Amusement Park Accidents Aren’t Amusing

On Sunday, August 10, two dozen roller coaster fans got more than they bargained for at Six Flags America, 30 miles southwest of Baltimore. They had purchased tickets to ride the Joker’s Jinx, a roller coaster that propels riders from zero to 60 mph in a little more than three seconds. But a computerized system stopped the ride while some were almost at its highest point, nearly 80 feet in the air. The Prince George’s County Fire and EMS worked for four hours to rescue the riders, using a tower ladder and rescue bucket. Fortunately, no one was injured in this amusement park incident. Earlier this summer, on July 7, a tree branch fell on the tracks at Six Flags Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles, derailing the Ninja roller coaster, leaving it dangling and stranding occupants for hours. Four passengers were injured. Last summer, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington shut down its Texas Giant roller coaster after a woman was thrown from her seat and plunged to her death. Do these incidents mean you’re taking an unreasonable risk if you take your family to an amusement park? No, but there is a risk. In 2012, 30,342 people visited[…..]

Airborne Thrills And Spills

JetLev is one model of a relatively new type of recreational device, commonly known as a jet pack, that allows thrill-seekers to take flight. The jet packs, strapped over the shoulders and worn on the back, propel riders into the air with a stream of water. The equipment is tethered to a small, pilotless boat while the rider, using hand-held throttles, controls the speed of up to 25 miles per hour and height of up to 30 feet. Sound like fun? It could be. But, as the website for the JetLev Flyer warns, any activity involving speed, heights, water or power equipment is inherently risky. Some adventurers have gotten more “excitement” than they bargained for. In March, a flyer in Newport Beach, California, shot up and backward after accelerating too quickly, so an operator on the ground remotely cut the throttle, sending the man falling back toward the water. He hit the watercraft connected to the jet pack and required medical treatment. In 2012, a customer sustained a concussion after falling from the air during a jet pack ride; his lawsuit was settled for $100,000. Currently in Maryland, there are three businesses, all located in Ocean City, which offer jet[…..]