Woman Injured on Free-fall Ride at California Fair

A 30-year-old California woman was hospitalized Sunday after safety nets on a free-drop thrill ride at the Orange County Fair failed to break her fall.

From Robert Niles
Posted July 14, 2003 at 2:35 PM
A 30-year-old California woman was hospitalized Sunday after safety nets on a free-drop thrill ride at the Orange County Fair failed to break her fall.

According to Theme Park Insider member Jason Herrera, this is not the first time that a rider has been injured on this type of carnival ride. In Orlando, Fla. in 2002, a 13-year-old boy sustained a broken leg and a broken hip after a safety net failed to move into position after he jumped. The Orlando ride was being exhibited as part of the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Trade Show.

Riders on these attractions, called the "Adrenaline Drop" at the Orange County Fair, are placed in a metal cage with a bungee strapped around their waists. The cage is raised by a crane and the single rider is then dropped through a trap door in the cage to safety nets more than 100 feet below.

Witnesses in the Orange County incident told sheriff's deputies that the upper safety net failed to stop the woman, who hit safety padding below the second net. The victim, Aidyl Sofia-Gonzalez, suffered no apparent external injuries, but was taken to a local hospital for observation.

From Jeff Arons
Posted July 14, 2003 at 3:10 PM
That ride seems fun, but imagine the shortage of people who come will come to the Orange County Fair now. The only worse thing that could happen to this fair would be a death.

From TH Creative
Posted July 14, 2003 at 4:11 PM

I remember the IAAPA incident in Orlando. We were walking along the trade floor. When we came to the ride it was roped off with police tape. Wha is really frightening was the year before at IAAPA when they were demonstrating the ride outside dropping people from a basket hanging from a crane! YIKES

From Michael Moss
Posted July 14, 2003 at 11:25 PM
Are these the Montic SCAD dives?

From Jason Herrera
Posted July 15, 2003 at 12:15 AM
Mr. Moss:

Yes they are. The one in Orlando was only about 40 ft high as it was indoors.

This one in Costa Mesa was around 110-140 feet high.

To say the woman injured in Costa Mesa is VERY lucky would be an understatement!

From Robert Niles
Posted July 15, 2003 at 1:10 PM
Cal/OSHA has determined that the safety nets were mounted too low to the ground on the Orange County Fair ride, allowing the woman to hit the ground. The ride's lost its operating permit and will remain closed until the state gives it back.

Also, still no word on the woman's injuries, if any.

Here is the Los Angeles Times version of the story.

From Anonymous
Posted July 17, 2003 at 9:05 PM
I tried the ride last year. It looked mechanically sound and well engineered. I wasn't scared to try in the least. By how the accident has been described, it is obvious the ride failed mechanically. The final release mechanism is controlled by an operator riding in the basket with you. In this case it was the owner of the company that operates these rides! The accident should have been prevented by the ride operators. The ride is great fun and I will do it again if possible. [Hope it doesn't happen again!]

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