One minor mechanical error can lead to one of the worst roller coaster accidents in history. Due to the machinery and mechanical accurateness that is needed to run a roller coaster, most of the time you are safe as the G-force keeps you pinned in place. However, just like in your favorite horror movie, everything that seems safe may quickly turn into a horror story.
Top 10 Worst Roller Coaster Accidents
Darien Lake Amusement Park
Location: Buffalo, New York
Ride: Ride of Steel
What happened: Known as one of the worst roller coaster accidents in recent history, this tragic incident is devastating. An Iraq war vet who had lost both of his legs during the war wanted to enjoy the day at the amusement park. He had asked the staff which of the rides were safest for him to ride. They had decided the Ride of Steel would be safe, however it turned out to be his last. He slid to his terrifying death when he slipped through the harness when one of the trains went racing over a small incline.
Overseas China Town East Theme Park
Location: Southern China
Ride: Space Journey
Date: June 29, 2010
What happened: Designed to simulate the launch of a rocket, Space Journey killed six people and injured dozens more. The ride had about 40 passengers aboard when one of the cabins came loose and collided with the others causing them to fall 50 feet to the ground.
Six Flags Over Georgia
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Date: June 2008
What happened: A 17 year old boy was decapitated by the ride while trying to recover his lost hat. He had lost his hat during the ride and wanted it back; despite all the warnings, he climbed the fence to retrieve the hat and was decapitated by the 80 km per hour ride. Six years prior, a similar event happened during which a groundskeeper died when he was hit by the leg of a passenger while the roller coaster was rolling.
Location: Osaka, Japan
Ride: Fujin Raijin II
What happened: One of Japan’s worst roller coaster accidents happened when the coaster derailed. This accident claimed the life of one college student and injured 19 others when the cars went flying off the tracks. After an investigation, it was discovered that it had bad axles and had not been replaced in 15 years. When the park reopened, even more poor quality axles were found on their coasters.
Loudoun Castle Amusement Park
Ride: The Rat
What happened: Some amusement park accidents take the lives of the employees, as The Rat did in 2007. A new operator for the ride was left on his own for the first time. As per usual, it was his duty to help cars along that may get stuck. He attempted this simple job, but his hand got stuck. It finally let loose at the top of the rise, dropping him to his death.
Six Flags Kentucky
Location: Kentucky, USA
Ride: Superman Tower of Power
Date: June 2007
What happened: As the ride ascended, cables were snapping and slapping a group of teenage girls in the face and torso. The yelled for them to stop the ride, but it was all the way up and began to drop. The cables snapping injured many of the passengers and one of the girls lost both of her feet.
Oakwood Theme Park
Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales
Date: April 2004
What happened: A 16 year old girl was enjoying a day at the Oakwood Theme Park with her family. She was hurtled 30 meters to the ground from her car which caused severe internal injuries, eventually leading to her death. After she died, the park closed for a full year and when they reopened they had renamed the water ride, Drenched.
Gulliver’s World Theme Park
Location: Warrington, England
Ride: Ferris Wheel
Date: July 2002
What happened: Another one of the worst roller coaster accidents took the life of a 15 year old girl with Down's syndrome when she had gotten out of her seat and dropped 6 meters causing a deadly head trauma. During an investigation, it was found that she had wanted to ride with her mom, but the park employees refused, saying that her mom was too big and needed her own seat. Since her mom nor her were fluent in English, they were unable to protest. Although it was found that the bar was still locked in place, the park suffered health and safety fines.
Lagoon Amusement Park
Ride: Puff the Little Fire Dragon
What happened: A 6 year old boy lost his life on what is one of the slowest and safest of rides at the park. However, in this case, he had slipped out of the safety restraints and fell the four feet to the ground. He was uninjured. Then he decided to climb back on, unfortunately that same car had looped around and instantly killed him when it hit him in the head.
Battersea Fun Fair
Ride: The Big Dipper
What happened: One of the most tragic amusement park accidents claimed the lives of five children. This was the beginning of the end of the Fun Fair. One of the cars rolled back into the station when it broke loose from the coaster, taking the lives of five children and injuring several more.