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14 Year Old Boy Killed on Orlando Free Fall Ride


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Holy smokes. Don’t watch the video (floating around the internet) what a terrible tragedy. 
 

 

https://apnews.com/article/florida-orlando-d03a753b6ac928a86222c0f3b1134619?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP

Quote

A video aired by NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning appears to show passengers on the ride discussing issues with a seat restraint Thursday night. The ride then began its trek up the tower before someone is later seen falling from the ride.

 

 

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It seems like parts of our society has lost all empathy for their fellow “man”…why would anyone feel it was okay to share a video of someone’s death?

I can’t even begin to understand the pain that the boy’s family is going through.

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2 hours ago, Browntggrr said:

The video is so incredibly disturbing that I initially thought it was a fake early this morning.

I cannot fathom what the family & witnesses are going through.

Same here. That’s how I found out

1 hour ago, standbyme said:

It seems like parts of our society has lost all empathy for their fellow “man”…why would anyone feel it was okay to share a video of someone’s death?

I can’t even begin to understand the pain that the boy’s family is going through.

I think it may be a bit of shock where your brain doesn’t know how to process the horrific thing you just saw and what to do. 
 

 

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1 minute ago, coaster sally said:

Funtime builds some crazy Drop Towers.  You go up and you can't see when your at the top then all of a sudden it drops.  It does not pause. Shouldn't automatically think Intamin IMO.

Enough with the Intamin agrument. Christ. Is this really the topic?

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34 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

Funtime also builds the Starflyers. 
 

Side note: a couple of years ago a maintenance guy fell while working the Starflyer at that park and passed away. Unrelated, but coincidental and tragic. 

Jake also worked on Iron Gwazi 

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A few years ago I rode Falcon's Fury (Intamin) at Busch Gardens.

It has a similar tilting feature.  

Something I noticed while riding Falcon's Fury that right around (or possibly just before) the ride hits the magnetic brakes to decelerate,  the seats quickly tilt back upright. The result is that as the carriage slows (and your body does not), the forces slowing you down are felt through your bottom.  This seems logical, and felt comfortable.  In mechanical engineering, its called a "positive stop". 

Watching video of the Icon Park FreeFall, it appears the seats stay tilted all the way past the brakes, to the bottom.  This would likely result in the positive downward forces to your body being felt at a more awkward angle, and if one's harness was high enough, there could be a gap large enough to slip through as the brakes slow down the carriage.  The molded part of the seat between your legs might help, but not necessarily.  

Other differences: Falcon's Fury also has vest restraints, and "seat belts" to assure that the restraints are down far enough.  FreeFall has typical hard shoulder harnesses, and no "seat belts".

These are just my observations as I try to understand the mechanics of this tragedy. Hopefully design lessons will be learned so no other family will have to endure this horrible loss.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Buckeye Brad said:

A few years ago I rode Falcon's Fury (Intamin) at Busch Gardens.

It has a similar tilting feature.  

Something I noticed while riding Falcon's Fury that right around (or possibly just before) the ride hits the magnetic brakes to decelerate,  the seats quickly tilt back upright. The result is that as the carriage slows (and your body does not), the forces slowing you down are felt through your bottom.  This seems logical, and felt comfortable.  In mechanical engineering, its called a "positive stop". 

Watching video of the Icon Park FreeFall, it appears the seats stay tilted all the way past the brakes, to the bottom.  This would likely result in the positive downward forces to your body being felt at a more awkward angle, and if one's harness was high enough, there could be a gap large enough to slip through as the brakes slow down the carriage.  The molded part of the seat between your legs might help, but not necessarily.  

Other differences: Falcon's Fury also has vest restraints, and "seat belts" to assure that the restraints are down far enough.  FreeFall has typical hard shoulder harnesses, and no "seat belts".

These are just my observations as I try to understand the mechanics of this tragedy. Hopefully design lessons will be learned so no other family will have to endure this horrible loss.

 

 

I went back to the video Online (whole video not just horrific accident). The ride op is saying it’s 430 feet tall and comes down at 75 MPH and then stops. At the end (after the accident) a lady comes running up saying are you sure you checked him, unsure if it’s to the worker or the other people on the ride. Just friggin horrific. 
 

