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Coaster collision at Cedar Point injures 10

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Published: May 23, 2008 at 10:54 AM

This one flew under the radar for a few days, but as these incidents always do now, finally got out.

Last Friday, a train on the Wildcat coaster at Cedar Point rolled back down a lift, colliding with the train behind it.

Ten people were injured in the collision, according to AP reports. Nine were treated at the scene for bruises and other minor injuries. One was transported to a local hospital for observation, though I've yet to find any additional information about that victim.

State agricultural department officials are investigating and looking at potential issues with the track.

A bit of general background, not necessarily related to this incident: If you've ever wondered what makes the "clackety-clack" sound as you are riding up a roller coaster lift, it is the sound of the rachet dogs slapping against the anti-rollback bar underneath the train. If the lift chain breaks or stops, the rachet will catch in grooves in the anti-rollback bar, keeping the train from rolling back down the hill, and preventing this sort of incident from occurring.

Which, then, leads me to wonder what the situation on Wildcat was that led to a rollback. Any Cedar Point fans care to chime in?

Readers' Opinions

From Brian Emery on May 23, 2008 at 11:26 AM
I wonder after an accident like this, if all involved try to sue the park.
As we all now there are too many lawyers (jerks) in America just waiting for something to happen….
From Robert Niles on May 23, 2008 at 11:32 AM
Um... if an accident is 100-percent a park's fault, and a person incurs financial costs as a result of that accident (lost work, medical bills, etc. -- not to mention the lost of the rest of the day at the park that the person paid for), and the park fails to compensate the victim for those losses... why on Earth shouldn't that person sue?

The alternative is to allow companies to screw their customers whenever they please. I sure don't like that alternative.

Now, having said that, in my experience, parks are usually very willing to compensate people for minor accidents, with free tickets, free on-site medical care and initial hospital bills paid. Things sometimes get nasty with major incidents, where people and parks fight over the compensation for deaths and long-term injuries. But even then, parks usually settle.

From Brian Emery on May 23, 2008 at 11:47 AM
All I am trying to say is that during a minor incident there are always those out for blood.

Sure if a major accident occurs like the young woman that lost her legs a few years ago, then they should be paid for life. But there are so many “I’ll Sue you” folks in the world. I just wonder how big there eyes or wallets get in a case like this….
There are always many fakers that take advantage of the situation.
I guess if it’s a minor accident than I could not ever sue a person.

My BIL had a minor accident and all was fine until about two weeks after they saw the very good insurance company he had and now there are all sorts of – I can’t work, ohhhh the pain I am in….

From Derek Potter on May 24, 2008 at 1:50 PM
I've heard and read on the fan sites...take that for what it's worth, that they were having issues with the lift itself. That may have been the case, although I'm not sure about that being the whole cause. All of these cars have rollback devices that are pretty cut and dry. There is a rail with metal teeth on the track, and there are metal catch devices attached to the cars called chain dogs. If the chain stops, the metal pieces connect and the car locks on the track.

The only real way that I can see this could have happened is that the chain dog on that particular car malfunctioned somehow. The lift malfunctioned, and then either the bolt gave way, or the dog itself was too worn to do it's job. Maybe the teeth tray on the track shifted somehow. I'm not a maintenance guy though, so all I can do is speculate. The Wildcat cars are all single cars with four seats, so it may have been an oversight. I can't see it being sheer negligence. Cedar Point has always been pretty strict on rider safety. I'm sure that it extends to maintenance on the coasters too.

I hope that this isn't the end for the Wildcat. It's a pretty old coaster, but it's surprisingly fun.

From Scottland Jacobson on May 24, 2008 at 6:09 PM
Well that explains why it wasn't open when we got there last Saturday. Is it possible the "chain dog" retracts after reaching the top of a lift hill?

Maverick also got stuck upside down in testing on Thursday morning. Took them all day to wench it through.

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