain coaster (or do any of the other outdoor activities). Surprisingly no such waiver for the Flowrider in their waterpark, but I believe Splash Zone down in Wildwood also requires a completed waiver in order to ride their Flowrider.

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2 hours ago, tndank said:

Short article on the release you must sign and how it may protect the park and leave the family with no recourse. 

https://kdvr.com/news/local/glenwood-caverns-has-been-sued-before-heres-what-their-liability-waiver-meant-for-the-case/

Interesting, makes sense for the alpine coaster and given the example in the video that's a pretty clear cut case of not being the parks liability or fault. This accident is a bit different, but it might/probably does cover the park. I'm curious if it'll cover the manufacturer though, which is a whole different issue I suppose.

Overall, from what I've heard I don't blame the park based on what we know so far. I could kind of see the manufacturer to partially be blamed for not having higher requirements I suppose, even then it's hard to blame. I have a hard time blaming her or the family either, she was six and scared. No one went into this thinking she would wiggle out (if that's what happened) and she might not of even known what the ride did or was going to do. Reminds me of when I was that age and backing out of Tower of Terror because honestly I was worried about this exact thing back then. I could of definitely seen myself trying to get out at that age even if logically it wouldn't of made sense, I chose to wait by the exit though after backing out right before stepping in that elevator.

This whole situation is tragic. I have a hard time saying anyone was negligent, sometimes accidents are just that, accidents. Hopefully they correct the height requirements on all models for this ride moving forward. That seems like the only concrete thing that should be done so far.

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There must be cameras and the ride ops and other guests know if she was scared and trying to get out or not.  The argument will be should the restraint have been enough to stop someone from trying to get out. And that's a worrying part of our litigious society. If all restraints have to become Saw Traps to prevent people who want to get out from getting out we will have a problem. 

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Might of missed the post I talked about this in, but yes, there are cameras monitoring the ride including the top. (I want to say four in total if I remember right.) The argument then becomes when do you shut it down? There is plenty of squirming going on a regular basis so what's the line here? I would agree at some point you would see they are breaking free but it might be too late.

The floor retracts within about five-ish seconds after the show sequence begins. At this point if you break free it's a straight fall. The ops can hit the emergency stop but it won't bring the floor back. That will have to be another button press and time. I can't see a requirement requiring the floor to be called immediately on the e-stop as that could lead to other serious consequences. I'm not sure the ops could of caught her in time, at least one person should have eyes on the cameras at all time. But trying to pick her out and seeing if she is really escaping would be hard to tell. Like I said, people get squirmy all the time. It also might have happened right at the drop in which case it would be impossible for ops to prevent. In this case they would watch in horror.

In regards to Soaring Eagle's liability the waiver isn't a 100% clear and they could capitalize on that possibly. The full waiver is online FYI on the site so read up if you'd like. It will almost certainly clear the Caverns. (Read the seat belt especially.) Am I saying this is all alright if the park is found negligent? No, and I would like to think they would help pay but that opens a whole can of legal worms.

One other thing that annoys me about some of these articles that are now popping up with this attorney is this: “What is the incentive for them to make sure you as a patron is going to be safe?” he said. “The answer is none. They have no incentive.”

What an absolute load of B.S., at least for amusement parks. The incentive is that you don't have a park with a body count. Of course they want to be safe, who would go to a park that reported five deaths in a week? That statement is just a bunch of saltiness.

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^Oh yeah, I'm not faulting the ride ops or the park at all until we know what happened.  I have seen my fair share of parents forcing screaming kids on rides and I hate it as I know they are creating an unsafe riding environment for their own children. One time in Australia I even stayed with a stranger's kid as the parents were trying to force him on a roller coaster crying and I offered to stay off with him so they could ride together which was apparently more important than their child's safety.  I just hope we get a straight answer soon at least confirming if it was a ride related malfunction, rider error, or something else.

 

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^Agreed, every child is different but I can't even imagine convincing our almost 6 year old son to ride this. Not saying it's this incident, but with a ride like this where you drop from the top and the drop is hidden, I can see parents for this kind of ride not telling their children how deep it drops or how fast because I always see it on other rides, where parent's don't tell the children about drops in tunnels on water rides or give the children time to observe how a ride really works because they think the reactions are "cute" or just to trick them into riding so the parents can do it.

20 hours ago, SharkTums said:

 If all restraints have to become Saw Traps to prevent people who want to get out from getting out we will have a problem. 

And will put off a lot of children. My son insisted on riding one of those dragon double helix coasters and wouldn't hear otherwise because he'd seen children riding it on Youtube and after watching it together, explaining it together, him refusing to move on until he tried it... he hated it, and refused anything with a lap bar after that experience for a couple of months afterwards.

It's also worth noting even if your child does like a different ride like a drop tower or even has done it before doesn't mean they'll like it at a different park or on a different day. We used up some ride tickets because our son's favorite ride, apart from bumper cars that he is allowed to drive and bump, is any ride that he can manually spin, and he suddenly changed his mind just as he got in the car on this one just because they were suspended from above and wobbled as he got in. But I'd rather waste the $10 than force him to do it just because we already paid, and have a situation of him panicking while it is in motion. It wouldn't be a pleasant memory for either of us so of course I'm not going to scold him for lost tickets over showing him making a choice of saying no is OK.
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Agree 120% Elissa, when I worked there I would never force a child on and would recommend quite the opposite if they were very scared. I would always explain the ride and we'd go from there.

