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Coaster accident at Expoland in Japan

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What a terrible thing to happen. The FOX news article said that an axle broke. Didn't the same thing happen to King Cobra in it's first or second year? I seem to recall something like that. The rumor/story that I got was that they had to remove all of the axles on KC and replace them with stronger better hardened axles. Wonder if there is any similarity?

Of course, at my age, my memory could be all askew!

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3 at Expoland plead guilty to fatal roller coaster accident


OSAKA — Three former officials of the amusement park Expoland in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, pleaded guilty Monday in principle to their negligence in connection with a fatal roller coaster accident last year in which one person was killed and 19 others were injured. The accident took place at the amusement park on May 5, 2007, when the roller coaster, called the Fujin Raijin II, derailed, leaving Yoshino Kogawara, 19, from the city of Higashiomi in Shiga Prefecture dead and the 19 injured.

Masanori Ito, 60, a former board member of Expoland, and Atsushi Tatebe, 65, who formerly headed Expoland’s facilities and business department, who were responsible for the safe operation of the roller coaster, allegedly neglected to perform regular maintenance checks. As a result, they failed to detect visible cracks in the coaster’s axle and continued to operate the roller coaster due to commercial considerations.

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^ Yeah, now here is the kicker:

Japan has strict regulations that all available areas of coaster track have a cat-walk to walk safely off.

And in this particular accident, when the axle broke causing the train to derail, it sent some of the coaster cars right into the cat-walk that you see in the pictures.

You can also see from the RCDB pics that practically the entire coaster as a cat-walk available.

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