California’s Great America: Two People Injured, One Seriously, At Amusement Park’s Flight Deck Ride

Two people were injured at the California’s Great America amusement park in Santa Clara. Reports indicate that two individuals were taken via ambulance from the Flight Deck roller coaster ride after a maintenance worker was hit in the head by one of the riders. The maintenance worker suffered “traumatic injuries” to the head while a guest on the ride suffered a hand injury.

ABC 13 reports that emergency crews were called to the Flight Deck roller coaster ride at California’s Great America around 8:15 p.m. on Friday night. The roller coaster is an inverted steel ride in which riders’ legs freely dangle from the coaster. Witnesses to the horrific incident say that the maintenance worker was under the ride trying to retrieve a cellphone that was dropped near the ride’s platform when the accident happened. Guests say that the roller coaster train car hit the maintenance worker and dragged him approximately 15 feet under the platform.

According to NBC, the park worker was taken from the ride by ambulance with severe injuries to the head. Another witness claims that the maintenance worker could be seen bleeding from the head as he was thrown from the train. In addition, the witness says it appears at one point the worker stopped breathing.

Despite the accident, the amusement park remained open until its normal closing time of 10 p.m. However, instead of the usual fireworks display, guests were escorted from the park. The California’s Great America park officials say that there is no reason to believe that the ride malfunctioned, but they have closed the ride out of precaution. The park officials say the ride is being inspected and information into the accident gathered.

This isn’t the first time an incident has taken place on the popular Flight Deck roller coaster involving someone under the ride. A 25-year-old Hayward man was killed under the same ride, formerly called Top Gun, in 1998 after he climbed a security fence to retrieve a hat. He was subsequently kicked in the head by a female rider’s foot and died from his injuries. In 1999, a 12-year-old boy was killed in the park after he fell from the Drop Zone tower.

Similarly, the Alton Towers theme park in the United Kingdom is facing a rash of roller coaster incidents.

What more do you think the California’s Great America officials should do to ensure an accident like this does not happen again in the future?

[Image Credit: Rollercoasters.Org]