Saturday, July 20, 2013

Woman falls to her death at Six Flags... Yahoo! readers prove they're brain dead...

This morning, I was horrified to read about a woman who was at Six Flags Over Texas and decided to ride the Texas Giant roller coaster.  Somehow, the lap bar that was supposed to restrain her disengaged and she fell off the coaster to her death.  Her son watched in horror as his mother was killed.

For four summers, I worked at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Before that, two of my three sisters worked at Busch Gardens.  I never go to amusement parks anymore, because I think my experiences working at Busch Gardens kind of soured me on them.  The last time I went to a park was in the summer of 2007, right before we went to Germany.

Bill and I were in San Antonio, Texas visiting his mother and we went to Sea World because they gave free tickets to servicemembers and their families.  Because Bill has a fear of heights and doesn't like roller coasters, I ended up riding most of the rides myself.  That wasn't much fun.  Also, I know that amusement parks are basically rip offs and you end up standing in line all day.  But, I will admit that I am intrigued by amusement parks and enjoy reading about them.  I was pretty shocked to read about this poor lady in Texas who died.

I made the mistake of reading the article on Yahoo! about this accident and then looking at the comments.  Man... there are some seriously fucked up people reading Yahoo! articles.  One person wrote, "She ruined their fun."  Another wrote, "One less Republican".  A third made comments about the inevitable lawsuits.  A fourth said that "thoughts and prayers to the family" is a disingenuous response.  I don't understand what would compel someone to write something like that in response to such a tragic accident.  I know there's such a thing as schadenfreude, but this takes it to ridiculous levels.

Fortunately, on this article, there seemed to be more sensible people than usual.  Many times I have read comments on Yahoo! articles and just had to sit and wonder about my fellow human beings.  I mean, it just makes you shake your head and wonder what made these people so insensitive.

I had a scary experience on a ride once.  Back in the 1980s, Busch Gardens introduced a ride called Da Vinci's Cradle.  It still operates today.  For some reason, back when the ride first opened, there was only a lap bar.   There weren't any seat belts.  I was about 12 or 13 when I first rode Da Vinci's Cradle and still fairly small.  Somehow, I slipped under the bar.  It didn't disengage; I just went under it.  When the ride ended, I was holding onto the bar and on my knees.

The next time I rode Da Vinci's Cradle, there were seat belts on the ride.  And now, I know I wouldn't slip under the bar.  Crazily enough, I have ridden that ride again a few times, despite the scary experience I had the first time.

I feel so sorry for that poor young man, watching his mother fall to her death.  What an awful thing to have to live with.  Many prayers to him and his family... even if that does sound disingenuous.


  1. I'm always really bothered when people are seriously inhured or killed on rides at amusement park. Those ride are supposed to be safe. You hear about cases where someone of improper proportions to ride a particular ride holds down the bar of the ride and pretends to the employee checking that the bar has bee secured, then te inevitble happens and the pperson falls to his or her death or ner death. You also hearabout adolsecents, alcohol impaired or just with more daring than brains, who do stupid things while on the rides that result in serios injury or death. Such situations are entirely different, as an adult or even an older child has a basic obligation to look out for hismself or herself. When it' an equipment malfunction, however, it's another matter entirely.

    My parents would never let my brother or me ride any of the rides at county fairs or other impromptu carnivals because they felt that the portability and temprorary nature of the rides made them inherently unsafe, and the limited time spent erecting them at any given site made them all the more so. Only one employee, who may have been in the position for all of three weeks, not doing his or her job stood between fun and tragedy. We only went to couty fairs if there was a good reason, as in to look at exhibits we had done from school that were displayed, or to watch my cousins show their 4H or FFA animals, and did so very rarely. Matthew and I knew not even to ask to ride the rides atthe fairs and carnivals. We might possibly get cotton candy or some other junky fair food out of the deal, but riding the rides was out of the question, and we knew it.

    My mother once rescued a baby who was maybe sixteen months old from reaching the tracks of the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland. As I recall, it was a case of many adults in the party and everyone thinking someone else was watching the baby. She was a climber and propelled herself over the wrought iron railing. My mother noticed, and there was't even time to alert my father, who is more agile, because he was trying to scrape gum from the bottom of my shoe, and telling him what was happening would have cost precious seconds. She vaulted the railing herself and grabbed the child just before he got to the rails where the bobsleds hit the water. The baby probably would have been injured but not kiled. At first the Disneyland employees were upset with my mother. Officials were called over and I think they were considering throwing her out of the park, which would have meant we all would have had to leave. (My parents know lawyers, and would have gotten a refund on our money at the very least.) Once the situation was sorted out, the Disneyland officials were most grareful, and we ended up getting a free family pass for another visit.

    The baby's family was grateful from the outset, of course. The mother fainted when she realized what had happened, so my dad got to participate in the experience, after all.

    1. I used to show my horse at the county and state fair. It was a lot of fun. And yes, I rode the rides. But I can see why your parents wouldn't want to let you ride them.

      Glad your mom was able to save that baby from getting hurt.

      I remember a few years ago, someone lost their feet on some ride at Six Flags because they got severed on the Superman Tower of Power ride. Makes me think that Six Flags is probably not the safest park out there.

  2. I try not to read the comments section on any article anywhere because it's always people who have some ax to grind and/or are bitter and/or are crazy.

    This is a terrible tragedy, pure and simple, and offering prayers to the family and for this woman to rest in peace is all any strangers can do. Nothing disingenuous about that assuming you actually do follow through and pray for them.

    1. Yeah, I know I shouldn't read the comments on CNN or Yahoo!. It's like a train wreck.

      I think offering prayers, condolences, or good vibes when something tragic happens is a socially acceptable thing to say when you can't think of the right words to say. Usually, when it's a stranger, that is the safest and kindest thing to say.


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