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Six Flags Over Texas (SFOT) Discussion Thread

P.. 420: Pirates of Speelunker Cave announced for 2022!

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This situation sounds eerily similar to the Perilous Plunge incident at Knotts Berry Farm where the restraint did not fail, the dimensions of the rider allowed her to slip out of the restraint when the airtime forces occured.

 

This is what happens: lap restraints are designed to be rest against your waist. When you're sitting, your knees and waist allow your torso to create an angle where you're secure. When a person is overweight the lap restraint is not pressed against your waist, its pressed against your gut. When the forces of the ride occur your gut flails around and moves, allowing a tremendous gap between your waist and restraint where the gut once was. Hit a hill at the right time, the gut moves above the restraint, your body is no longer secure, and an airtime hill will throw you like you're not even wearing a restraint at all (because at that point you're really not).

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This is why overweight people need to be checked at the entrance or just not be able to ride.

Here's the reality of the situation - it has much less to do with weight or volume, and a LOT more to do with shape and size.

 

As someone who has had to "shove" many people into rides on some of our trips, I can tell you that I've managed to get MANY OMFG HUGE A$$ people onto coasters due to their shape with no problem or safety issues, whereas I've had trouble getting a slightly smaller person, but oddly-shaped into the same ride.

 

Just recently, we had two people who I would NOT consider "large" at all, not fit into Hollywood Dream in Japan, purely because of "shape".

 

So you could potentially have a weight restriction on a ride, and that still wouldn't matter as you could have someone top-heavy enough to fall out.

 

I'm not sure what the answer is, in this case, but I'd have to think there must be some way to measure if a rider isn't the right "shape" to fit a restraint, right?

I know Xcelerator at Knott's had its restraints retrofitted with a dial to visually detail if the restraint is safely lowered. Maybe we could be seeing similar devices on this?

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This situation sounds eerily similar to the Perilous Plunge incident at Knotts Berry Farm where the restraint did not fail, the dimensions of the rider allowed her to slip out of the restraint when the airtime forces occured.

 

This is what happens: lap restraints are designed to be rest against your waist. When you're sitting, your knees and waist allow your torso to create an angle where you're secure. When a person is overweight the lap restraint is not pressed against your waist, its pressed against your gut. When the forces of the ride occur your gut flails around and moves, allowing a tremendous gap between your waist and restraint where the gut once was. Hit a hill at the right time, the gut moves above the restraint, your body is no longer secure, and an airtime hill will throw you like you're not even wearing a restraint at all (because at that point you're really not).

We were actually just discussing how similar this seems to the Perilous Plunge accident. If you remember, they had to re-design the restraints on that ride, and unfortunately, what the end resulted ended up being very uncomfortable and greatly impacted the capacity of the ride. Hopefully the same doesn't happen for Texas Giant.

 

Also, I have now heard conflicting reports of Iron Rattler being open. Can anyone confirm if the ride is open or closed?

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This is why overweight people need to be checked at the entrance or just not be able to ride.

Here's the reality of the situation - it has much less to do with weight or volume, and a LOT more to do with shape and size.

 

As someone who has had to "shove" many people into rides on some of our trips, I can tell you that I've managed to get MANY OMFG HUGE A$$ people onto coasters due to their shape with no problem or safety issues, whereas I've had trouble getting a slightly smaller person, but oddly-shaped into the same ride.

 

Just recently, we had two people who I would NOT consider "large" at all, not fit into Hollywood Dream in Japan, purely because of "shape".

 

So you could potentially have a weight restriction on a ride, and that still wouldn't matter as you could have someone top-heavy enough to fall out.

 

I'm not sure what the answer is, in this case, but I'd have to think there must be some way to measure if a rider isn't the right "shape" to fit a restraint, right?

 

 

You're right Rob, first post by the way Been a fan for years, but I live here in Dallas and I go to SFOT almost every week and the Texas Giant is usually a minimum 3 rides a day for me, the restraint is damn hard to pull down and the employees I noticed this year on every ride have actually been taking their job of securing people in more seriously so I was shocked by this. The NTAG staff always ALWAYS before they send off the train don't just lightly tap the restraint and say ''check'', they shove the thing with both hands to make sure you're in. Yes I'm speculating, but given your comment and how, no offense to her because it's sad she died. This is a case where likely the restraint didn't get to her thighs which is where it's meant to go as we all know. And so she literally probably slipped out like a bar of soap, I doubt any seat belt attached to the harness would have saved her. I know a lot about the safety systems being a junkie of the ride and I know ride ops who have run it. The system WILL not let the train move if everything is not secured. The brake run halfway through would have stopped the train if the system detected something ''unsafe'' and they would have made the other passengers walk down the safety exits from the ride. So that's how I'm going to perceive it logically until the investigation report comes out because that is what now seems to make the most sense. Anyone agree?

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What a tragic event. It's always sad when things like this happen, but the reality is that every time we get on a roller coaster, we inherit a certain amount of risk. Same goes for when we get in the car to go to the amusement park, or get on the plane to go to the city with the amusement park, etc. etc.

