July 2022 Ride Report Recap

For July 2022, 21 events were reported as occurring in the month. Six (6) were in fixed site operations, seven (7) in mobile operations, and eight (8) in waterparks. Four (4) reports originated from Asia-Pacific region, nine (9) from Europe including England, three (3) from Latin America, and six (6) from North America. These events involved 14 fatalities, from events reported from Indonesia (9 deceased), Brazil, Mexico, Denmark, England, and Canada (QC), and 46 non-fatal injuries. The two largest non-fatal injury counts were both swing carousels that appeared to tip over in operation, one injuring 18 (China) and the other 15 (Italy).

These tallies exclude reports related to occurrences in previous periods, revisited in the media for various reasons, and reports that are outside the scope of this tally, including stoppages and evacuations, employee injuries, and injury events involving devices outside of scope. These are, however, recapped below.

It must also be noted that tallies represent media coverage compiled through media aggregators in the English-speaking industry, and not the underlying rate of occurrence. Lack of access to non-English reporting may understate occurrence in non-English-speaking regions. In addition, exposure to amusement devices varies regionally, and it would be expected to observe more occurrences where more people are exposed to amusement devices.

02 July 2022, on Twisted Colossus roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, an 8 year old girl was struck in the face by a cellphone that had been carried in hand by another rider, in violation of posted rules. The phone was caught by another guest, and following the ride cycle, was sought out by the guest who had lost his grip on the phone. He was reportedly indifferent to the consequences of his action, but left in a hurry after seeing the extent of the girl’s injuries. It is unclear whether he did retrieve the phone, or faced any consequences. Link | Link

02 July 2022, at Piracema Park Club, in Brazil, an adult female guest climbed to the platform to experience a zipline, but fell through a hole in the loading platform before being attached to any harnesses, falling 70 feet and sustaining fatal injury. Link

03 July 2022, a 9 year old boy fell 7m from a zipline at Treetop Challenge in Australia, when a cable snapped. The child reportedly was hospitalized with serious injuries. It is unclear from the reporting which cable snapped (transit cable or the suspension harness). Link | Link

03 July 2022, at a fair in Ramlila, India, an adult guest fell from a Ferris wheel. There were contradictory reports, as to whether the guest was trying to pose for a selfie, or lost balance and fell out when the wheel moved abruptly. Witnesses seeing a person separate from a gondola could assume it was due to posing, even if it was due to mechanical motion, since selfie-takers do occasionally lose awareness of proximate hazards and fall. Witnesses perceiving the wheel moving abruptly could have been seeing the destabilization of the gondola due to unbalanced loading or change of loading when the rider leaned too far over. Link

05 July 2022, Oceans of Fun waterpark (US MO), lifeguards rescued a girl submerged in the waterpark pool. The child was transported to hospital and subsequently died. Link | Link | Link

10 July 2022, a rider separated from a ride at a fair in Colombia but managed to hold on, sustaining serious injury. The report is unclear what specific ride is involved. The report calls it “rueda eléctrica” which could refer to an electrically powered vertical wheel (Ferris wheel or gondola wheel). Most such wheels do not entail ejection forces, so the description is quite incomplete as to the type of event that occurred. Link

11 July 2022, a small swing carousel collapsed while operating in a parking lot in Naples, Italy. An estimated 10 to 15 were injured, many with leg injuries, with a 12 year old girl hospitalized. Swing carousels suspend seats on ropes, rods, or chains from a carousel overhead that usually rises and tilts to create a swooping ride sensation for riders. While malfunctions on swing carousels sometimes entail the failure of the mechanism that lifts and tilts the crown, causing the low side to strike the platform or ground, images in the reports of this event show the ride lying entirely on its side. Link | Link | Link

11 July 2022, at Gulliver’s World in England, a child breached the fence around a small pirate ship and sat on scenery within the enclosure, before walking around closer to the moving ride. The boy was intercepted before he was struck by the ride. Link | Link | Link

