When parents take their children to an amusement park they expect a day of safe, but exhilarating thrills. Many parks take painstaking measures to reduce the likelihood of an accident, but others may fail to account for all types of risks. These risks may include the failure to perform frequent ride inspections, insufficient maintenance, insufficient training of ride operators, and many other potential risks that increase the chances of a serious amusement park accident.
Unfortunately, reports from local Texas Newschannel10.com Texas Newschannel10.com indicate that a weekend accident at the Wonderland amusement park in Texas caused injuries to riders. Eyewitness accounts of the event have appeared online. The park has also responded to some of the accounts of the accident that have been posted online.
Apparent ride malfunction at the park
One rider, Anna Prager, recounted her experiences that day. She states that she was on the ride and enjoying it, when after about ten second, she heard a loud pop. Then she said she felt a piece of something – it would be determined to be a piece of metal – hit her in the head. She says that as far as she could tell, the ride operator tried to shut down the ride so that the passengers could get off the ride. However, even after he was able to bring the ride to a halt, the passengers were still locked-in to their seats.
Two park guests who were next in like to ride the ride largely confirmed Ms. Prager’s account of events. One of the guests remembers that four girls boarded the ride. She remembers that they only traveled upwards for a few feet before the lifting arm disconnected causing the ride to plummet back down to the ground. Then, she says, a big metal chunk fell down from the ride. The other park guest was quoted by reporters as seeing, “… it explode on the little piece of metal behind the girls.” However there is still some lack of clarity here because the mother believes that her children on the ride were hit in the face with metal shrapnel.
Injuries from the incident included a bruised knee, but unfortunately this was not the most serious injury. Anna Prager, one of the riders, told Newschannel10.com that although she declined to go to the hospital immediately after being freed from the ride’s harness, she began to feel ill later in the day. She went to see a doctor who diagnosed her with a concussion.
Wonderland’s response to the incident
On its website, Wonderland Park describes the “Drop of Fear” as a thrill ride and notes that the aprk is not the ride’s original owner. The “Drop of Fear” was purchased by the park from its original owner, a Florida-based traveling carnival group. The park notes that the Drop of Fear was “given an extensive paint refurbishing” upon its arrival at Wonderland. While we can certainly assume that the ride was given a fresh coat of paint to better suit Wonderland’s theming and décor, the site does not elaborate as to what exactly an “extensive paint refurbishing” entails or whether the refurbishment included aspects other than the ride’s aesthetics.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, Wonderland Park closed the Drop of Fear ride. While the ride was closed, a ride inspector was dispatched to determine the cause of the accident. Unfortunately the park has not provided any additional information about the cause of the accident or any corrective measures it may have taken. If any additional information is released, we will update the situation.
Injured at a fair or amusement park?
Amusement parks are supposed to offer safe thrills for families, but mechanical problems, insufficient training and other problems can increase the likelihood of a severe amusement park accident. If you have suffered an injury due to negligence or carelessness call Reiff & Bily at 800-861-6708 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation.