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Yet another roller coaster death -- Six Flags Over Georgia

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Published: July 28, 2006 at 9:15 AM

A 45-year-old man died of what authorities have called an apparent heart attack after losing consciousness while riding Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia yesterday afternoon. No ID on the victim yet. Park officials closed the ride for inspection, then reported that it was functioning normally.

And on Monday, an 11-year-old girl was hospitalized for unspecified injuries after a freak accident on the Tornado roller coaster at Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa. The coaster hit a board that had been left near the track by maintenance personnel. Two others were treated for more minor injuries at the scene.

Readers' Opinions

From Gareth H on July 28, 2006 at 9:26 AM
Wow, is it that people are reporting more deaths and incidents the past few years or are there actually more incidents than previously?

Its getting kinda mad now!

From Darrell Shimel on July 28, 2006 at 9:40 AM
There is gonna be some liability with the board left near the track by maintenance.

The heart attack? Well, coasters as intense as Goliath (I assume the same hyper as ride of same name at Magic Mt.) simply didn't exist 20 years ago, and if they did, they certainly weren't being ridden by many 45 year olds.

From Phillip S on July 28, 2006 at 10:00 AM
Wow I rode Goliath twice on Wendesday, that stinks someone died on it.
From Patrick Sayre on July 28, 2006 at 10:14 AM
A few observations, especially since I see many posts throughout the site talking about regulation.

Do NOT underestimate the power of Politicians..especially in an election year.

Republicrats can and will regulated every aspect of life given the opprotunity and enough plebian hysteria. Your ability to ride rides, or even to freely post on message boards is always just a sound bite, political poll, or "government funded study" away from being curtailed.

So do not discount regulation...which will lead to higher taxation to fund the oversight group, which leads to higher prices as parks look to get back lost revenue, which would lead to reduced themepark visitations, and with fewer visitors goes fewer profits wich results in less money for maintenance and shortcuts being taken, which leads to injuries and death, which leads to further regulation...nice huh?

So in the end it comes down to those of us with some common sense making a few politically incorrect statements, here in public, and to anyone that will listen in order to shock the Zombies back into reality.

1. Most of the People who die on rides die as a result of their own stupidity. It is not the parks fault, or societies fault, fast foods fault, or the governments fault they can not read a valid warning, understand it, know their limitations and act appropriately.

Our Individual Liberties and Freedom also require just a LITTLE personal responsibility.

2. Do not call for oversight or regulation..it can only end poorly.

Want to live in a government run, perfectly safe, sedate and completely risk free environment..move to N. Korea...I hear the "Dear Leaders Worker Paradise" dark ride in Kimland is quite exciting and educational..and don't forget to pick up your souvenier "Eternal Leader" collectors pin and Cap!

From Jim Bourland on July 28, 2006 at 10:19 AM
I am 48. I have never had any problems on any ride.
Well, at least no yet.
I always tell people that if you have a condition that you don't know about, maybe a thrill ride will bring it out. lolol
Oh,sorry. Yeah, it sucks people dieing on the rides.
From Erik Yates on July 28, 2006 at 10:37 AM
This is going to sound bad, but at least it wasnt a Florida park this time. I feel bad for the mans family, and I wish them well.
From Robert Niles on July 28, 2006 at 11:47 AM
Patrick... why the hate?

For everyone else... Nobody deserves to die on a theme park ride. Taken aside and reprimanded, kicked out of the park, banned from future visits... okay. Slapped upside the head... maybe. But die? No. I wonder how many people who dismiss human life so cavalierly as to say "people who die in theme parks deserve it" have ever lost anyone they know, or watched someone die. Death is real, and permanent. It is a tragedy and no one visiting a theme park "deserves it." Ever.

Requiring theme parks to report all injury accidents in no way infringes upon personal liberty. In fact, it enables it, by giving people more accurate information with which to make choices. Requiring that theme park rides be inspected by trained, impartial personnel in no way infringes upon personal liberty. The right to injure someone is not a legitimate right.

Those are the only two regulations regarding thrill rides that have been proposed in the United States Congress, to my knowledge. Everything else is a straw man -- an nonexistent, extreme proposal intended to scare people into orthodoxy.

Want to make the world a better, freer place? Great. Then get in shape. Eat less. Use less gas. Conserve energy, land and water. Leave less of a footprint upon the world. Be nice to other people. Mourn the dead. Save the living. And have fun in a theme park now and then. ;-) That's all.

From Anthony Murphy on July 28, 2006 at 12:38 PM
Why so many deaths all of a sudden?
From Patrick Sayre on July 28, 2006 at 3:41 PM
Robert,

There is no hate nor malice in my comments, only the simple undeniable truth that people most often suffer due to the results of their actions and I do not need the hacks in DC, or anywhere else, regulating what "I" decide to ride in order to gain some political milage from the masses.

