As People Flock to Theme Parks This Summer, Series of Accidents Plagues Popular Rides

By Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
July 10, 2021 Updated: July 11, 2021

By Maxwell Adler
From The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Headlines across the country have been abundant with news of shocking theme park accidents in the last several weeks, some of them fatal. Last month, a Tennessee boy got caught under a Missouri coaster and was seriously injured.

And in early June a woman died from internal bleeding after sustaining an injury while riding a roller coaster in Indiana. It was ruled an accident.

The likelihood of dying on a roller coaster is pretty low, with odds at roughly one in 750 million, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

But when injuries do happen, they can be life-changing and tragic. And accidents while suspended in the air are certainly frightening.

Here’s a look at some of the most recent amusement park accidents—some did not result in injury—in the United States:

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari In Indiana

Dawn R. Jankovic, 47, of Brunswick, Ohio, died from internal bleeding after sustaining an injury while riding “The Voyage” roller coaster at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, in June.

The coroner in charge of the case listed force from the roller coaster as a third cause of death. The force from “The Voyage” ride caused her right internal thoracic artery to tear, resulting in rapid blood loss, according to the coroner.

Officials said the roller coaster was functioning properly and the death “had nothing to do with the ride itself,” the Indianapolis Star reported.

Six Flags Great Adventure In New Jersey

On June 13, two people were taken to the hospital after sustaining injuries on the Saw Mill Log Flume ride at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The log flume, which takes riders down a 4-story plunge, has been in service since the park’s opening in 1974.

Branson Coaster In Missouri

An 11-year-old from Tennessee fell while getting off the Branson Coaster in the Missouri tourist town and was then stuck underneath the rails of the ride for roughly 90 minutes on June 20.

He incurred serious injuries to his legs and right arm. His grandmother said at the time that doctors were unsure if they would be able to save his legs. Before boarding the coaster, Aalondo Perry, who has impaired vision, was told by ride operators that he couldn’t sit in the same car as his 13-year-old brother.

Adventureland In Iowa

A child died and three other people were seriously injured when a boat on the Raging River ride at Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa, overturned this month.

Michael Jaramillo, 11, died from his injuries, the Altoona Police Department announced two days after the incident. Another child was in critical condition after the incident. Two adults were hospitalized.

The Raging Rivers ride has been operating since 1983. This was not the first time someone lost their life on the Raging Rivers ride. An employee was killed by the ride in 2016, according to The Associated Press.

Castles N’ Coasters In Pheonix

On May 15, 22 people were rescued from the Desert Storm roller coaster at Castles N’ Coasters amusement park in Phoenix. After the riders spent roughly two hours suspended 20 feet above the ground in a sideways position, firefighters were able to rescue the group, which included a handful of children. Nobody was physically injured during the incident.

Six Flags Fiesta In San Antonio

At the end of May, 20 people were rescued from the Poltergeist roller coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.

The 2,700-foot-long roller coaster, that takes passengers from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds, stalled midride on May 29. After riders were stuck on the coaster for more than three hours, several firefighter crews and rescue teams were able to safely remove them from the ride. Nobody was physically injured during the incident.

©2021 The Kansas City Star. Visit at kansascity.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Tribune News Service
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