Pennsylvania’s Idlewild Park was the scene of a tragic accident on Thursday, when a 3-year-old boy was ejected from a roller coaster ride. According to first responders, the child was “conscious and talking” following the frightening incident. However, he was airlifted to the University of Pittsburg Medical Center Children’s hospital for treatment.
In response to the incident, the Rollo Coaster was closed, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which is “responsible for inspecting and registering amusement rides under the Amusement Ride Safety Act,” will conduct a full investigation into the accident.
As reported by Morning News USA, the Idlewood Park roller coaster was inspected last week, and the ride was determined to be in good working order. Idlewood Park spokesman Jeff Croushore said it is unclear at this time whether the ride malfunctioned.
According to RCDB, the Rollo Coaster, which is located in Idlewild & SoakZone’s Olde Idlewild section, originally opened in 1938.
Manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, the wooden roller coaster has two trains with three cars per train. During each ride, up to 12 passengers are carried to heights of 27 feet along the 900-foot track.
According to the Idlewild & SoakZone website, Rollo Coaster is a family ride. However, there are height restrictions, which state riders “must be 36 [inches] tall, guests under 48 [inches] must be accompanied by an adult.”
It is unclear at this time whether the 3-year-old boy met the park’s requirements to ride without an adult. However, sources have reported he was riding Rollo Coaster with his 7-year-old brother.
Unfortunately, Idlewild Park is not the only amusement park to experience a frightening accident in recent weeks. On July 26, a 10-year-old boy was killed on the Verruckt ride at Kansas’ Schlitterbahn WaterPark.
3-year-old boy falls off a rollercoaster at Idlewild–-how the accident happened and the condition of the boy NEXT! pic.twitter.com/xdST5y5uTd
— WPXI (@WPXI) August 12, 2016
As reported by Fox News, the park has not confirmed how Caleb Schwab was ejected from the ride. However, during a Wednesday interview, season-pass holder Erica Conrad said the ride’s velcro straps had a tendency to malfunction.
Conrad said Verruckt’s velcro straps, which secure riders into the raft, came loose while she and a friend were on the ride last year.
“We noticed my friend’s harness was completely off and we overheard him yelling, you know, my harness is off and it had been off from the beginning of the ride.”
Although she reported the incident to a lifeguard, Conrad said she was assured it was not a serious safety concern.
“The lifeguard looked at me and assured me that it’s really not a big deal… The Velcro straps are just to make you feel safer. They’re not technically really to hold you in.”
Witnesses who were at the water park when the incident occurred said Caleb Schwab struck his head on the ride’s overhead safety net when he was ejected from the raft. Some witnesses reported that the 10-year-old boy was decapitated. However, the reports have not been officially confirmed.
Fortunately, the 3-year-old boy who was injured at Pennsylvania’s Idlewild park is expected to survive.
As stated on the Idlewild & SoakZone website, the park, which originally opened in 1931, is the oldest operating theme park in Pennsylvania and the “third oldest in the entire country.” The park was also “recognized as the Best Children’s Park by Amusement Today.”
Idlewild & SoakZone combines two types of theme parks — an amusement park and a water park — to appeal to a wide variety of guests. However, it is primarily marketed as “one of the best places go to in Pennsylvania for family fun.”
— Ian Smith (@ismithKDKA) August 12, 2016
Although a vast majority of the park’s attractions are well-suited for children of all ages, there are some restrictions on the bigger rides, which may not be safe for smaller children.
At this time, is unclear how the 3-year-old boy fell from the Idlewild Park’s Rollo Coaster and whether the ride actually malfunctioned. However, it will remain closed until the investigation is complete.
[Image via Racheal Grazia/Shutterstock]