Published: July 1, 2009 at 1:56 PM
As a former Lead Technician at Dueling Dragons, I knew this man who was hit by the 20,000 pound roller coaster while doing a “routine” inspection of the foundations. These are the concrete anchors that hold the structure into the earth. The 911 call said he was “unresponsive” at the time. If he was hit full-frontal by the train, he was launched many feet and probably died. No crumple zones on coasters! The 911 operator mentions that he was hit in the head, so hopefully he was nicked by a fiberglass or rubber tooth or claw that protrude from the bottom of the coaster. The reason there is so much media “hype” at the major theme parks, is that they are not required by law to release ANY info about injuries or deaths that occur on property, so the media feel lucky to get whatever they can. Their squeaky clean safety records are a sham. The maintenance techs, who work at night, are not even subjected to a pre-employment drug screening before hiring. Several employees have recently been fired for using drugs ON the job!
I am writing this as a former employee of 13 years who was terminated for using a licensed firearm to defend myself from an attacker while on vacation, 12 miles from Universal. They cited the reason as “conduct which may or may not bring negative publicity to Universal Orlando”, and that my “actions could affect the safety of guests or fellow employees”. I’ve tried for three years to get them to tell me what “conduct” or “actions” jeopardized fellow employees’ safety, or that of the guests, but nobody will tell me! I was acquitted for self-defense, but Universal never gave me a chance to wait for the outcome! They even went so far as to attempt to deny me workers’ compensation due to “WORKPLACE MISCONDUCT”! I won that on appeal from Unemployment. Universal didn’t even dare show up for the arbitration! So, naturally I have a bit of an axe to grind with them, so I will release any information I find on safety issues that they try to cover up. I would not report rumors, just facts, as I feel the public have a right to know. I still use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org since I’ve had it for so long! The technician’s name is Douglas Babcock, so please keep him in your prayers if you will.