I can guarantee you that death is no stranger to anyone here, to some of us it visited often and early. But mourn a death as we may,personal negligence is not to be excused because of it.

I have no issues with safety standards, and parks actually desire safety as room temp customers are bad for business; but it is cause for worry when voices begin to whisper.."Maybe they are dangerous", "maybe there should be less exteme rides"..as these voices are the first to herald limits and in cases outright prohibition of a thing.

Theme parks are VERY safe on the whole...if you read the warnings and follow them there is a 99.999% chance you will not die. Don't stick your tongue in an electrical socket and don't ride this coaster if you have a bad heart..it really is that simple.

Call me an alarmist, which is your right, and I respect your opinion on most things relating to Themeparks, but mark my words. The days of higher park tickets, and limited ride variety due to regulation will happen; and these sensationalist, if it bleeds it leads headlines are simply the fueling the big government protect us from ourselves fire.

And with that I will end my Pro-Park, anti-regulation rant and pay up my life insurance as I am headed to that bastion of shoddy maintenance,Disneyland, in 4 weeks.. :)

From Erik Yates on July 28, 2006 at 3:43 PM
I dont know that more people are dying on roller coasters, or that its just being reported more in a shorter period of time. I read, and forgive me that I cant remember the site or find it, that 14 people died last year on or because of a theme park ride.
Perhaps it seems like more because of the time of year that these are all happening, and the short amount of time that these are all occuring. Stil, there have only been 7 or so deaths in the past year. Thats not a lot of people when you think about how may people go to the parks. True there should be no worry about loss of life when going to a theme park, but it happens. And in most of all these occasions it seems that the people were ignoring signs and their own conditions.
Its unfair to say that those people deserve to die and very disrespectful to not only them but their families. It is fair in saying that ignorance in a lot of these cases played a fair hand in their deaths, and sadly its probably just a result of being numbed by too many signs, and way too many warnings about everything. People probably just take these signs as a park covering their butts.
Again, dont underestimate the power of politics in an election year. I give until September before the candidate from FL speaks up about "the unfortunate loss of life at theme parks" when asked a tough question about budgeting and education.
From Michael Whitehead on July 28, 2006 at 6:03 PM
To correct a statement made above... Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia is NOT the same ride at all as the one at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The Magic Mountain Goliath is a hyper built by Giovanola and is known for its really intense positive G-Forces in the helixes that make some people black out. Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia, where this death took place, is a hyper built by B&M and is a MUCH different ride with different cars, different layout, and a ton of airtime, something that is not as prevalent in the Magic Mountain coaster. So despite the same name, they were made by different companies and are completely different!
From j h on July 29, 2006 at 10:55 AM
this is bad and everything
but i loved that ride and it clearly says if u have heart/back etc probelms dnt ride
From Chance Bush on July 31, 2006 at 6:05 AM
I have ridden Goliath with my 8 year old at least a dozen times. Goliath is by far the most intense rollercoaster I've been on in the sense of the HUGE 1st drop. The first time I rode Goliath, I almost fainted when I saw how far down we were going. I've discovered that after you get accustomed to a coaster like Goliath, others like the Scream Machine (which used to take my breath away) no longer have the same effect. Only Superman the Ride and Batman come close to the ride experience of Goliath. I can see how a person could have a heart attack if they shouldnt be riding, Goliath is a mack daddy rollercoaster. I've been on many coasters in my day, and nothing comes close to the intensity of Goliath. I have to give credit to the folks at Six Flags though, they are very cautious about who they let on the ride. I dont have fear of coasters, but I do respect them and pay close attention to the warnings.

As far as regulation is concerned, I think parks should be held to account for whether their machines are safe. If I'm paying to get in, I think I have a right to know that I'm safe.

From Rachel Dixon on July 31, 2006 at 8:09 AM
Well it is very unfortunate that people are dying on rides and I feel for their families however, they did choose to ride the ride after reading the warning signs. We take it upon ourselves in life to make choices, whether they are good ones or bad ones and we don't always know until the choice has been made. No fault to the people that died or to the theme parks. It's just one of those unfortunate events that unfold without ryme or reason.

I do believe however, that politics needs to stay out of our themeparks. Politics seem to be in every other aspect of our lives and it gets a little rediculous. You have a better chance in the state of Florida (for example) to get struck by lightening or attacked by an alligator than you do dying on a roller coaster or other theme park ride. Trust me I feel for the families this year that died being attacked by alligators as well, but who chose to go swimming in their habitat.

I believe their are no faults just bad choices and horrible accidents. People just need to be more aware of their health and other aspects of their lives before makeing the choice to ride certain things at theme parks. God bless to all families who have lost a loved ones.

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