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Deaths At Kings Island


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I was waiting to get into the clown 3D thing during FearFest and I remembered my dad telling me when I was younger that a guy died in that lake. He said that this guys hat blew off and he got into the water and stepped on a electrical wire going to Vikings Fury and shorted out the wire. Coming to hes and any fish/bird in that water death.

Another is a drunk woman on Sky-Lab (I dont remember the name but it was where the jumping thing is now.) found a way out of the restraints and fell to her death. Are these true? Is there more?

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We had a thread like this in the forums before it got totally renovated. I can't remember how many deaths we said, but there were something like 5 to 7. I think three people, or maybe two, died in the lake by Viking Fury. Then I remember a maintenance man "Tower Johnny" fell to his death in an elevator shaft in the Eiffel Tower. And the lady on Flight Commander was drunk and did fall to her death. I can't remember the others, if any. Someone from the old forums help me out here. Thanks.

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Oiy Vey.... man this board is the most mixed up KI board I have ever seen. I'll set the story straight.

Officially no one has ever died at King's Island. How so? Well, no one is pronounced dead at PKI... that happens at the hospital. ;-)

There has only been one ride-related fatality in the park's history. On June 9th 1991 Candy Taylor, fell from the Flight Commader ride formerly located on Coney Mall. The ride, an Intamin Pilot ride allowed guests to flip or rotate their individual cockpits.

But let me back up, because that day has become known as KI's darkest day. At approximately 8:30 in the evening, Timothy Benning (22)entered the park's pond located next to the Octoberfest Beir Garden to, apparently, retrieve a lost item. Upon entering the restricted area he was shocked due to an electrical current (later determined to be coming from a defective water circulation pump.) When he screamed and fell unconscious in the shallow water, his friend William Haithcoat (20) jumped in to pull him out. Immediately Haithcoat was shocked. Upon hearing the screams a park security officer, Darrel Robertson (20) jumped in attempting to help and was also shocked. Ironically the rescuers... Haithcoat and Robertson died, but Benning survived. The Octoberfest area of the park was emptied immediately, and closed off. Helicopters landed in the park to life-flight the victims to the hospital. They were undergoing CPR when they left.

Just after this at the back of the park, Ms. Taylor, who was drunk, boarded Flight Commander at approximately 9:45pm. She rode by herself which later was determined to be the cause of her death. As the ride proceeded, she passed out (her Blood Alchohol level was 3.0. ) while flipping the ride upside down. Since her body was limp, she slid to the side towards the empty seat next to her and out of the over-the-shoulder restraint and lap bar. She fell 60 feet to the concrete below in front of eye-witnesses who were horrified. A design flaw in the ride was blamed. The ride was closed the rest of the 1991 season, but re-opened in 1992.

The other death mentioned occurred on Grad Night 1983 when an un-named 17 year-old boy was found after he cllimbed a 10 foot barrier fence on the Eiffel Tower's 50-foot observation platform and fell in the elevator shaft. He plummeted to his death and rumor has it he was partially decapitated. A lot of mystery still surrounds this instance, but the general belief is that the boy either committed suicide or was showing off for friends and climbed into the restricted area. The Tower's 50 foot platform was closed and never re-opened.

Each instance above was investigated and all were determined accidental. The park was fined for various OSHA violations, and more than likely settled with the families.

Also of note, in 1976 a Wild Animal Safari Lion caretaker was mauled and killed as well.

But King's Island is also the site of Heart Attacks, Strokes, etc of which people have perished. But so have malls, grocery stores, workplaces etc etc etc.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I think this needs to end now, before it all gets out of hand........... again, like in the previous post on this subject. Also, Shaggy said no one has ever died at the park, cause they are pronounced dead at the hospital. This is true most of the time, however, if something disastrous happens, and either there are two paramedics or one doctor from AirCare or CareFlight, and they are at the scene, then that person can be pronounced dead, and won't be taken to a hospital, but instead to the morgue. PKI has been lucky that no one has been pronounced dead on park property, but that does not mean, that there isn't the possibility of it happening.

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  • 11 months later...

Apologies ahead of time, my first post will be a lengthy one...

Interesting subject here. As someone who worked on the Eiffel Tower ride for several years during college, I can vouch that Shaggy's version of Tower Johnny (not sure where Tommy came from) is the most accurate.

The only difference I have heard from that version is that Johnny did not fall but was attempting to "surf" on top the elevator as it came up. Upon jumping on the top of it from the 50' level, part of his body was hanging over the side (upper part/torso??). The elevator rides about 4-6" from the steel cross-members lining the shaft...with the elevator travelling at 6 mph and the cross-members placed every~10 feet, this gave him no time to crawl completely on the top before being dismembered. Other than this variation, Shaggy's version is completely accurate according to what I heard over those years.

