UA-20143982-1 Green Lantern Closed After Tragedy In Spain - The Coaster Guy
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Green Lantern Closed As Precaution After Tragedy In Spain

By on 07/08/2014

On the same day that the Ninja roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain had an unexpected run-in with a tree branch that had fallen on the track (read here), a roller coaster in Europe had a much more catastrophic and devastating accident. An 18-year old man was thrown from the Inferno roller coaster at the Terra Mítica theme park in Spain. He suffered severe blunt force trauma and died from a cardiac arrest about an hour later, while on the way to the hospital.

The Inferno roller coaster is a ZacSpin model coaster from Intamin Amusement Rides. Eight riders are strapped into a free-spinning car, with four riders protruding on either side of the track. The track is laid out in a single plane and the cars rotate randomly as they make their way through the track. The Inferno roller coaster looks very similar to this:

Intamin_ZacSpin

Credit: Intamin Amusement Rides

This is what Green Lantern: First Flight looks like:

Green_Lantern

Although not the exact same ZacSpin model as Green Lantern: First Flight at Six Flags Magic Mountain, it does use the same safety harnesses. Therefore, as a precaution following the tragic accident in Spain, Magic Mountain has closed Green Lantern to perform a complete safety inspection of the ride. Here is the official statement from Six Flags Magic Mountain:

We are saddened to hear of the accident in Spain. The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority and as a precaution we have temporarily closed a similar ride for a thorough inspection.

We know that the man’s harness opened during the ride, but it is unclear at this point if it was due to mechanical failure or some other reason. An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause. Our condolences go out to the victim’s family. A fatal accident on a roller coaster is extremely rare and I take comfort knowing that Magic Mountain has the safety of it’s guests in mind with the pro-active closure and inspection of Green Lantern.

For more information on this coaster, please read my full Green Lantern: First Flight ride profile.

 

27 Comments

  1. aaron

    07/08/2014 at 5:24 pm

    Very sad news! Having your harness just became unlatched mid ride is such a terrifying thought. Doesn’t green lantern have the buckle that connects the shoulder restraint to the hump between your legs? Hard to imagine both safety features failing.

    • Ryan O'Neill

      07/08/2014 at 6:42 pm

      Yes, but Inferno also that redundant safety buckle. That’s why no one is sure how the restraint failed, or what might cause it to happen again.

      • A.M.99

        07/09/2014 at 9:26 am

        Unfortunately, I believe that it is very easy to open the buckle, because I don’t think it locks, so if this person unbukled his belt, and the restraint failed. BAD LUCK

    • Kenzie

      08/11/2015 at 2:50 am

      Yes

    • Kenzie

      11/14/2015 at 9:21 am

      Yes it has a buckle

  2. Scott C.

    07/08/2014 at 6:42 pm

    Kris from Great America Thrills (http://greatamericanthrills.net/blog/) blogged this in his story about the Ninja accident, and I think it really fits here as well. Well done Kris, and thanks Kurt for keeping us all up to date.

    “In situations like this – and I cannot stress this enough – we need to let the investigations run their course. There will be much said over the next few weeks about maintenance, ride safety and parks in general that will be absolute junk and rubbish. “Coaster experts” will pop up all over the media, spouting off things that they have no qualifications to say, with their only qualifications being that they’ve ridden many rides.
    Let’s allow the facts to come out – as speculation will only lead to rampant misreporting and really ends up being a complete disservice to everyone involved.”

    • A.M.99

      07/09/2014 at 9:26 am

      Completely agree

  3. James

    07/08/2014 at 7:01 pm

    Going to go out on a limb and guess that the guest in Spain may have been overweight…either that or was too short as required by the ride restrictions.

    Yes Aaron, it appears there are seatbelts on Inferno in Spain, as well as on Green Lantern here at Magic Mountain, which means falling from the ride is especially suspicious. My guess is that the man may have been too big, the restraint didn’t click, the seatbelt may have been locked, but that doesn’t mean the guy couldn’t slip out. Or too short/skinny and the restraint didn’t keep him in properly.

    I think the most important piece of information to find out is if the restraint actually did come released or unlatched, however I find that to be an almost impossible explanation as in my 20 years of learning/working on/following coasters, there is not 1 story I have come across where that was the issue. It is usually the rider not fitting properly, or the ride attendant allowing a train to dispatch with a rider not restrained as they should be.

    I also think it may be hard getting straight answers considering the ride is in Spain, and it may be a little harder to get accurate and efficient explanations.