Park did open back up today. Something I find very interesting is that all evidence of the Mine Drop has been completely removed from the website. As well on Facebook nothing has been said. I get there isn't much to say but the radio silence really isn't the best PR move. A simple message both on Facebook say something like, "The park has reopened, at this time the Haunted Mine Drop will remain closed until further notice." Just flat out removing it from the site is just showing people you are trying to hide something and doesn't look good.

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Back in the early 90s when I was working on the Cedar Point Blue Streak (when it was a true classic with a single bench seat, miss those coasters so much!  Not to mention the fully manual operation), a dad was pulling his kid on the ride.  We already saw the kid crying in the queue (inside the front of the once beautiful station) so we were on guard.  There were only 3 crew positions on the ride (still managed over 1,200 pph) but we would do our best to intervene when we saw this.

The kid was having a real meltdown; the dad plopped down first and was pulling the boy in - in one swoop I grabbed the kid, pushed the dads lap bar down and said "he can wait with me" with a big smile.  Off the dad went (we had seconds to load/send a train in those days, if we didn't want a shutdown) and I had the kid step back against the queue fence while I quickly loaded the next train.  His tears stopped and he calmed down.  I walked the kid down the overlow/chicken exit to meet his dad at the unload.  People lining and my 2 co-workers up were happy I got that kid out.

Back then you were treated as an authority figure as a ride operator - we were trained that way at Cedar Point.  If someone pulled a kid out today - even touch the kid - it could be a huge fuss and perhaps a fight/lawsuit.  Times were different and people had more sense.  As for my notes on Blue Streak operation - it's too hard to resist as it also required basic common sense - again, things are different now.

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I have not made it to Glenwood Caverns so I am unsure on the exact operation or design of the ride.  But I am reminded of Soarin at Disney since it also only has a seat belt.  What they do for smaller individuals is have a strap between the legs which you put the seatbelt through.  Adults just ignore the strap since it is not needed.  That would likely prevent a smaller individual from sliding downward or squirming out.

Having said that no one should ever be forced onto a ride.  I have no idea what the circumstances behind what happened are.  But if the rider did not want to be there they should not be on the ride.  Restraints are not there to protect you from yourself, they are there to keep you safe from the normal operation of the ride.  There are a lot of rides, mostly older but they were designed with the idea of personal responsibility in mind.  PTC Buzz Bars for instance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

https://www.denverpost.com/2021/09/24/glenwood-caverns-death-child-ride-operator-error/

Well investigators know exactly what happened and how it happened.  The ride worked as designed and it was not an issue with the design.  Reading this felt like reading the report after the accident on Smiler.

The operators failed to unbuckle seatbelts from seats which were not occupied during the previous ride cycle.  The girl sat on the belts and when the operators checked the belts they did not notice she was sitting on it.  Then the ride generated an error and would not start the cycle.  A second operator arrived and unlocked the belts, removed and reinserted the locking rods, without fixing the fact that one of the guests was sitting on the belts.  Then they reset the rides system to reset the alarm and dispatched the ride.

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This is tragic and this is going to be a problem for the park now. I'm not going to put any on the parents or whoever the little girl was riding with, but when I rode rides with my kids I never did mine until I made sure their belts were buckled. It all comes back on the 2 operators though, they could have kept her alive.

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For those who don't want to enter an email to read the article, here's a another version:
https://coloradosun.com/2021/09/24/operators-failed-to-check-seatbelt-before-girl-died-amusement-park/

or

https://www.postindependent.com/news/report-finds-operator-error-insufficient-guidance-in-haunted-mine-drop-accident/

It is an understatement to say it is unbelievable how many times the ops had a chance to correct the situation. The zip ride has a similar message (if not the exact same) and every time it happened, I would unload the guest and send it empty and double check everything. (You can usually clear it that way but sometimes you would have to manually do it if I recall, but never with guest.) If there is any fault always call maintenance. (I'm curious if that happened here but I would doubt it since no one said anything.) These guys should have never cleared a fault and then send it with guest, that just blows my mind. (Especially a seatbelt related.) That being said, these two people will now have to live with this the rest of their lives and I hope their names DO NOT get released. I'm sure many years are mental therapy are ahead. Like we've said before, these tragedies affect more then just the victims.

If I remember right the training docs have to be signed off on as well before the ride is first commissioned. If that is the case there is blame to be put there as well.

People always say things like this will dramatically affect the park but that usually doesn't hold true. There may be a temp drop but usually after time they rebound. Then there is the fact (unless it is a sketchy place already) that people trust it even more because you know the protocols with be even higher.

In the end, this was an unnecessary tragedy that didn't need to happen. Lessons were learned at a high cost.

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Id say there's less than 5% chance this ride ever reopens.

but we shall see. . my condolences to the family (who I'm sure is going to sue the crap out of the park and likely win, and force them into bankruptcy or worse :(

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Awful.

What's especially wild to me is that during all that time that no one else riding with her noticed either. its clearly operator error, but her parent/guardian/whoever was sitting next to her didn't notice either?

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25 minutes ago, ALT2870 said:

People always say things like this will dramatically affect the park but that usually doesn't hold true. There may be a temp drop but usually after time they rebound. Then there is the fact (unless it is a sketchy place already) that people trust it even more because you know the protocols with be even higher.

 

That all depends how good their insurance policy is.  An incident like this, completely the parks fault, at an independent park, can easily bankrupt them.

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