Also it looks like from your description that is what happened and just slipped out the bottom between the gap. 
 

im a bigger guy and I wonder if the should restraints came down on me how much gap would be at the bottom. 

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If that is indeed what happened (sliding out through the (larger than intended) gap, a seat belt between the legs to connect the harness to the seat would theoretically be the needed positive stop (albeit uncomfortably and assuming it does not fail).

Ever since my ride on Falcon's Fury I've wondered why the abrupt "untilting" before the brakes.  Now I wonder if that was intentional (as a redundant safety measure) to prevent this type of accident. 

When you think about it, on KI Drop Tower or similar, there should never be any force to eject a rider even if the harness is at a higher angle. Hitting the brakes at the tilted angle introduces a new design consideration.  I know very little about ride testing, but it's hard to believe this was not caught during testing.  

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Falcons Fury also locks the seat belt in place.  A small metal rod extends and prevents the ability to unlatch the seat belt.  It’s actually visible to the rider if you look at the belt connector.

Frankly building a Drop Tower with tilting seats and only an OTSR with no seat belt seems crazy to me.  I was in Orlando recently and considered riding this and I am happy I skipped it now.

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6 minutes ago, Buckeye Brad said:

If that is indeed what happened (sliding out through the (larger than intended) gap, a seat belt between the legs to connect the harness to the seat would theoretically be the needed positive stop (albeit uncomfortably and assuming it does not fail).

Ever since my ride on Falcon's Fury I've wondered why the abrupt "untilting" before the brakes.  Now I wonder if that was intentional (as a redundant safety measure) to prevent this type of accident. 

When you think about it, on KI Drop Tower or similar, there should never be any force to eject a rider even if the harness is at a higher angle. Hitting the brakes at the tilted angle introduces a new design consideration.  I know very little about ride testing, but it's hard to believe this was not caught during testing.  

All theory at this point. But I wonder if testing would miss the off chance the OTSR are not fully down as they should or a very different shaped person riding etc. 

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How incredibly sad.

Many here may recall the death at Paramount's Great America when a 12 year old fell out of their Drop Tower.  The investigation found that because there was no seat belt between the legs, his body was able to come out from underneath the OTSR (between the OTSR and seat) as the brakes slowed it down.

Most may not remember, but our Drop Tower didn't have seat belts initially.  After this accident, all Paramount Drop Towers added the seat belt between the legs to prevent someone from being able to slide out in that fashion.  Plus it is an additional safety factor if for some reason the restraint was able to come unlocked (which they say cannot happen mid ride).

I sure hope the investigation doesn't find that a history lesson could have prevented this.  But sadly, I think they will conclude that had this ride had this safety belt between the legs connecting the OTSR and the seat would have prevented it, coupled with if they had height/weight limitations (or were enforced) he wouldn't have been able to ride.  I have seen the raw video and it was a broad chested kid, so that restraint was up fairly high and the bottom of the OTSR was not touching his body.  There was a big enough gap that when the ride hit the brakes, there was enough room for him to slide out, similar to the incident at Great America.  Unbelievable for a tilting forward Drop Tower ride that they would not have that safety belt.

 

image.png

Because of the seat belt on Drop Tower, This person (6' 5", 340 pounds) would not have been able to ride Drop Tower.  The length of the seat belt on Drop Tower is the length it is for a reason.  Even though the OTSR can lock in place a lot higher, it was determined that the distance gap from the seat to the OTSR needs to be small enough to prevent someone from slipping through.

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I agree that a seatbelt should be seems to be the answer from preventing this in the future on Drop Tower rides. 

 

My fear though is that this is going to spawn an overreaction and there will be a movement to require seatbelts on all coasters.   I'd hate to see them added to Velocicoaster, Space Mountain, Mako, Raging Bull, etc when they aren't necessary.  I realize Cedar Fair insists on them, but I think that's more for optics than anything else.  

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If your kid is under 48-inches they get measured and a wristband. Why can't we do this with people who are clearly not within the bounds of riding a Drop Tower? Instead of thinking up ways to zip-tie them to a ride they shouldn't be on.

