An Ohio state ride inspector blames Kings Island management for negligent construction and design practices on the park's troubled - and widely panned - Son of Beast roller coaster.
The coaster, the first wooden roller coaster to feature an inversion -which was removed in 2007, closed earlier this year following yet another injury accident involving a rider. The ride also closed for the months in 2006 following a busted timber that led to a wreck which sent two dozen people to local hospitals.
Rick Schmizze of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (which inspects amusement rides in the state) testified in a case brought by one of the injured riders in that 2006 accident. In a videotaped deposition reviewed by a local newspaper, Schmizze detailed a list of failures by the park's managers over the years, including the use of inferior wood and a failure to develop computer models to test load stress on the track and its supports. Those failures led to a structure that swayed too much, loosening bolts even in areas which did not fail in the 2006 accident.
Son of Beast was built by Roller Coaster Company of Ohio, which then-owner Paramount Parks fired before the ride was completed. Kings Island, along with the rest of the Paramount Parks chain, was sold to Cedar Fair two months before the 2006 wreck. Schmizze testified that he urged Cedar Fair to develop a computer model to test the track and make repairs, but that was not done, to his knowledge.
When it was open, Son of Beast ranked among the lowest rated attractions in Theme Park Insider's listings, with riders criticizing the coaster for a "rough ride" and "headsplitting" experience. Kings Island's overall rating on Theme Park Insider jumped up significantly when the ride closed, as the negative ratings against Son of Beast were dropped from the voting.
And yet... Kings Island has not yet confirmed that Son of Beast is closed for good. (Double entendre intended.)
I think that they're not going to close the coaster JUST because of the accidents. I believe that it may not re-open at the beginning of the season next year as it will under-go heavy refurbishment. Son of Beast is a great ride, however it's rough. Tearing it down would be a waste - IMO
Hm. To be honest, I think this ride will just end up like the ill fated Bat. Too many problems, lawsuits... It just might become a part of Kings Island's rich history, for good.
While I did enjoy the ride the first year that it opened, I later woke up to reality. I always WANTED to like the ride more then I actually did. I applaud Kings Island for pushing the boundaries with the vertical loop on a woody; but the layout of that coaster was boring, and the experience rough!
It's done. There's too much at stake. Local news is reporting that KI has $30 million in. Nonetheless, how costly is bad press?
I'm going to agree with Andy.
It's tough for me to place the blame on the shoulders of Cedar Fair for this problem. Son of Beast was a problem from day one of design. The blame lies with the designer, the builder, and the management who hired said designer and builder to construct such a complicated and groundbreaking ride. Yeah they canned (and also sued I believe) the company responsible, but by that time the ride was already under construction.
I hafta admit that SOB was a VERY rough ride the first time i rode it, i thought i was gonna have some broken bones, didn't, but did end up with a couple bruses. then they removed the loop, changed the cars and the ride smoothed out some. I would hafta say that i enjoyed SOB every time i rode it.
Gravity Group is located in Cincinnati-- Id love to see Cedar Fair hire a local business to either "fix" SOB or tear it down and design a new one.
I didn't get to ride it while the loop was in place, and I might have liked it then. But after riding it -- once -- last Spring, I believe KI would be better served by going the way of Gemini, and putting tube steel track on the wooden structure. I'm not an engineer, but I believe the steel tubes would provide sufficient rigidity to unkink the rough spots while providing a smoother ride. Yeah, it would take it out of the "woodie" class, but I think the track layout and length would make it a world class ride.
pieces are supposed to fall off, and the ride is supposed to break, if it didn't it would not be a cedar lake company ride.
Tear this worthless woodpile down. I rode it back in the day when it still had the loop, and it felt like I went ten rounds with Mike Tyson. SOB is more fun to look at than to ride, and almost everyone agrees it's a disappointment.
I haven't ridden on Son of Beast since they took the loop out, but before that it was the roughest ride I had ever ridden since The Beast. On both of those rides, I felt like I had ruptured my spleen when the ride was over.
It's funny how people who haven't ridden the ride since the loop was taken out say it should be torn down because it is too rough.
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