14 July 2022, at Tivoli Freheden in Denmark, two riders were injured when the last car of the Cobraen roller coaster derailed. One, a 14 year old girl, died in hospital. The ride reportedly will be removed from the park. Link | Link | Link | Link | Link

14 July 2022, a 74- year old woman was rescued from a wave pool at Soaky Mountain in USA (TN). No further information was reported as to her level of consciousness when retrieved from pool or the nature of the injury event although submersion is implied. Link

18 July 2022, at a fair in Mexico, a man estimated to be 27 years old was ejected from a mobile ride sustaining fatal injury. The report states he was ejected from a height of 7m, which makes little sense in the context of the ride depicted, which resembles an Alpine Bob. It is possible that he was ejected from an adjacent ride and landed on the horizontally revolving ride. Further information would be needed to clarify this event. Link

20 July 2022, a woman “slipped down the slide” on Les Sphères Infernales waterslide at Wave Island, in France, breaking her collarbone and sustaining a head injury. Link

21 July 2022, a woman on Les Sphères Infernales waterslide at Wave Island, in France, was tipped in her tube-raft, striking the side of the slide and sustaining a serious head injury. She was transported to hospital in a coma by air ambulance. Link (same news report as above)

22 July 2022, a boy required resuscitation after nearly drowning in a pool at Plopsaqua in Belgium. Link

22 Jul 2022, a 14 year old teen drowned after using a waterslide at the Super Aqua Club in Québec. Family members alerted lifeguards after she did not reappear. She was transferred to hospital but could not be revived. Police reported that the guest did not know how to swim. Link | Link | Link

The above two cases underscore a critical message, that waterslides and waterparks must be used with the same precautions as any public swimming facility, including abstaining or being closely supervised, regardless of age, if unable to swim.

22 July 2022, a man was sent to hospital after being rescued while in distress in a wave pool at Wet ‘n Wild waterpark in North Carolina, USA. Link

25 July 2022, an Alton Towers guest queueing for the Rita roller coaster had a change of heart and attempted to self-extract from the queue by scaling a fence. He became entrapped in the fence and needed assistance to be extricated, and was taken by ambulance for assessment. In addition to the safer option of walking the queue in the reverse direction, many roller coasters offer patrons an exit just before loading. This is often used by patrons who wish to accompany their companions during the queue but not ride, or patrons who change their mind when they see the ride vehicle. In other cases, non-riders can walk through the ride vehicle and out the other side without boarding and riding. Tentative riders should be reassured that they will never be obligated to ride simply because they entered the queue. Link | Link | Link

26 July 2022, nine children among an estimated 20 passengers were killed in Indonesia when an open-topped bus with a capacity of 12 small children operated as an amusement device by an unlicensed driver crossed a railway track and was struck by a train. The driver was reportedly playing loud music as part of the entertainment and heard neither the train, nor bystanders’ shouts of warning. Link | Link

26 July 2022, an “incident” was reported on Space Race, a bobs-style horizontally revolving, undulating ride inside a structure creating a dark environment, at Flambards amusement park in England. Three riders were transported to hospital. Unconfirmed witness reports indicated “one of the carriages came off the track”. Link | Link | Link | Link

27 July 2022, a 19 year old male was injured after falling down on a Tagada operated at Vienna Prater. Tagada is a horizontally revolving ride on which riders are ostensibly seated on a bench around the perimeter but are not restrained and often stand up and even prance around as the ride revolves, tips, and bounces, because that is what its properties afford, and operators routinely fail to intercept that behaviour. Tagada is not permitted in many jurisdictions. Link

27 July 2022, a small swing carousel in Hanzhong, China is seen on video tipping over while in motion. The report is unclear whether a fixed site or mobile operation, and whether the ride broke apart or, if mobile, tipped off the blocks. The report indicates that 18 riders and bystanders were sent to hospital, some sustaining fractures. 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.

