Printer Friendly

SUPERMAN COASTER CLOSED FOR CHECK.

Byline: Staff and Wire Services

VALENCIA - A Six Flags California Magic Mountain roller coaster with a safety restraint system implicated in recent fatal accidents elsewhere remained closed Wednesday, at a time when amusement parks enter their peak season.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health asked park officials to close Superman: The Escape until fixes can be made. Six Flags California spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said the ride has been closed for its scheduled annual maintenance since May and will be reopened within the next 30 days with the modified restraint system.

``We're taking the time to be proactive to make the modifications to the lap bar restraint system before the ride is reopened,'' she said.

The ride uses a T-shaped lap bar restraint manufactured by Switzerland-based Intamin AG. Investigators partially blamed the system for a 2001 accident at Knott's Berry Farm's Perilous Plunge ride, in which a Duarte mother fell 115 feet to her death.

While the ride was modified and reopened, concerns were revived in April when a 16-year-old girl died at a theme park in Wales after falling 100 feet from Hydro, an Intamin ride nearly identical to Perilous Plunge.

On May 1, a 55-year-old man died after falling from Superman: Ride of Steel, another Intamin attraction with a T-bar restraint, at Six Flags New England.

State officials said it is the first time they have asked for safety improvements as a result of accidents that occurred outside California.

Officials also visited Knott's Berry Farm on Wednesday to discuss possible modifications for another ride that uses the T-bar restraint system.

The Xcelerator, which opened in 2002 as the park's fifth roller coaster, was shut down voluntarily Tuesday at the request of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said Knott's Susan Tierney.

``We met with representatives of (Cal-OSHA) this morning, and we're working with independent engineers for possible modification to the current system,'' she said.

Neither Knott's nor its sister park in Ohio, which has a similar ride, has had any problem with the coasters.

``Both (Magic Mountain and Knott's) were in agreement that we should take the steps to improve the restraint system, and took it upon themselves to shut down the rides until the modifications are made,'' OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said.

Tierney said that once a solution was developed for the Perilous Plunge, a harness that came over the shoulders and wrapped across the waist, similar to those used by fighter jet pilots, it took about six weeks for the manufacture and installation of the new restraint system.

``We want to be able to reopen it as soon as we can,'' she added.

Knott's visitor Dennis Burnaman told KCAL (Channel 9) that he and his daughter were disappointed to find the roller coaster shut down.

``The whole drive down here - we drove an hour and a half - the whole time I was telling my daughter, oh, we gotta go on this extreme ride,'' he said.

``And we get here and see it's the only roller coaster closed,'' he said. ``So it's kind of disappointing for both of us.''

But patron Elaine Johnson felt a sense of reassurance.

``It's good because they're concerned,'' she told KCAL. ``They just want to make sure that it's checked out. So I think it's good that they're monitoring it, too - checking it out.''
COPYRIGHT 2004 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 3, 2004
Words:555
Previous Article:19-YEAR-OLD HELD FOR TRIAL IN SLAYING.
Next Article:MAKING A SUDDEN STOP SUSPECTS CRASH JEEP AFTER CHASE.


Related Articles
SPEED RULES.
SUPERMAN THE ESCAPE MAKES TOP 10 LIST.
40 SECONDS OF FEAR : SUPERMAN DEFEATS DELAY, TAKES RIDERS UP, UP, AWAY.
SUPERFAST ROLLER COASTER COMING.
THE SUPERMAN OF RIDES : 100-MPH COASTER NEARS TEST STAGE.
SUPERMAN'S FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET.
SUMMER FUN.
C'MON 'N' RIDE IT - IF IT WORKS : JURASSIC'S JUMPIN' ON UNIVERSAL TOUR, BUT THRILL-SEEKERS AT MAGIC MOUNTAIN FIND SUPERMAN ATTRACTION GROUNDED.
NEW THRILL RIDE PICKING UP SPEED.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters