February 2022 Monthly Ride Report Recap

In February 2022, media reports covered five (5) recordable ride accidents, including one derailment (malfunction), two fall events (one involving multiple people), one patron encroachment on closed attraction, and one exposure to chemical vapour.

In the month, there were also two (2) headlines about stranded riders, and multiple injuries sustained in a structure fire, both outside of scope of ride accidents. Reports also revisited two cases in previous periods arising out of settlement in the litigation for the cases.

Date of last update: 10 March 2022.

08 February 2022, at Imbé fair in Brazil, a four-person ride cart derailed from the roller coaster “Hot Wheels”, injuring the four occupants. While others were treated and released, one remained in hospital. Link | Link

12 February 2022, at the Florida State Fair, a 7-year-old girl, one of three children under age 10 riding the gondola together, slipped out and fell 35 to 40 feet to the grassy ground below, sustaining injuries including fractures. Gondola rides similar to horizontal ski lifts are popular rides at many fairgrounds to rest and avoid walking from end to end, while gaining an elevated view of the entire midway. Like ski lifts, they typically load and unload without stopping, and have a slippery bench seat to facilitate ease of load and unload. The shared bar across the bench is a positioning device, not a restraint. The ride moves slowly and predictably with no ejection forces, and gravity will keep the rider in the seat if they remain in a neutral position facing forward with their back against the backrest. Riders who slouch, turn sideways or twist, wiggle around on the slippery seat, or sit forward of the backrest (to keep knees bent with short upper legs), however, may be at risk of sliding out below the bar. Many operators require supervision of small children, but children taller than the required minimum height are allowed to ride without an adult. Link

14 February 2022, at diRoma Acqua Park waterpark in Brazil, an 8 year old boy managed to access a waterslide that was closed for construction or service, and fell through an opening, falling 45 feet, striking a metal structure and landing in the pool, sustaining a fatal injury. The child was reportedly very familiar with the venue, was permitted to go alone to the washroom, and before returning to his parent, managed to encroach on the maintenance area without being intercepted. Link | Link | Link

20 February 2022, at the H20 Fun Park-cum-Amusement Park in India, four riders fell from a gondola wheel, one of whom was fatally injured. The gondola gate reportedly failed. The story does not report how four people could fall from a slow moving, upright ride simply because a gate was not closed. Link

27 February 2022, a parent reported to the media that their 5 year old child experienced stinging eyes from chlorine vapour at Waterworld waterpark in England, and they sought a refund of their admission. The reports claimed employees disclosed malfunction of the pump for the pool. Link | Link

Reports of injury in previous periods

Events occurring in prior periods receive media coverage for various reasons, often because of litigation milestones (claims filed, decision reached), anniversaries of notable events, and references arising from recent similar events. 

A settlement was reported in connection to a 12 year old girl whose hair was entangled in a Ferris wheel at a carnival in England, five years earlier. Link

A settlement was reported in connection to a girl, aged 11, exposed to noxious vapour, potentially chlorine, that aggravated her asthma, at a visit to Fantasia waterpark in Ireland on 01 April 2016. Link

Excluded reports

Some media reports are outside the scope of the database. Riders stuck on stopped rides are popular topics for human-interest stories. Also excluded are media reports that cover multiple cases without specifics of each case. Employee injuries are also excluded, but can attract media interest.

06 February 2022, at La Chorrera Fair, Panama, on a roller coaster, a wallet became stuck between wheels and track, causing the ride to stop. This resulted in 12 riders stuck for 30 minutes. The ride cycle was restarted and riders unloaded at the normal unload location.

19 February 2022, at Parque de Atracciones in Spain, part of the roof of the Grand Theatre collapsed, injuring 13 guests, eight of whom needed hospital care. Link

19 February 2022 a seven-month old roller coaster “Ride to Happiness by Tomorrowland” at Plopsaland, Belgium, stopped at a 35m elevation, in an upright position. Wind and other weather were adverse at the time, but the operator stated that these did not exceed operating specifications. However, the winds did interfere with setting up a large crane required to evacuate the nine adult passengers, with some waiting six hours to be assisted to the ground. All were treated for mild hypothermia but not otherwise injured. Link

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About Kathryn Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, teaching, researching, and consulting in the area of human factors engineering / ergonomics particularly applied to amusement rides and attractions (https://thrilllab.blog.ryerson.ca), and to broader occupational and public safety issues of performance, error, investigation and inspection, and to disability and accessibility.