In connection to litigation, a report referred to an event of 07 July 2021, in which an adult male rider on the Cyclone roller coaster at Lakeside Amusement Park reportedly struck his arm against track/structure within reach of the ride vehicle while riding with his arms in the air. Link

Superstar amusement in India was permitted to resume operations other than a pendulum disk ride that failed on 14 July 2019. On the failed amusement device, the load bearing arm and cable snapped, dropping riders to the platform, fatally injuring two, and leaving others with irreversible injuries including amputations. Link | Link

Litigation was reported in connection with an injury on 16 May 2021, when a woman riding Reign of Kong (a motion-based vehicle that travels slowly on a generally flat path) at Universal’s Islands of Adventure attempted to stabilize against ride motion and her finger was inserted into a gap that closed, reportedly severing part of the finger. 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. Excluded devices may also be mentioned here. We also do not log single reports that cover multiple different injury cases, unless each is separately describe, so news coverage that refers to multiple different injury events may be reported here.

A worker fell about four (4) metres from a moving ride in Germany, 09 July 2022. The description sounds as though the operator attempted to jump onto the ride as it slowed. This inadvisable operator practice is sometimes used to prepare for unloading of riders at the end of the ride cycle. Each time it is successful, it increases the chance it will be performed in future, and fail. Link

An 18-year old woman working as an instructor in a trampoline park in Israel fell 8m to a hard surface sustaining critical injuries, 23 July 2022. She was reportedly secured in a zipline harness at the time. Fall-arrest devices must obviously be tethered to a point that is higher than the length of the cord. The report does not state the configuration of the worker’s harness. Link

An employee sustained a head injury on 20 July 2022 while maintaining and testing an unspecified roller coster at Silver Dollar City, MO, US, and succumbed to his injuries the next day. Link

A 25-year old employee dismantling a mobile ghost-train ride in Germany was reportedly knocked off the structure and fell 10- 15m, and was transported to hospital in serious condition. The report describes an engine being removed by crane, destabilizing a scenery element which tipped onto the worker, knocking him off. Use of fall-arrest device is not mentioned, although mobile rides may lack tie-down points for use of fall-arrest systems. Link

Riders evacuated by catwalk from the Oblivion roller coaster at Alton Towers during the UK’s record-setting heat wave. Team members delivered water, food, and hats to riders while they waited for assistance to walk off the ride using safety harnesses. Trackside walks are often coveted by roller coaster enthusiasts, but not for the faint of heart. Anyone riding a roller coaster should be prepared for the tiniest chance that they may need to be evacuated from its highest point. Link

Riders were evacuated from a stalled drop ride at Legoland Korea, from a height of 25m. Evacuation is an operational procedure for which parks prepare and practice, and is not, as the article calls it, an “accident”. Evacuations may be required due to mechanical malfunction, but malfunctions are an inherent part of co-existing with machines. Acknowledging that to be the case, responsible operators have a backup procedure like assisted evacuation as a normal alternate mode of operation that they hope to use rarely. Link

A woman was found deceased beneath a chairlift at Anakeesta in Tennessee, USA on 28 July 2022. Commonly found at ski hills, some chairlifts operate during non-ski season as well. Some chairlifts are open benches with a positioning bar across them, to facilitate ease of loading and unloading while the ropeway continues in motion. Positioning bars are useful to allow the rider to stabilize themselves but are not intended to immobilize a person in the seat. Positioning bars may be selected by the designer for devices where a properly seated person will experience no ejection forces during normal function and reasonably expected alternate modes of operation, and a restraint function is not required. Link | Link | Link | Link | Link

Four separate injury events were reported in connection with one waterslide in Japan, between 2022 July 3 and 10. Four individuals, including three adult men and one 12 year old boy, each sustained cuts and bruises on a particular curve of the same waterslide, two of whom required stitches. Investigation identified that they had been sliding too fast, therefore modifications are planned to reshape the slide path to reduce speed. 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.