Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amputee Dies In Theme Park Accident

A U.S. Army veteran who lost both legs in Iraq and had been trying to rebuild his life was killed after he was thrown from a roller coaster at an upstate New York amusement park. More information can be found on Screamscape. This is just a sad, sad story as well as being one of those that has us all scratching our heads wondering how this even happens. How do you let someone who has no legs on a ride which constrains the riders by the legs? Thoughts and prayer go out to everyone involved.

I think the next major innovation in the amusement park industry needs to be a new restraint system. I envision something which at first is flexible so it can be contorted to fit the shape of any rider and then when they are secured in place the restraint magically hardens to a non-flexible state. Anyone know of such material? Memory shape alloy or something?

And no we don't need federal oversight for amusement park rides, that is what the ASTM F24 committee is for. Federal regulations wouldn't have prevented this accident.


  1. Well if it was a memory shape it would have to have memory of the size of the body it was fitting to wouldn't it? I have an idea. How about a harness with air bags underneath them so you get strapped into the harness then they inflate the bags to fill in the gaps between the guest and the harness (since air is flexible it would accommodate any oddly shaped guest)

    I just read the article and I'm surprised the coaster didn't have a shoulder harness. I thought they would be pretty standard on all big coasters. Any idea on how they decide what coasters get shoulder harnesses and what ones get lap bars? Is it the number of negative G's? I never though of that before

    BTW. thanks for posting the link to my stuff

  2. The ASTM F24 committee on amusement rides and devices set standards for the restraints used based on g-forces (there are a bunch of charts which you may be able to find on the internet). But the standards don't necessarily have to be followed. I also believe the parks also have some say of what they would like.


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