On Thursday evening a man died after he was struck by a roller coaster at Cedar Point. After riding the Raptor, James Young, jumped over a fence to retrieve his cell phone.
Here are details from the park and police, via CNN:
Young, a 45-year-old special-education teacher, had been at the park with friends when he hopped on the Raptor around 5 p.m., Sandusky Assistant Police Chief Phil Frost told reporters.
Young lost his cell phone and wallet on the ride, according to his mother.
Young “jumped over a fence into a restricted area under the Raptor and was looking for his personal belongings,” Frost said. “(He) was struck by the Raptor train that was in operation.”
According to Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards, “Park safety officials responded immediately to the situation. Unfortunately, the guest has passed away.”
No one else was injured in the incident, according to Frost.
My prayers go out to the family and friends of Young. Based on the CNN article, it sounds like he was a great teacher and will surely be missed.
Keep Out of Restricted Areas at Theme Parks
This isn’t the first time a guest was struck by a roller coaster after someone went into a restricted area. In 2009, a teen died after he was struck by Batman The Ride at Six Flags Over Georgia. Please remember, never go into restricted areas at theme parks.
Secure or Do Not Ride with Loose Articles
I’ll admit at times I’ve ridden with my cell phone in my pocket, but they’ve been in zippered cargo pockets. More and more, I’ve been leaving items in the bins in the station, assuming they’ll most likely be there when I return, or I’ve been leaving them with a non-rider as I did with Wild Eagle earlier this week.
I know that it’s a pain to leave things in lockers or with someone else, but if we want fast, exciting roller coasters we might have to part with our cell phones for a few moments. And please, do not create your own roller coasters videos with your cell phone. Leave it to the pros who have mounted their cameras on the trains. More on that here: Why I’m Against Sneaking Cameras on Roller Coasters & Some Alternatives
Parks are doing what they can to keep us safe, but riding with things that can fall from the train are really on us.
Might Parks Clamp Down on Loose Articles?
I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more parks add metal detectors (like Universal Orlando) and possibly even prohibit riders from wearing items such as hats and sunglasses. Guests can be hit by objects that are flung from riders, these items can fall on the tracks, or guests can try to retrieve them as was the case here.
Bottom line: If you lose something on a ride ask park employees if they can retrieve any items for you. Or do not take items like cell phones and keys on roller coasters in the first place.