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Stampede at South Korea's Lotte World injures dozens

2006-03-27

By Robert Niles: Let's take a visit to "Irony-land" for a moment.

More than 50,000 people gathered outside South Korean theme park Lotte World Sunday, the first day of a six-day free admission promotion at the park. The crowd rushed the gates, and the resulting stampede injured 24 people, according to the Associated Press.

The reason for the promotion? Again, according to the AP, the park was trying to improve its image after a man fell to his death from the park's Atlantis Adventure Intamin water coaster on March 6.

Park officials cancelled the free admission promotion after the injuries.

Readers' Opinions

From Gareth H on March 27, 2006 at 5:13 PM
Thats gotta be a kick in the groin for the clever soul who organised that!!
But seriously, would that happen at any of the US parks?

#1, would anyone consider that as a promotion, I'm sure the spin doctors at all the major parks wouldn't let the death of a visitor gain that much attention in the first place.

#2, I don't think a free day out would calm the minds of the people who suddenly oppose the theme park safety records anyway. The only people who would take them up on the offer are the people who can either, not afford the regular admission costs, or, can make it on the day, live locally and fancy a day out..

This brings up a question though!!
If a fire, or "terrosist" attack were to happen at a Major theme park, do you think that the current exit systems would be be safe? As it is come closing time, there are queues to get out the park, through the turnstiles and out to the transportation! Surely there would be some serious injuries if other exits were not opened quickly?

From Anthony Murphy on March 27, 2006 at 8:37 PM
That definatly is some kind of irony. However, I can see this injury prone happening in the US at least for free admission to a park. People are crazy no matter where they are from! Perhaps it has something to do with the values of South Koreans and theme parks. What I am saying is they might been looking at theme parks a different way that US conterparts. I would be very suprised if a park would give out free admission just because somebody died!
From rick stevens on March 27, 2006 at 8:48 PM
I agree with Gareth. Has the exit of large numbers of patrons been examined in the major parks? I suppose that it has, but it would be a concern. Look at other areas that have expereinced this problem going back to the Who concert years ago and the Soccer riots that have trampled many a fan. On top of this, with the turnaround of CM's at many of the parks, are the emergency procedures covered? I figure that it is part of the overall orientation, but do you know of a new, or soon to be, High School grad that could remember the procedures in the face of an horde of frightened vacationers.

This should be a wake-up call to all parks, big and small, to the possibility of what could happen. I just hope that all parks have a well thought out security plan in place and that it never has to be implemented. My guess is that there are many exits that can be used in case of emergencies that the public never sees.

From Robert Niles on March 27, 2006 at 10:04 PM
Well, kudos to Six Flags for a far, far, far more responsible way to handle a free admission promotion. Six Flags gave away Great Adventure tickets via its website (tickets were gone in, literally, minutes, from what I hear.)

Having people *physically show up someplace* for freebies is an invitation to a stampede. Virtual distribution is far more responsible.

(Let the record hereby show: Yes, we at TPI can compliment Six Flags!)

From Gareth H on March 28, 2006 at 9:19 AM
I know from walking around, that there are many exits at the Orlando theme parks. You just have to look at events like Halloween Horror Nights to see how many exixts can be opened up. \The problems that would arise are the familiararity of eits that the guest see (Way in - Way out) so if procedures needed implementing then the existing staff would be the oes who would have to remain calm to direct patrons to the nearest Emergency exit.
Do parks ever run test exits with Patrons? I remember when I lived oin the London, the Millenium Dome (Boooring), offered free entry after a certain time if you agreed to run through a fire drill at closing time! All ran smoothly but in honesty everyone exited though the same "Normal" exit
From Mike CP on March 28, 2006 at 8:24 PM
I wonder how well Cedar Point would do in massive evacuation of guests, since there are only two roads leading from it and its surrounded by water. I know there are a lot of exits out of the actual park, but off of the peninsula there aren't many.

If you ever are at Cedar Point an hour or more after the park closes, you can see all the different exits there to get out of the park. I can think of at least 7 different exits throughout the park that maintaince uses to go in and out of the park.

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