Tower Johnny was a frequent and openly discussed/joked about subject amongst the crew. It was rumored at that time that he haunted the area around the second lift of The Beast. However, our crew was witness to several unexplained "maintenance" issues during my time there (elevators stopping for no reason, doors opening, etc.). We would sshut down and the blue shirts would come out and put oil on something and say "it's fixed now"...nobody knew what the h*ll was going on with these occurences.

Suspending my disbelief in ghosts, I do think that Johnny is a kindred spirit and does not mean harm. Short of that, I think it was all just fun and games to make 12 hour-sweet-hangover-misery-filled days go by faster.

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It was on gay day, a guy fell into the pond by Viking Fury and got electrocuted, not sure how he fell in though. Anyway, his "partner" tried to pull him out and got electrocuted as well, then a security guard tried to help him and he also died. It was the same day that the drunk woman died on Flight Commander.

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  • 8 years later...

I was so glad when I stumbled on this forum as I was a eyewitness to the tragic event at the pond on June 9th, 1991 At Kings Island Octoberfest area. It has been over 20 years ago, I was 29 at the time but still have vivid memories of what happened. Shaggy's entry above is an accurate account on almost all points on what did happen. Before I give my account of what I saw, I do need to state that the area was NOT immediately closed off and secured. It was at least 10 min's that I was up close to the event (very near the entrance to the foot bridge that crossed the pond) before the bodies were removed from the pond and the area was then secured and we were backed away from the area. I witnessed all 3 bodies removed from the pond.

Here is what I remember:

A friend of mine and myself were approaching the octoberfest area when we heard someone screaming "he's been shocked". At first I thought they were saying "he's been SHOT" as like with a gun. My thought was to flee the area thinking a crazed person was there with a gun. Hearing others screaming I soon figured out they were shouting "shocked" and "electrocuted" not shot. We proceeded near the entrance of the bridge that crossed over the pond (which is longer there). I did NOT witness either the first or the 2nd person enter the pond. However I could see both bodies in the shallow waters of the pond. They were not next to each other, one was in slightly deeper waters furthest from my view, the other was very close to the waters edge in shallow waters. Both were face down and on the bottom of the pond. There was not a huge crowd at the time in this area, although some people were around and more were showing up. I also saw dead fish floating on the water as well. (why the dead fish were floating on the surface, and the bodies sank to the bottom I can't answer maybe someone else can?) A few patrons were using trash can lids poking the lids into the water where the bodies were located, however the bodies were on the bottom of the pond and could not be reached. I assume since these lids were plastic they did not conduct electricity, I saw no one injured while using the trash can lids. Then a young male security officer came on the scene, and without any hesitation went immediately towards the pond, he without doubt saw the 2 bodies on the ponds bottom and walked into the water. As soon as his feet hit the water (now keep in mind it was not deep at all at the waters shoreline) but he immediately "froze" and dropped face first into the pond with out any sound, no scream nothing, just went face down and almost immediately also sank to the bottom. The only sound was his body hitting and making a splash in the water. There were no sparks, No shaking (like one would think being electrocuted) but nothing like that happened. He stepped into the water, went face down and sunk to the bottom. Now I am seeing 3 bodies laying face down in the bottom of the pond. Other security and the Parks mini ambulance showed up shortly after the security officer went in the pond. All of us urged them that the water was "charged" with electricity and not to go in. Soon another security person said the electricity had been turned off and it was safe to enter. Other park security personal went in the water and pulled one body out at a time and laid them face up on the cement sidewalk near the pond. I witnessed all 3 bodies being removed from the pond and placed on the cement. All 3 bodies had a bluish color and all looked totally limp with no signs of life whatsoever. At this point security and other park officials were forcing us back from the scene. Shortly thereafter full sized ambulances were arriving on the scene. I did see mouth to mouth being used on at least 2 of the victims before being forced back away from the scene. I would say I was up right next to the pond for at least 10 min's before security secured the scene and had everyone back away.

It was a horrible event to witness. I assumed all 3 bodies I saw were all dead. I was quite amazed learning the next day that one did survive and that person was the VERY first one in the water. I was there and witnessed the event for 10 minuets, so he had to be under water for at least this long of time. I did not witness or even know about the accident on Flight commander until hearing that report on WLW radio on my way back home which was in Indianapolis at the time. They also announced on WLW for anyone that was a witness to either event to call the Radio Station. Being 1991 I didn't have a cell phone at that time, however I did call the station when I got back home, and they did put me on the air live that night around midnight and I explained what I had seen.

It was a freak event, and a very dark day at Kings Island. 3 deaths all in a single day. Every time I visit the park I always remember that day, even though that area no longer looks anything like what it did that day, that horrible day in Early June 1991.

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If people go into a pond that has some sort of fencing around it and or signs, then whatever happens to them is not the fault of that comapny. But that company has to have fencing and or signs to not be at fault. I'm wondering if this topic should be in the rumor area.

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  • 2 months later...

=>I was Googling that day and stumbled on to this forum and registered to the board to share my experiences of that day.

