The 13 Worst Amusement Park Accidents

An amusement park with a Ferris Wheel showing predominantly beside the words "Amusement Park Injuries"

An amusement park is supposed to be a place where you can have fun and forget your worries for a day. However, negligence on the part of park owners and staff members often leads to undiscovered mechanical issues, no safety checks, and other problems that can lead to visitors suffering from injuries or even death. Sadly, this kind of negligence is all too common within theme parks, and several accidents have occurred in the past. Below are the 13 worst amusement park accidents that the world has ever seen.

13. Six Flags Over Texas – Fall from the Texas Giant

In 2013, Rosa Ayala was flung from her seat on the Texas Giant, located at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. She fell 75 feet to her death. As she fell, she struck a metal support beam, which led to extensive traumatic injuries. The cause of her death was reported to be a safety bar that did not latch into place correctly.

12. Six Flags Magic Mountain – Flung from the Colossus

A similar incident to the Texas Giant fall happened at Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA) in 1978. 20-year-old Carol Flores was flung from the ride as it went down a 60-foot drop. Again, the cause was an ineffective lap bar. Her death occurred just a short time after the ride first opened, exposing issues with the cars that needed to be addressed.

11. Oakwood Theme Park – Flying from the Hydro

In 2004, Hayley Williams fell from her seat while riding the water roller coaster Hydro, located at Oakwood Theme Park in Wales. She, too, died of internal injuries. Her death was found to be due to negligence on the part of park workers who habitually failed to perform proper safety checks. This discovery led the amusement park to be fined £250,000 (around $288,000). In order to escape the bad publicity associated with the ride, it was renamed “Drenched” after it reopened.

10. Six Flags Over Texas – Flipped Roaring Rapids Float

Again at Six Flags Over Texas, a raft on the Roaring Rapids ride flipped over while carrying 12 passengers in 1999. Ten people were injured, and one woman drowned in the incident. While they were in only four feet of water, the weight of the raft made it difficult for them to escape from underneath.

9. Schlitterbahn Waterpark – Death by Decapitation

Like Hayley Williams, ten-year-old Caleb Schwab was fatally flung from a water ride. He was riding the Verruckt – the world’s tallest waterslide – at the Schlitterbahn in Kansas City when he and his raft went airborne. Hitting the netting above the ride led to his decapitation. It is likely that the tragedy occurred due to malfunctioning safety harnesses.

8. Ohio State Fair – Fire Ball Malfunction

A swinging, spinning ride called the Fire Ball – located at the Ohio State Fair – malfunctioned in July 2017. The malfunction caused several people to get flung out of the ride, leading to one death and seven injuries.

7. Action Park – The Dangerous Alpine Slide

Action Park in New Jersey was notorious for its unsafe conditions until its closing in 1998. Particularly dangerous was the Alpine Slide. It consisted of a cement track which you went down on a sled. The sled had a handbrake that you were supposed to use to slow down at the end; if you didn’t, you were likely to get badly injured. This incredibly unsafe ride led to over 40 people getting injured and at least one death.

6. Dreamworld – Thunder River Rapids Ride Malfunction

On October 25, 2016, four people were killed while riding the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld in Australia. A malfunction caused the death of four of the six riders on the float, although the exact nature of the malfunction was never shared. Two were flung from the ride while the other two victims were trapped underneath it and drowned.

5. M&D’s Theme Park – Tsunami Derailing

The Tsunami at M&D’s in Scotland derailed on July 26, 2016, leading to 10 injuries. The ride detached from the track and crashed into a children’s ride below. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

4. Daytona Beach – Sand Blaster Failure

Just recently, in the summer of 2018, the Sand Blaster in Daytona Beach, FL had a car derail from the tracks. The poorly maintained roller coaster flung two people 34 feet to the ground and injured the eight other passengers. While the two who were flung got seriously injured, no one died from the incident.

3. Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom – Superman Tower Cable Break

A failure to properly maintain the Superman Tower of Pride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom led to riders getting injured. On June 21, 2007, a cable snapped on the ride while it was being lifted to the sky. Several of the riders screamed to the operator to stop the ride, but they were not heard. The cable whipped around during the ride, injuring several passengers. The worst injury was sustained by 13-year-old Kaitlyn Lassiter whose right foot and left leg were severed. Surgeons were only able to reattach the foot.

2. Galaxyland – Mindbender Derailment

June 1986 saw tragedy at Galaxyland, an indoor amusement park in Alberta, Canada. The ride Mindbender was missing some bolts, leading to a car flying off the tracks and into a concrete pillar. Three people died, one sustained serious injuries, and nineteen others sustained minor injuries from the accident.

1. Six Flags Great Adventure Park – Haunted House Fire

Potentially the most tragic amusement park injury surprisingly did not occur on a ride. At Six Flags Great Adventure Park in New Jersey, a haunted house caught fire on May 11, 1984. The attraction did not have a proper sprinkler system or an easy way out in case of fire, so the eight teenagers inside all burned to death.

Incidents like these are sadly all too common. If you or a loved one experience injury at an amusement park, contact Branch & Dhillon. Their attorneys have experience litigating cases related to amusement park negligence, and they will get you the compensation for any injuries you suffer or justice for a loved one’s wrongful death. Contact them as soon as possible after you get injured at a theme park.