 

While speculation is completely unproductive, what we know for a fact is that NTAG has run for 2+ years without incident until last night. Thousands upon thousands of people have ridden it without an issue, as is the case for nearly every roller coaster that bears the solemn and unfortunate marking of having someone die on it. Whether this is a ride op error, a restraint malfunction, or a something completely unforeseeable, everyone should remember before calling for weight restrictions or new safety measures that this is thankfully NOT the norm.

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I know a lot about the safety systems being a junkie of the ride and I know ride ops who have run it. The system WILL not let the train move if everything is not secured. The brake run halfway through would have stopped the train if the system detected something ''unsafe'' and they would have made the other passengers walk down the safety exits from the ride. So that's how I'm going to perceive it logically until the investigation report comes out because that is what now seems to make the most sense. Anyone agree?

 

I don't think the safety system has any way to detect an opened restraint after the ride is in motion. Also, she fell off before the mid-course brake.

Edited by nannerdw
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^ The mid-course brake run is an interesting argument... So you mean the ride would "sense" something is wrong even if the malfunction happened after the train has cleared the lift hill ? Just curious and interested in this idea. Coaster trains seem to have MANY MORE contacters / sensors these days. Maybe hitting the first portion of the brake run, a sensor could trigger the brakes on ?

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This situation sounds eerily similar to the Perilous Plunge incident at Knotts Berry Farm where the restraint did not fail, the dimensions of the rider allowed her to slip out of the restraint when the airtime forces occured.

 

This is what happens: lap restraints are designed to be rest against your waist. When you're sitting, your knees and waist allow your torso to create an angle where you're secure. When a person is overweight the lap restraint is not pressed against your waist, its pressed against your gut. When the forces of the ride occur your gut flails around and moves, allowing a tremendous gap between your waist and restraint where the gut once was. Hit a hill at the right time, the gut moves above the restraint, your body is no longer secure, and an airtime hill will throw you like you're not even wearing a restraint at all (because at that point you're really not).

 

This actually makes sense since it was reported that the restraint was in the down position when the cars came back into the station.

 

Do we know exactly where on the ride she came out? I watched Robb's youtube video of the ride and can only venture a guess.

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^ The mid-course brake run is an interesting argument... So you mean the ride would "sense" something is wrong even if the malfunction happened after the train has cleared the lift hill ? Just curious and interested in this idea. Coaster trains seem to have MANY MORE contacters / sensors these days. Maybe hitting the first portion of the brake run, a sensor could trigger the brakes on ?

 

That's correct, there are over 200 sensors I know of on NTAG and also Titan in the park, if any of the sensors at any point detect a safety issue at any point then the ride will come to a stop at the first opportunity, meaning since the reports are she was thrown on the double dip after the first drop...which makes sense, the first opportunity would be the mid-course brake run. But since the ride continued then it did not detect that the harness itself had actually ''broken free''.

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^Ah, but that's assuming the restraint did in fact "pop open" which is pure GP speculation and I can to a certainty, assure you in this case, it did not. Restraints do not come undone. Especially hydraulic restraints which have numerous backup safety systems in place even when under extreme extreme pressure. In fact, I'd wager the steel of the restraint would snap before the hydraulic mechanism fails.

 

The MCBR is there for blocking the trains. Unless a ride operator hit the e-stop during the trains ride around the circuit, unless a problem was detected by the rides system, which in this case the ride did not detect a problem, the train will continue through the ride and pull right into the station.

 

Nothing is certain of course, but I would imagine this is going to be human error (ie should not have let this person ride) instead of a ride malfunction.

Edited by LouMerica
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Dragon Khan: The MCBR is there for blocking the trains. Unless a ride operator hit the e-stop during the trains ride around the circuit, the brakes will not stop the train even if a restraint popped open, which I can to a certainty, assure you in this case, it did not. Restraints do not come undone. Especially hydraulic restraints which have numerous backup safety systems in place even when under extreme extreme pressure. In fact, I'd wager the steel of the restraint would snap before the hydraulic mechanism fails.

 

Nothing is certain of course, but I would imagine this is going to be human error (ie should not have let this person ride) instead of a ride malfunction.

 

 

I know at least on the NTAG that it would stop at a brake run if the harness had come free, I know too many people at the park lol. But I'm almost certain it'll be case of the harness couldn't secure the way it was designed cause of her size and that's how she slipped out, hence the reports of people saying the train returned with the harness down. The ride is nothing but designed negative hills, it couldn't come loose and then tighten back in place. It's unfortunate, but the story will be that the ride operated normally, that everything on the roller coaster is operating normally. It was a case of park employees probably not wanting a discrimination suit brought upon them. SFOT has been the victim the last year of guests filing lawsuits for discrimination for a number of things, so that may have been in their mind. It's either that, or they truly weren't paying attention.

