While the Zippin Pippin’s history in Green Bay at the Bay Beach Amusement Park is relatively brief, the ride has a long and storied history stretching back to the early 20th century. The ride was originally known simply as the Pippin. It celebrated its opening day back in 1912 at the East End Park in Memphis Tennessee. However, some dispute this date and believe that the roller coaster opened as late as 1917. In any case, the coaster suffered severe damage in a 1928 tornado that required the ride to be substantially reconstructed. As the years went on, the East End Park declined in popularity leading to the coaster being dismantled and moved to Montgomery Park which would later be known as the Mid-South Fairgrounds. The Mid-South Fairgrounds would later become home to a Memphis theme park known as Libertyland. Continue reading
Regardless of whether we visit a fair, carnival, amusement park or other location we expect to have a good safe day of fun. We expect for the park staff to take all reasonable actions to minimize the risk for injury. Furthermore, we expect all rides to be in good working order and free from known defects. Unfortunately, two recent incidents at Texas carnivals and amusement parks calls these expectations into question. While only one of the incidents produced a death and injury, both situations were very serious and involved extremely dangerous circumstances.
Maine has had a rather difficult history concerning its regulation and safety of amusement parks and other attractions over the past few years. With accidents ranging from the hayride accident that killed a teen to two carnival accidents over the course of two consecutive days, the spotlight has been squarely placed on safety in this industry. The accidents described have been rather high-profile and highlighted the fact that Maine, like most states, relies on a less than comprehensive regulatory regime concerning amusements, carnivals, and other attractions. In fact, at the national level, our system at regulation can only at best be described as a patchwork.
When parents take their children and families to amusement parks, they expect to experience a safe, fun day of thrills and entertainment. For the majority of guests, this is certainly the experience they enjoy. However, for a small number of visitors, their day of family fun can transform into a nightmare where serious bodily injuries are inflicted. Unfortunately, unlike a nightmare, the consequences of an amusement park accident do not vanish in an instant when the person wakes up. Rather, these injuries cause pain and suffering for months or years as the injured park guest recovers. In some cases, the injuries are permanent.
Last June we first reported on a rollercoaster accident that had occurred at Six Flags Great America located in California. At the time we wrote about how the accident had occurred on the the iFlight Deck rollercoaster. At the time, it was believed that the accident had occurred after a cell phone was dropped by one of the coaster’s riders. When a mechanic went to retrieve the phone for the guest, he was struck by a rollercoaster train that was subsequently sent down the track despite the worker being in a restricted area. Continue reading