Woman Dies After Fall From Roller Coaster

Theme Park News

Texas Giant Accident

For information on the July 19th accident at Six Flags Over Texas involving a woman falling from the New Texas Giant go here: Woman Dies While Riding New Texas Giant

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Last weekend, a woman fell from a roller coaster called Xtreme at Dixie Landin’ Family Theme Park in Baton Rouge, Woman Falls from Xtreme Roller Coaster at Dixie Landin'Louisiana. Before the accident, 21-year old Lindsay Zeno was seen trying to pull her restraint down as she was riding.  Soon after, she fell 30 feet to the ground. Local government officials checked out the ride and reported that there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with the coaster. The ride will remain closed until a comprehensive investigation has been completed. The park is going to bring in experts including the manufacturers of the coaster to put the ride through some tests.

From the eyewitness account, it’s obvious that Zeno wasn’t properly restrained. Either the ride op didn’t restrain her properly or the restraints came open during the ride. In my opinion, the latter seems pretty unlikely. I’ve never heard of restraints coming open after a ride had dispatched. Human error is more likely the cause here, but hopefully we’ll learn more after the investigation.

In a discussion over at UltimateRollerCoaster, some are speculating that the restraints may not have been applied fully.  Zeno was overweight and the ride ops may not have stuck with the proper protocol in restraining her. I can remember on several occasions (Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags America for example) where I saw ride ops forcefully pressing lap bars down on larger riders until they were able to buckle the ‘sizing’ seat belts to the restraints. They go on to note how Disney Sonic Spinball at Alton Towersparks’ ride ops restrain riders and then ask everyone to “pull up on your lap bar”. This kind of double-checking could help prevent something like this. I’m just speculating, like these other enthusiasts.

Xtreme was designed by Maurer Sohne. It’s a spinning wild mouse-like roller coaster. Clones of Xtreme can be found at several smaller amusement parks in the U.S. like Waldameer, Seabreeze, & Lagoon. There are also about a half dozen similar models in other countries including the re-themed Sonic Spinball at Alton Towers.

I’ll post more here as details emerge. My condolences go out to the Zeno family.

Read more at WAFB: “Woman dies after falling from roller coaster ride”

Read about past roller coaster accidents.

What’s Your Take?
Leave your thoughts about this tragedy below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

21 Comments

  1. Maurer has had bad luck recently. Rockit has valleyed several times, X-Car coasters have been down for months. this just isn't their year.

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    • De echo, este tipo de montañas llevan 3 accidentes mortales y uno con lesiones graves, y no pasan el certificado de la TÜV SÜD alemana.

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  2. This is indeed very tragic. I think something everyone should do is check their own restraints. I know I check them everytime especially on a ride without a back up seatbelt or buckle. Earlier this year at BGE i was honestly afraid for my father since he is a pretty big guy when riding Alpengeist and Griffon. The ops had to push down hard for the restraints to lock and reach the belt buckle. The otsr wasn't vertical but at a 90 degree angle because of his size. Another thing I noticed at BGe this year was on Apollo's Chariot when the ops were checking restraints they would just walk by and put their finger on it and not really even (properly) check it. I put that in paranthesis because i don't know the proper way. So I made sure everytime that I checked it good myself. I can see how this could happen and it is very very sad.

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  3. Actually, I have had a restraint pop up a notch or two while riding Apollo's Chairot last summer and this srping. It happened while I was riding in the front row in the middle-left seat. Shortly after the first drop, the train began to vibrate a little (like it normally does) and my restraint popped up. In my opinion, this made the ride better because of all the airtime (and the best adrenaline rush of my life) but if I had not have ridden the coaster before, I wouldn't have known when to brace myself. Also, I am glad that it was me in that seat and not some small child who could have possibly been ejected from his seat. Unfortunately, I did not think to report this problem to park staff so I am not sure if this is normal. This has happened two times so far in the same seat on the same train. Do you think this could be a problem with the ratchets that lock down the restraint?

    PS- Sorry for my run on sentences and my poor style of writing.

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    • Actually, it was the middle-right seat. Whoops.

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      • I had the same thing happen on Raging Bull, same seat that you were on too. I think the fact that the seat did ratchet, and that I still couldn't have stood when I tried means that the seat did function correctly, even if it was a little freaky.

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        • Your lap bar popped p on Raging bull too? Dude, me too. I was in the second row, 3rd seat in, blue car, and we were going down the hill and my la bar popped up. Not funny. I almost fell out. I m so skinny and the lap bar went down all the way, and when it popped up, I was scarred. i thought I was going to fall out. Anybody else have this happen to them?

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      • That's crazy. I've never had that happen. I have had restraints go down another notch tighter because of the g-forces pressing down on me. I can remember that happening a few times on Alpengeist.

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    • That's a good question. I wonder if CC or anyone else would know about that. I know sometimes on AC the restraint is loose and I can wiggle it and sometimes it is tighter with less wiggle room. I have a feeling it is ok since I haven't heard of any incident on AC ever except the Fabio Goose incident. I think B&M has a clean track record when it comes to accidents as I'm not aware of anything serious happening ON a B&M coaster.

