MAN, 45, APPARENTLY DIES AFTER RIDING GEORGIA ROLLER COASTER.
AUSTELL, Ga. -- A 45-year-old man died, apparently of a heart attack, after losing consciousness at the end of the Goliath roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park.
The man, whose name was not released, was alert while riding the roller coaster, but he was unconscious by the end of the ride, Six Flags spokeswoman Christy Poore said.
The case is similar to one in 2001 at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, where a 28-year-old Fontana woman died on Goliath at that park. An autopsy determined that the roller coaster caused the rupture of a pre-existing aneurysm and listed hypertension and heart disease as contributing factors in her death.
But Pearl Santos' death in Valencia fueled an ongoing debate about thrill rides that push the envelope, mixing quick acceleration with white-knuckle spins, drops and loops.
On Thursday in Georgia, by the time firefighters arrived, the rider wasn't breathing, said Cobb County Fire Lt. Dan Dupree. He said the man was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Goliath soars 200 feet over the Georgia park, lasting just more than three minutes and reaching speeds of 70 mph. Poore said park workers inspected the ride and then reopened it after determining it was operating properly.
On Monday, a 52-year-old Florida man died after riding the Gwazi roller coaster at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla. A medical examiner later said Thomas M. Welch suffered from high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.
A 12-year-old boy who died after riding Disney-MGM's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., last month was also found to have heart problems. An autopsy showed the boy had a congenital heart defect, the medical examiner said.
Company executives at Six Flags California's Magic Mountain say their rides are safe.
An investigation by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration into Santos' death concluded that Goliath was operating properly and that the fatal injury was the result of a pre-existing condition.
Research by the National Institutes of Health in April 2000 found that 15 riders had suffered neurological damage and brain injuries since 1979. The number has since risen to more than 50 as states have begun to share data in the aftermath of the report.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 determined roller coasters simply do not produce enough ``head rotational acceleration'' to cause either bleeding or swelling of the brain. They studied data from rides at three parks.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jul 29, 2006|
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