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Just saw a report on the news about the incident. They are claiming that the restraint didnt close the entire way, and that when the victim told the ride attendant they said that it would be okay. My condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

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I don't think there was a malfunction of any kind. I am willing to bed that the rider (Rosy) pulled the restraint down against her stomach, not her waist. I don't think she was ever safely secured. Then on that first turn, she slipped out. At SFOT, Batman The Ride used to have a test seat. I feel like that would make sense for every ride. Put a test seat near the entrance of every rollercoaster and have someone on staff in charge of making sure everyone is safe to ride before they get in line.

Edited by codywatkins
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Again, if the ride DOESN'T malfunction, which in this case it didn't, the rides not going to stop no matter what safety or braking systems you have on the ride.

 

The only way to stop a train anywhere on the track would be brakes on the train or along the entire track. Just not logical, and in this case would not saved the woman either because her restraint never moved.

 

Just an unfortunate incident and the park will have to implement being better at denying people to ride who cannot be safely restrained.

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From what we've discussed I would guess they won't find anybody really at fault. How is the attendant supposed to know if the lap restraint is on somebody's gut or exactly on the person's thighs without digging through clothing or putting their hand physically under the restraint to check? I wonder if they are taught to watch or check for this in particular. I can guarantee they will from now on or that an additional restraint will be added. Does anybody know if there are any signs posted with instructions to riders on how to make sure the restraint is properly positioned?

Edited by lk2500
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Also, the technology that stops the ride at the mid-course break if a sensor is triggered doesn't really make sense. Like on Titan (Which is not a hydraulic system. It "clicks"). What if a restraint came undone during the turnaround, and on the camel back hill someone got thrown off? On any rollercoaster, there are many opportunities before the mid-course break for riders to be thrown off in the event of a restraint malfunction, right? It seems like there should be a way for the train to stop at any time. So like as soon as a restraint comes loose, or as soon as something malfunctions, the ride would come screaming to a stop. I don't know if that would even work, or how that would be implemented. Like for instance, on a drop, obviously the train couldn't just stop...

 

But I'm just spitballing here. Thoughts anyone?

 

There are a couple of problems with adding a system that stops a roller coaster at any point. The biggest one is that it's effectively impossible to evac riders in the case of an emergency from any elevated position on the ride. MCBRs have stairs and platforms for that purpose, normal hills don't. Adding systems to stop trains add weight, complexity, and, potentially, friction, reducing the thrill of the ride. Also, you'd have to find a way to gradually stop the train, anything especially sudden would result in a higher possibility to eject in case of failure.

 

It's not a terrible idea, and I'm sure it's possible from an engineering standpoint, but implementing it would add massive cost and complexity and reduce reliability. It's much easier to add redundancy to restraints.

 

As for this disaster, it's a tragedy, but hopefully one that will result in a fix to whatever caused this. Adding seatbelts seems like the most likely outcome to me, but I'm not an engineer, of course.

 

Also, I can see "click" becoming another forum filter.

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You're right Rob, first post by the way Been a fan for years, but I live here in Dallas and I go to SFOT almost every week and the Texas Giant is usually a minimum 3 rides a day for me, the restraint is damn hard to pull down and the employees I noticed this year on every ride have actually been taking their job of securing people in more seriously so I was shocked by this. The NTAG staff always ALWAYS before they send off the train don't just lightly tap the restraint and say ''check'', they shove the thing with both hands to make sure you're in. Yes I'm speculating, but given your comment and how, no offense to her because it's sad she died. This is a case where likely the restraint didn't get to her thighs which is where it's meant to go as we all know. And so she literally probably slipped out like a bar of soap, I doubt any seat belt attached to the harness would have saved her. I know a lot about the safety systems being a junkie of the ride and I know ride ops who have run it. The system WILL not let the train move if everything is not secured. The brake run halfway through would have stopped the train if the system detected something ''unsafe'' and they would have made the other passengers walk down the safety exits from the ride. So that's how I'm going to perceive it logically until the investigation report comes out because that is what now seems to make the most sense. Anyone agree?

THIS. When I rode NTAG, what I remember was that every different host that checked my seat stapled me. I was not upset at all because after riding the ride, I was thankful they did! But it wasn't just an 'oops I accidentally stapled that guy,' it was obviously intentional. They really leaned into it.

 

Also, I have NEVER heard of mid course brakes having sensors on them that detect lap bars. I'm only familiar with B&M coasters, however. Is there any actual proof that this is true of NTAG? It honestly sounds like some BS that someone made up in light of this event. What I know is that if there is a malfunction with restraints, it would be detectable RIGHT after it is locked by the ride. There are times when a restraint does malfunction and it's instantly detected by the ride host so the seat isn't loaded. I just can't really imagine a scenario where something DURING the ride would cause a restraint to malfunction. These are heavy duty cylinders! What usually happens is it doesn't lock after being released, not that it randomly releases itself. I only know the functions of Intamin restraints, but I imagine they are all the same design.

 

If anything changes on the ride, I would expect them to add seat belts. They hold riders in differently than lap bars, and restrict vertical movement much more...just my 2 cents.

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