How Schlitterbahn’s Verruckt was built in Wyandotte County
Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab of Olathe died Sunday on the Verrückt slide at Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kan.
In 1995, Ryan Bielby, 14, fell to her death from the Timber Wolf roller coaster at Kansas City’s Worlds of Fun.
The statistics on how many people die at amusement parks every year are difficult to come by, but the horrifying details always make news headlines.
A woman drowned in just a few feet of water when the inflatable boat she was riding in deflated and trapped her underneath on a water ride at Six Flags Over Texas in 1999.
A girl not properly strapped into her shoulder harness fell to her death on the Lightnin’ Loops roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey in 1987.
Most of the time, news of an injury or death at a theme park involves a roller coaster.
According to the latest fatalities report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2005, 52 people died on amusement park rides between 1990 and 2004 — nearly four every year.
Here are eight high-profile amusement park fatalities in recent years.
Six Flags New Orleans
Rosa Donaldson, 52, died on July 10 after being hit by a car on the Joker’s Jukebox ride she was standing near. Donaldson’s sister told authorities that Donaldson was fastening her 4-year-old grandson into the ride at the time. One of the cars, which sit on spinning arms, hit Donaldson in the head. Then she was hit by another car.
Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif.
Marcelo Torres, a 22-year-old graphic artist from Gardena, Calif., died when a wheel assembly fell off a locomotive on the park’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, causing it to crash. His family settled a lawsuit against Walt Disney Co. for an undisclosed sum. Ten others were injured in the accident.
Six Flags New England, Agawam, Mass.
Stanley J. Morbarsky, of Bloomfield, Conn., 55, died on May 1 after falling from the popular Superman: Ride of Steel roller coaster on the final turn. He hit the rail and then fell just a few feet to the ground. “All the people in the cars were crying,” said one eyewitness. He was dead on arrival at the hospital.
Six Flags Over Georgia, suburban Atlanta
Asia Leeshawn Ferguson of Springfield, S.C., 17, scaled two 6-foot fences to get into a restricted area on June 28 and was decapitated by a roller coaster. Authorities said he was trying to retrieve a hat he lost while riding the Batman roller coaster. He was at the park with his parents and a church group.
Six years earlier, a groundskeeper was killed under similar circumstances when he was hit in the head by the leg of a coaster passenger.
Go Bananas Amusement Park, Norridge, Ill.
Three-year-old Jayson Dansby fell 10 feet out of a kiddie roller coaster and died, right in front of his horrified, inconsolable parents. Jayson was sitting next to his twin brother when he somehow wriggled out of the safety bar and stood up on the ride, authorities said.
Darien Lake Theme Park, Darien Center, N.Y.
Iraq veteran and double amputee James Hackemer, 29, died on July 8 when he flew out of the Ride of Steel roller coaster, according to the New York Daily News. His family sued the park and received an undisclosed seven-figure amount. His daughters, ages 3 and 4 at the time of the accident, were the beneficiaries.
Six Flags over Texas, Arlington
Rosa Irene Ayala-Gaona, 52, was ejected from a third-row seat on the Texas Giant roller coaster on July 19 and plunged 75 feet, striking a metal beam. “She fell, she fell!” her son screamed as the ride came to a stop at the loading platform. She died from multiple traumatic injuries and extensive trauma to her torso.
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Special education teacher James A. Young II, 45, who had just gotten his dream job, reportedly dropped his cell phone and wallet while riding the Raptor roller coaster. When he got off the ride he jumped over a fence into a restricted area to retrieve it and he was struck and killed by one of the cars barreling down the track.