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6 of the World’s Most Brutal Amusement Park Accidents

You’ve been on many amusement park rides throughout your life…But have you considered this?

Amusement parks are typically considered safe, of course, that’s if you keep your arms and legs inside the rides at all times and avoid restricted areas. But accidents DO happen. And some of these disasters show the deadly side of these rides.

From the early 1900s until today, there have been a few disasters among the most tragic and unfortunate to happen to parkgoers worldwide.

Between fires, crashing cars, loosened harnesses, and inferior structural engineering, you might find yourself tensing up the next time someone suggests a day at a theme park.

But in going to these amusement parks, knowing that one of the rides might malfunction is a hazard that all thrill seekers face. In a study by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, there’s a 1 in 16 million chance of dying from a ride in the US.

According to that same website, the chance of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 775,000, making going on rides look safe.

And after knowing about these accidents, freak, or human error…and obviously watching that one Final Destination movie, we think we should stay away from rides for a while. Here are 6 times amusement park rides proved to be horrifyingly UN-amusing!

Amusement Park
Photo by Pit Stock at Shutterstock

Six Flags Great Adventure’s Haunted Castle

Haunted Castle at Six Flags in Jackson Township, New Jersey, was burnt beyond recognition on the eve of May 11th, 1948. it consisted of 16 trailer trucks connected by plywood, creating a maze of passageways.

The fire was believed to have been started by a boy trying to find his way through the maze with the help of a lighter. When he ran into foam padding, he accidentally set it on fire and allegedly went on without warning anyone.

At first, the visitors thought it was a particularly real-looking effect of the attraction until the fire spread, and the smoke became too thick. The fire brigade was notified and immediately responded but couldn’t go in because of the thick smoke.

According to the news reports, 8 teenagers passed away from smoke inhalation, and 7 others were injured when found in the same corridor.

The Horrifying Discovery Pendulum Ride Collapse

On July 14th, 2019, the Discovery ride at Amrapali Amusement Park in Ahmedabad, India, hit the ground mid-operation, immediately killing 22-year-old Mohammed Zaid Momin and 24-year-old Manali Rajvadi.

The media reported that rescue workers pulled out 27 injured people from the wreckage. They were all between 16 and 26 years old.

The entire thing was captured on video and uploaded online, showing the ride gradually beginning to swing back and forth before finally snapping and falling backward as a crowd of onlookers gasped and screamed.

The circular platform then fell another 20ft, with riders facing out toward the stairs, taking the brunt of the crash. The local chief fire officer MF Dastoor told reporters, “The ride works when the main shaft with seats at the circular end is counter-balanced by a weight.

When the cable snapped, the welding along the shaft came off, and the carriage also fell.” The ride had allegedly been regularly maintained and inspected, and the park’s management didn’t want to explain the reason for the collapse.

River Rapids’s Watery Grave

Four people passed away on the Thunder River Rapids ride at Australia’s largest theme park, Dreamworld, on October 25th, 2016.

The accident’s accounts say two people were expelled from the ride, and the other two were entrapped on it, though what exactly killed them remains unclear. Unfortunately, only three of the four victims were identified.

Two were siblings: Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett, and his partner Roozi Araghi. The victim’s mother, Kim Dorsett, said, “I have 3 children and have lost 2 today… I also have 2 granddaughters: an 8-month-old and a 12-year-old, and it truly breaks my heart to know that my 8-month-old is never going to get to know her mum.”

According to a witness, he saw one of the victims drowning while children nearby screamed. “There were kids onboard screaming while their mum was trapped under. I’d rather not talk about what I saw,” the man said.

Another witness stated, “She just kept screaming “Where’s Mummy? Where’s Mummy?” The park didn’t give a reason for the incident other than the fact that it was a “malfunction.”

Amusement Park
Photo by Petr Bonek at Shutterstock

Six Flags Kentucky’s Superman Tower of Power

A 13-year-old girl’s life was utterly overturned after riding on the Superman Tower of Power in Six Flags, Kentucky.

The ride, a tower with a considerable drop, was designed to lift people up 170ft and then drop them at a speed of 54 mph. About 45ft into ascending the ride, witnesses say that they saw some cables snapping loose and whipping around.

Voices of people on the ride were heard screaming at the operators for it to stop. The ride didn’t stop, and one of the cables wrapped around the 13-year-old girl’s feet tightened, severing her feet at the ankles. She was instantly taken to the hospital to receive treatment.

But while the doctors were able to reattach her right foot, her left foot was too damaged, causing her to need a prosthetic.

The Cursed Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was built on land that was once owned by Mitchell Clay, the first white homesteader in Mercer County, West Virginia. In 1783, Indigenous Americans killed two of his children, kidnapped a third, and then burned him alive.

Local folklore says the land became cursed. It would bring misfortune to those who set foot on it. It remained untouched until the 1920s when businessman Conley T. Snidow bought it. He decided to use the land as an amusement park.

According to reports, 6 people died here while it was open. But a young girl’s death in 1966 would completely shut down this amusement park. While it didn’t have many rides, the few it did have drew massive crowds, specifically, the Ferris wheel and swings.

When a little girl dressed in pink sat on the swings, a truck backed into them as it attempted to turn around and, in the process, crushed the girl. But the story doesn’t end here. Lake Shawnee’s history of death goes back further than initially thought.

Chris White bought the land in 1986 and discovered different Native American artifacts buried on the grounds. He invited a team from a local University to search the area. “They stopped digging when they found kids’ graves,” he said.

“The only thing they can figure out happened was that they had some kind of sickness, and to protect the rest of the tribe, everyone except for the children and the elderly left.” Many people believe the park is haunted even today and ask White about it often.

When asked: “What’s your definition of haunted?” he would say. “I don’t have one, but strange things happen here all the time.”

Amusement Park
Photo by Pixelfeger at Shutterstock

Battersea Fun Fair’s The Big Dipper, England

Like any other accident in a theme park, it began as an exciting day at Battersea Fun Fair… until it wasn’t. In 1972, what happened to the Big Dipper ride was considered the worst rollercoaster disaster in history. 5 children were crushed to their deaths, and 13 were severely injured.

The Big Dipper is a wooden rollercoaster ride that was very popular during that time. 30 people were on the ride when the first of the three carriages suddenly detached from the haulage wire that was pulling when it reached a high point.

With the anti-rollback mechanism also failing, it started swaying backward at full speed into the other cars until the children in the last car were hit, and the impact crushed them.

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