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      • I don't know anything about AC's restraints doing that. I've never witnessed it myself. That would have been a great question for the Busch Coaster Tour that I took last year. If I attend Coaster Stock next week I can ask a B&M designer about it. Even better!

        And you're right Mike. I can't think of any other incidents on a B&M. And that incident had nothing to do with how the roller coaster operated. It had more to do with the ride's surroundings (the river with the geese).

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    • I just got back from islands of adventure and the same thing happened to me on ice dragon in the front row. The restraint went out a few notches and the seatbelt came out of the restraint. When I told the ride ops they didn't seem to care. Maybe there's something about b&ms built in 1999.

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  4. It's like that one incident on S:ros@SFNE, were that man told the opps that his restraints were fine, but he was realy just pushing it down. On one of the very many aretime bumps on the ride, he flew right off.

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  5. CC, Superman at Six Flags America does not have a ratcheting lapbar system, so I don't think they were waiting for three clicks. I mean no offense to you, but if someone as knowledgeable about coasters as you can make that simple mistake in describing what you "saw", imagine what uninformed members of the general public come up with as "witness testimony".

    And Quil, as far as Superman at Six Flags New England is concerned, that is not at all what happened. The restraint was certainly locked and checked. Please don't spread rumors otherwise.

    The MA Department of Public Safety cited four causes of that incident: (1) Girth of the victim, (2) Pre-existing medical condition, (3) Varied seat belt sizes, and (4) Failure of the ride attendant. In essence, though Intamin's seatbelts indicated that the rider would fit, the lapbar was not in an effective restraining position. Considering the seatbelt was the best size gauge (and was found to be too big), the rider was properly restrained as far as the attendant knew. This is why Six Flags installed a simple lapbar status indicator for the operator. It is a more concrete method of determining the effective restraining position of the lapbar.

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    • No offense taken. Thanks for setting me straight. I obviously got S:ROS mixed up with another ride.

      You're right those restraints aren't ratcheting lap bars. But, I DO remember the ride ops cramming someone into S:ROS. So the ride ops were likely pressing down on the riders until they got the 'sizing' seat belt to buckle (not until they got the 3 clicks).

      I remember during the Bush Coaster Tour that the guide explained that seat belts were more for sizing than anything else. That's why he explained that Apollo's Chariot didn't need seat belts. It had the sensors instead.

      Anyway, thanks for clearing that up.

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  6. During an accident like this I like to remind people how safe roller coasters in general. This post covers the chances of being in an accident in a car, plane, etc. Roller coasters are very, very, safe in comparison. Read the post here:

    Hulk Saves Woman & Chances of Dying on a Roller Coasters

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  7. Hey guys! Sorry I haven't been on the blog for a while, buts its been a very busy couple of months for me. Anyway, that's pretty sad. Some wild mouse coasters can have the seatbelts be the only thing holding you in at some points.

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  8. Hello I write from spain some others accidents hapenned last years in Europe in this tipe of ride from Maurer sonhe.

    This Extrem arrive from Germany where one passenger fall down from seven meters high, and also one person died in 1999 in Zaragoza Spain in the same ride Spinning coaster from Maurer.

    Also more accidents hapenned in Germany. We work in front of Maurer in the court in Germany because This company sold usin December 2001 one Extrem coaster for 2.5 millions euro and this ride not pass the safety standards from tuv germany.

    I hope we can safe some other live…

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  9. MS is a very very bad constructor. In Zaragoza (Spain) one man fall in a spinning compact coaster and died. Exactly that in Japan or in "extreme" in Dixie Landing. This men was a big men 85 k and was a 1,90 tall.

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    • Thanks for the comment Pedro. I wonder if the parks should share any of the blame though. Obviously three similar rides isn't a good trend, but is maintenance or operation part of the equation as well?

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      • ahora Maurer Sóhne pretende que los propietarios cambien el sistema de cierre del lapbar. !
        Increible!. Los técnicos de la TÜV son suficientemente exigentes?.

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  10. I have ridden this coaster (Xtreme) at location (Dixie Landings) two times since the accident happened on it. From what I have observed of the coaster’s design (I rode it starting off both forward and backward), it is really safe as far as restraint locking is concerned. The lap bars (no over the shoulder for this one) lock in place really well, offering several locking positions (ratchet system). The lap bars lock so well that after my second round through, the ride operator actually had to override the bar locking mechanism by climbing under the car and releasing them manually (they didn’t release when the car stopped in the station). There are “sizing belts” that hook into the bottom of the lap bars used for the case of “you are too big for the restraint to lock in place”. The only things that I have a problem with this coaster’s safety restraint system are the fact that the hand grip is really tiny and close to your stomach (it’s about the width of your hand, but the length of your forearm), and the seats are so cramped that your legs prevent the lap bar from going down as far as it should, especially if you have long legs. I had to cross my legs to get the lap bar down then uncross them to end up really tightly cramped in my seat. The lap bars never moved, clicked, or anything throughout the entire course of the ride. Also, the ride operators pulled very hard on the bars before dispatching the car to ensure proper locking, even though they had seen me push up on them just as hard a few seconds before. I’m guessing that the accident really made the park step up their safety checks after it happened.

    Reply

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