On Friday afternoon one of the rides at “The World’s Best Amusement Park” malfunctioned and injured several riders. According to the Sandusky Register, several witnesses say that the Shoot the Rapids boat rolled down the lift hill and flipped either to the side or upside down. Cedar Point officials have not confirmed any details regarding the accident yet.
Matthew Orr from Euclid, was one of the witnesses at the scene. He said that as soon as the boat flipped, several park employees, ride operators, and guests jumped into the water to flip the boat upward. It took approximately nine to ten people in knee-high water to flip the boat. "We jumped in and helped them get out," he said. "If we didn't help, I don't even know what would have happened.”
The boat consisted of adults and children, and Matthew stated that when the boat was flipped upright the passengers lap bars still held them into their seats. It has not been officially confirmed whether they were or were not still secured in their seats. "I'm positive," he said, that the children on the ride "appeared scared to death."
Park medical technicians arrived at the scene right away, transporting the passengers to the park’s EMT station. In the statement released by Cedar Point it states that six of the seven of the passengers were evaluated at the park and released, the other passenger was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center and evaluated there.
Shortly after the incident the park said the following in a statement that was released: The safety of our guests is our number one priority.
Cedar Point officials are currently investigating the incident and have reported it to state of Ohio officials. Shoot the Rapids will remain closed until park officials and inspectors from the state of Ohio complete their review. No further information is available at this time.
As the report states, Shoot the Rapids is closed pending further investigation and it is unknown when the ride will reopen. The park is still working to gather details from witnesses and will not release new information until the details are confirmed.
At approximately 6:45pm on Friday night, a tragic accident occurred as Rosy Esparza of Dallas, TX was thrown off Texas Giant roller coaster. According to Dallas News and WFAA.com, witnesses say that after the ride took a sharp turn, Rosy was thrown out of her seat and plunged down.
Rosy Esparza- whom was estimated to be in her 50’s, was ridding Texas Giant with her family when the accident occurred. John and Darlene Putman along with their two daughters were standing in line for the ride behind Rosy and her family. They claimed that while waiting for the ride Rosy and her family were talking and laughing.
When the train returned to the loading station, John said he heard two people scream “My mom! My mom! Let us out, we need to go get her!’” Witnesses say that when the ride came to a complete stop, Rosy’s son was screaming “She fell! She fell!” and ran towards the coaster tracks but ride operators were able to hold him back.
The cause of her death still remains unknown, but Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker said the park is working closely with the police department to find the cause of death. The park did not want to speculate on what may have caused her death. "It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired," said Parker.
Shortly after the incident, Six Flags released the following statement:
We are deeply saddened to share that earlier this evening an adult woman died in the park while on the Texas Giant. Park medical staff and local paramedics responded immediately. Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, the ride has been closed pending further investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time.
The ride was shut down immediately along with surrounding areas, but the park itself remained open. Several concert cancellations were also made.
On Friday the much discussed documentary "Blackfish" will be released to the general public. SeaWorld this weekend took the opportunity to respond to some of the claims made within the film. The film's primary focus is on SeaWorld's most infamous killer whale, Tilikum. Tilikum has allegedly been involved in the deaths of three people. The most recent incident occurred in 2010 resulting in the death of Dawn Brancheau for which there is no doubt about his involvement. According to the NY Times, in an email SeaWorld sent to fifty film critics, they labeled the film as "shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading and scientifically inaccurate." The company also challenges some insinuations or misconceptions allegedly made within the film. They first say that SeaWorld has not captured wild whales in 35 years and continued by refuting the claim that they did not adequately inform trainers of the dangers of working with Tilikum.
The filmmakers responded to the email by saying that SeaWorld refused to be filmed for the film itself. They also say that many of SeaWorld's claims are invalid because they insist that the film does not insinuate that they capture wild whales or use punishment-based training. They also contest that SeaWorld did give adequate warning about working with Tilikum to trainers.
On Wednesday, over 2000 fans and media gathered at the Charles Schulz Theater at Knott's Berry Farm to learn about the upcoming offerings at the 2013 Haunt event. Various leaders and designers of the annual Haunt hosted the event and gave some background information on not only what was new but the new experiences guests would be having at this year's Haunt.