    These rides are interesting in that they don’t look very big or that intimidating, but they do exert a lot of force in a lot of random unexpected directions, so this is one of those rides that a ride attendant really wants to make sure each rider is restrained as properly as possible.

    Thanks for the write up, Kurt.

    • Brandon

      07/17/2014 at 2:56 pm

      Newer generation Intamin rides such as this one use a hydraulic locking mechanism, so there are no “clicks” and the restraint locks in any position. Additionally the restraint must go down far enough for the car to be dispatched. Of course this is a minimum for the seat, not for the rider.

      I say that to say…

      We know body dimension has been proven to be an issue with the t-bar style restraint as it requires contact with the legs for max protection. This newer style OTS restraint also relies on the bar resting on your thighs.

      Those belts aren’t designed to hold a massive amount of force either. I know from personal experience riding Storm Runner at Hersheypark that they can rip. In my case it had been a rainy day and on my last ride of the night the belt simply fell apart as the train came back into the station

      A person too big or too small could still be thrown out if the bar and positioning of the rider are not proper. That said, this really seems like a freak accident.

  4. Eric

    07/08/2014 at 8:00 pm

    I’ve often wondered if a rider could unbuckle the harness during the ride. Lex Luthor uses a similar restraint system; could someone unbuckle it while the car is falling? I’d hate to see that happen.

    • Scott C.

      07/08/2014 at 8:39 pm

      If somebody actually done that, they would be a candidate for the Darwin Awards….*sigh*

    • Brandon

      07/17/2014 at 2:58 pm

      The belt buckles aren’t tied to any safety system. Anyone can unbuckle at anytime. But most folks have sense enough not to.

  5. Jimmy T

    07/08/2014 at 10:37 pm

    Tragic and sad. Glad Magic Mountain is taking precautions. Condolences to the family.

  6. Josh

    07/09/2014 at 11:23 am

    When will green lantern re open. It’s sad news brings back memories of what happened at SFOT last year

  7. Domingo

    07/10/2014 at 4:28 pm

    It’s terrible to hear about the incident in Spain but how could he just have fell out? I mean did the operators not clicked the restraint in all the way?

  8. Justin

    07/11/2014 at 7:14 am

    Someone also just had their fingertips chopped off while riding Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney. Early reports from Disney are that he had his hands outside the the boat on the drop.

  9. dc

    07/12/2014 at 11:20 pm

    The first picture, of the ride “Kirnu”, is from Finland. As a safety measure that ride has been shut down at least until the investigations concerning Inferno are finished.

    Thank you for sharing the news, and safe rides everyone!

  10. josh

    07/13/2014 at 10:11 pm

    Should just remove green lantern

    • Scott C.

      07/14/2014 at 9:32 am

      Why Josh?

    • Domingo

      07/14/2014 at 11:24 am

      They won’t it literally dosent take up any space

      • The Coaster Guy

        07/14/2014 at 11:36 am

        It “literally” does take up space, just not very much. 😉

  11. josh

    07/14/2014 at 11:18 pm

    Idk..maybe it’s just me been on it 5 times…just feel let down every time..The need a friction wheel at the top to get it spinning or something. It always seems to just get stuck in an awkward position. And maybe a flip and the end over the last camel back or whatever you want to call it..just bores me I guess

  12. josh

    07/14/2014 at 11:27 pm

    Sorry ..auto in-correct sucks

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  14. yay

    07/18/2014 at 9:40 pm

    the ride reopened today. on the website, it no longer says “temporarily closed”

  15. thklinge

    08/04/2014 at 5:05 pm

    Itamin has made four of these, all of them shut down following the accident. The last one was “Insane” in Gröna Lund park in Sweden. I’ve been on the Inferno-ride in Terra Mitica and enjoyed it. I was the only one in my group that wanted to have a go though. You can pull as much as 3G if the thing catches rotation speed at the best/worst time so I imagine that if the main locks on the restraint failed the belt could rip, or not be properly buckled, or was unlocked by the rider. As I remember, when getting off the bars swung up until the safety-belt stopped them and people then unlocked the belt themselves to get off.

    It’s been four years since my last visit to Terra Mitica and I’ve heard that the park has gotten pretty run down and the number of visitors has declined. They did a weird division last season where about half the park was single entry-ride all you want, while the rest was free entry-pay to go. I’ve heard that there is two entry fees this year, one for half the park, then an addtional fee for the other. Anyhow, if the park is heading downhill, maybe maintenance did the same..?

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