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13 hours ago, bjcolglazier said:

If your kid is under 48-inches they get measured and a wristband. Why can't we do this with people who are clearly not within the bounds of riding a Drop Tower? Instead of thinking up ways to zip-tie them to a ride they shouldn't be on.

The wristband is good for multiple rides, which is why they do it. But people have different shapes and restraints vary quite a bit. Too many variations to consider.

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22 hours ago, bjcolglazier said:

If your kid is under 48-inches they get measured and a wristband. Why can't we do this with people who are clearly not within the bounds of riding a Drop Tower? Instead of thinking up ways to zip-tie them to a ride they shouldn't be on.

On many OTSR rides that is the job of the seat belt.  That’s the reason the belt is so short on B&M coasters, Intamin coasters, and Intamin Drop Towers.  The seat belt plays double duty, it’s both a backup restraint and a sizing mechanism.

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That little spot has 3 rides and the kid was told he was too big for the swing and the slingshot. Why they did not do the same for the tower is baffling. Just watching the cheap video shows there is a huge space between the child and the restraints.  Was pretty obvious that something bad was going to happen.

Walk around that area all the time but have never had a desire to ride anything there. Place reminds me of a State Fair. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

WOW.  I said it earlier in this thread that a Drop ride put into operation for the first time in 2021 should have learned from past deaths on a Drop ride and should have had a safety belt latching the OTSR to the seat.  That alone would have either not allowed him to ride (similar to our Drop Tower belts being a certain length for a reason) or had he still been able to ride, would have simply had an uncomfortable ride but still would be alive.

I am shocked an engineer would design a tilting drop and not provide that safety belt.  It shouldn't take an engineer to figure out that if you tilt a seat 45 degrees forward, that you have now created the opportunity for something to slide thru.  If it happened on a non-tilting Drop, then it will certainly have an increased chance on a tilting Drop.

And who actually changed this sensor - the owner, maintenance, the ride op?

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I hate to be the Debbie Downer or even hint that I'm questioning a park's focus on safety but with accidents like this, the accident at Glenwood Caverns & at CP on TTD something needs to change with how these rides are maintained and how training is conducted.

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Seems to me that the Glenwood Caverns incident was more inline with this incident that the TTD incident at Cedar Point.  Was the incident on TTD an issue that maintenance would be expected to catch?  No matter if it was or wasn't, seems to me the key takeaway from that incident moving forward is that there really should never been people allowed in the areas where rides can quickly accelerate and likely more importantly quickly brake.  Seems to me that the design of the ride line was an example of an incident just waiting to happen with the sudden braking of the ride mechanism leading to the potential that some part or debris could be sent flying at an accelerated level of speed where people are calmly waiting in the designated Que area.  Perhaps better maintenance could have/should have caught this incident before it happened, but I think a likely outcome is that noone will be allowed in the vicinity where a ride suddenly brakes or accelerates.  In hindsight that just kind of seems like common sense.

 

Both the Glenwood Cavern and the Orlando issues appear to be with workers either not caring or not recognizing the importance of their job.  The Glenwood incident, IIRC could be chalked up to negligence, however the Orlando issue appears to be a ride operator willingly participating in altering the ride safety system.  Further more, that article makes it sound like they also willingly altered the backup safety mechanism that would have ensured altering the harness restraint would not have allowed the machine to operate.  I'll assume it was done with the intention of allowing this young man to experience the ride and little thought was given to the downside, however it should server as an example in all training routines what can happen when the safety system is willingly altered to allow a guest access on something they would otherwise not be able to safely enjoy.

 

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Just looked at some Glenwood Canyon info again, perhaps that case was even more similar to the Orlando incident than i recall and involved severe operator incompetence.

In either case, I agree with BrownTgrr, standard procedures need to be re-examined and re-inforced.

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On 4/18/2022 at 4:23 PM, IndyGuy4KI said:

Whomever made the adjustment has to be shaking in their boots. Sad all around.

Maybe. But you have to remember how irresponsible the media is. This may be considered routine. It may be outlined in the operations manual. It may be an adjustment that half, or most, of the seats have. We don’t know much yet. There are a lot of unknowns that have not yet been addressed. 

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