I was 16 at the time. It was my FIRST DAY of work at Kings Island as a summer job. I was placed at the Chiquita Frozana frozen chocolate covered banana cart for a shift that lasted from 11am to 8pm. The cart was near the entrance of Hanna Barbara Land (now Snoopy world) and the old Ivy Tunnel (since taken down unfortunately) that lead to Watertown. It was a pretty boring shift having to stand by yourself that entire time with no one to talk to.

The only interesting thing about that shift was that it was "Gay Day" which made for some interesting "people watching." There was one humorous incident involving a group of 8 or so gay males. I was given a scale to weigh the frozen bananas and told not to sell any that were less than 3 oz. So to pass the time in my boredom, I began to weigh all the bananas in my cart and put the too small ones in a separate box. Sometime during the day, a group of 8 gay males came up to my cart and ordered some bananas. As I was working the cash register, one of them reached into the cart and grabbed a banana from the box that had the undersized bananas. I then said to him, "Don't take that one, it is not big enough" or words to that effect. I remember his response like it was yesterday, "OH YEAH, I WANT A BIIIG ONE!" and the whole group burst into laughing. I was a little uncomfortable, but was laughing too because it really was a funny line. Other than that, my shift was uneventful.

Anyway, when my shift was over at 8, I clocked out and walked to the employee lockerroom, changed out of my uniform and into my street clothes, and then turned in my uniform to the laundry workers who wash the employee uniforms. I then left and walked to my car in the employee parking lot and began to drive home. As I was driving down the K.I. employee access road which ran in front of Waterworks to Western Row, I was passed by firetrucks with sirens and lights flashing. Obviously, I had no idea at the time what was going on. In fact, I did not think much about it and assumed something must have caught on fire at the park. I proceeded to drive to my home in Fairfield.

This would have been sometime around 8:30ish given I was off work at 8pm and the time it took me to make the walk to the lockerroom, change clothes, walk to my car, etc. That matches the timeline Shaggy put in the post above for the first incident.

I found out about what happened later that night on the local news which immediately made me think of the firetrucks I saw as I was driving out of the park.

I am glad that my shift had just ended before any of the deaths occurred.

When I came back to work for the next shift the next day or the following day (can't remember), I was given strict instructions to not answer any questions about the incident from the park's guests and refer any questions to Public Relations.

Looking back it was one of the most surreal days of my life: 1) First day of work in what I thought would be a really fun job (it was!), 2) "Gay Day," and 3) 3 deaths from 2 unrelated incidents. I worked the rest of the summer, the following winterfest, and the next summer. Never again did anything really out of the ordinary occur at the park at my time there.

It was one of the most fun jobs I ever had (except when I got put on the boring Frozana cart). I made great friends working at K.I. who I still talk to. Although I did not know her at the time, my future wife was working at K.I. the same seasons I was and we met through mutual K.I. connections many years later.

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Is there any reason its still not open? It would be a nice place to walk up to and get some lower level pictures. It can't be that hard to seal off any areas where people could climb out of in a moment of stupidity.

Question about a rumor I heard more than once as a kid. People would say "don't wear red on such and such a day at KI because its gay day and that is the designated shirt color to wear to let others know if your gay" It always seemed an odd rumor to me, but since there are several people that were there that day, perhaps there was truth to those rumors.

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^Yes, Gay Day back then was commonly referred to as Red Shirt Day. It was always a Sunday in June, until the GLBT Community Center started renting the park out in September.

I was there on Black Sunday too, and my story is very similar to mollautt's. I was 18, it was my 3rd season working in the park, and I had been working the Depot Sunday Shop (the ice cream stand at the train station) that day. I also had a funny Gay Day story from that day.


A few days before, we had gotten a new topping for our sundaes and we were supposed to suggestive sell them. A male couple came up to my window and ordered a hot fudge sundae. I asked exactly what I was supposed to, "Would you like nuts on that?" They immediately burst out laughing, and so did I when I realized where their minds had gone.

I was supposed to work until close, but got sent home early. As I was walking back to wardrobe to change and turn in my uniform, the Air Care helicopter was landing at the park. When I got home, my mom told me about what happened, and I made sure to watch the 11:00 news that night.

My first year, 1989, I was on break at the canteen (later known as Oscar's during the Paramount years) and a bad storm hit the park. We were told we were not allowed to leave the building. I called my supervisor and told them this, they weren't happy and wanted me to run from the canteen back to my stand (the Bakery) since it wasn't very far, but I told them again that they weren't letting anyone leave. I found out later that day that the tuba player in the roaming Dixieland band had been struck by lightning in the parking lot and had not survived.

Those are both days that I will never forget.

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They did wear red on that day. That being said, I could pretty much tell those that were wearing red on purpose for "Gay Day" and those that just happened to be wearing red. You could tell the gays by their overtly gay behaviors like holding hands or the company they were keeping. Also, many of the red shirts had gay messages (i.e. a man wearing a shirt that has an arrow that read, "he's my boyfriend").

So if you would go to the park on Gay Day wearing red, I do not think people would think you were gay.

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