This year, Knott's Scary Farm Haunt is in its 41st year and is recognized as one of the best theme park haunt events in the world. First announced, were the returning mazes. Among those are Trick or Treat, Pinocchio Unstrung, Delirium, Endgames, and The Slaughterhouse. The Witch's Keep will also be returning still as a ride through the transformed Calico Mine Train. In addition scare zones will also be returning that include CarnEvil, Ghost Town, Gypsy Camp, and Necropolis.
The most anticipated announcements were to see what the designers had up their sleeves for new additions to Haunt this year. Six new mazes are going t be added this year. Here is a title and brief description of each according to Knott's Berry Farm:
Dominion of the Damned:
"The Blood Queen’s reign has ended as she goes to regenerate after her long reign. In the new cycle ancient vampire lore decrees there shall always be one to rule the damned... Long live the King!"
"The twisted mind of Edgar Allen Poe comes alive as the “Forevermore Killer” works his way through one haunting tale after another. All the victims, driven mad by a combination of drugs and torture, unwittingly find themselves a part of “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Masque of Red Death” among others. Guests will want to catch up on their reading to stay a chapter ahead of their demise."
"The veil between the living and the dead is severed when Houdini’s ghost materializes during a séance and ushers a host of demonic illusions to play tricks on anyone who intrudes on his theatre. From the prop room to the main stage this dilapidated theatre will make visitors skin crawl. Will you be part of the disappearing act?"
"Return to the Old West and walk in the bloody footsteps of a betrayed and left for dead gunslinger on his path to retribution against a corrupt township. This journey back in time takes guests on a trail of terror through abandoned gold mines, a treacherous corral, a seedy saloon and a final showdown at town hall."
"Enter a world where madness is just a looking glass away. What is real and what is an illusion? A cursed mirror absorbs everyone into a mechanical wasteland of despair. Hideous creatures of beauty and horror stalk the mirror world, hoping to draw another victim into a nightmarish labyrinth."
Trapped: The New Experiment
"Making its debut in 2012, Trapped was Knott’s Scary Farm’s first reservation only, interactive maze - and was an immediate sell-out. Trapped returns bigger and more intense than its predecessor. For those lucky enough to secure a reservation, Trapped will offer a longer running time, more challenging puzzles, more mind-bending contraptions and more in-your-face scares."
In addition to the mazes being announced, attendees also got a sneak peak at the live entertainments offerings that will be unique to haunt this year. Included in those shows are the hanging, Carny Trash, Blood Drums, Academy of Villains, and Cursed. Possibly the biggest announcement of the evening came when legendary actress Elvira appeared on stage to announce that she would be returning to Knott's for an all new show titled Elvira's Sinema Séance.
After the success of Batman Backwards, Six Flags Great America has decided to turn their 18 year old wooden coaster Viper in that same direction. Viper is the second of three coasters that will be turned backwards this season. According to Brandon Bruce, Public Relations Specialist for Six Flags Great America, " We wanted to think of innovative ways to keep our thrill seekers entertained for the 2013 season. We explored what rides had opportunities for innovative modifications and both BATMAN The Ride and Viper presented options for us." In order to complete the transition, a few modifications are needed to the existing operational system. The biggest change comes with the brake fins needing to trade places with the traction plates on each car after the cars are turned around to facilitate the new backwards motion. Both trains on Viper will be turned backwards so all guests waiting in the queue will be able to experience these new sensations.
Viper which opened in 1995 is not only hailed as one of the best wooden coasters in the Midwest but also ranks among many in the nation. Viper is well known for producing many intense spots of lateral forces while at the same time providing riders with numerous airtime hills. When asked to compare Batman The Ride backwards and Viper backwards, Brandon Bruce said, " Just as BATMAN The Ride and Viper are two completely different ride experiences, the experience riding backwards is equally as unique. Viper was modeled after the Coney Island Cyclone, so as you can imagine the twists and turns in reverse offer an added thrill!"
With so many rides being turned backwards, one might begin to think they are living in the DC's Bizarro World. Like all good things though, the backwards fun will eventually come to an end. At this point, Six Flags has no intention of running rides backwards next season despite the success of doing so this year. However, Viper will be running backwards until August 26th and American Eagle will take flight in the opposite direction August 31st so make sure to check both those unique ride experiences out before they are gone for good.