Visitor Struck and Killed by Raptor at Cedar Point

August 13, 2015, 3:58 PM

Cedar Point posted the following to its Facebook page:

At approximately 5 p.m., a guest entered a restricted, fenced area of the Raptor roller coaster and was struck by the ride. Park safety officials responded immediately to the situation. Unfortunately the guest has passed away. Local authorities are on the scene conducting an investigation.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this time.

This is the first fatality that I can recall at the Sandusky, Ohio amusement park.

Replies (7)

August 13, 2015, 4:43 PM

It's always sad when somebody loses their life. This story reminds me of the Batman: The Ride incident a couple years ago where a teenager was decapitated trying to retrieve a hat that he lost while he was on a ride. Amusement parks have fences for a reason, to keep you safe. Crossing those fences are very dangerous, especially on Inverted Coasters, where you could be in the way of the train without knowing it. I hope this story becomes national news so that the general public will be more aware of the dangers of disobeying park rules, which will hopefully lead to less people losing their lives.

Edited: August 13, 2015, 6:16 PM

We've been working for years to help people understand how to stay safe in theme parks, and the first rule is to obey the park's rules, including staying out of restricted zones.

But at some point, parks can only protect themselves from misguided guests by implementing systems that reduce the risk to people who do something wrong. At Disney World, we had IR beams around Thunder that would sound an alarm in the control tower when tripped. SOP was to power disconnect the ride immediately, which would stop all trains on the next lift or safety brake. If anyone knows what the system is at Cedar Point, please share that.

No, people should not hop the fence. But people do foolish things, and if there's an opportunity to use technology to protect not just the guest who did something wrong, but the ride, other guests, and the park's employees -- who all suffer when a tragedy such as this occurs -- we all should welcome that kind of investment from parks.

Cedar Point's safety record has been flawless, and I hope that this tragedy at least can provide some guidance to visitors and to the industry to help prevent anything like this from happening again.

August 13, 2015, 7:05 PM

This is the type of accident that really annoys me as it is 100% preventable and solely due to the idiocy of a guest. It's even more annoying when this type of thing has happened several times in the past and will likely continue to happen. There is absolutely no reason a guest should ever enter a restricted area and there is nothing you could possibly drop from a ride that can't be replaced. Despite this, I've seen someone jump a fence at a theme park on more than one occasion and I've never felt bad when they've been ejected and banned from the park.

If I remember correctly, Raptor has two fences around it: A perimeter fence surrounding the entire ride area and a second fence around any low sections of track. Both of these fences are 8-10 ft. tall and have very visible danger signs on them. From what I've heard, the guest was attempting to retrieve a dropped cell phone, but common sense should dictate that if you have to scale two fences with very clear warnings on them you really shouldn't be in the area. Parks can never be idiot-proof, but you can only ask them to do so much. Given the nature of Raptor, with about 45 seconds between block points, and the location where the guest was struck (the cobra roll, which is at least 20 seconds after the train drops off the lift), I'm doubtful any type of automated shutoff system would have helped in this case.

Ultimately, it is the responsibly of the park to put adequate safety precautions in place and it is the responsibility of the guest to follow these precautions. It is not fair to blame the park for the actions of an individual who blatantly disregards every security measure put in place, yet I'm guessing there will be some type of lawsuit from the family of the victim and the state will require a full investigation before the coaster can reopen. While I do feel sorry for everyone affected by this incident, especially the victim's family and the witnesses, I always find it difficult to have any sympathy for the victim when this type of accident occurs.

August 13, 2015, 7:53 PM

I've heard of "suicide by cop", but I wonder if this could possibly be another form of suicide, meaning this was intentional. I'm not saying it is, of course. I have no idea. But sometimes these kinds of stories unfold over the course of weeks, as the person is found out to have had mental illness, depression, problems at work or in his/her relationship, etc.

I agree that this was completely preventable. Restricted areas are marked for a reason, and is no different from signs at pools with a maximum depth of 4 feet that are marked "no diving".

With all of that said, it's a sad occurrence, and I hope a lesson is learned from this tragedy.

Thanks for sharing, as we all can use a reminder now and then about safety in general, and theme park safety specifically.

August 14, 2015, 3:23 AM

I really don't have any more info than what is already here, except that the guy was 45 years old- you would think he would have learned enough in 45 years to not do what he did. Yes, there are two fences around the restricted areas, one is a basic metal railing, and the other is a tall chain-link fence, and there are plenty of signs warning that it is a restricted area and to keep out. He was hit by the coaster itself, not by a guest's legs, so at least he was the only one hurt and not an innocent rider.

There is not a lot of sympathy for the victim in social media that I have seen. Lots of sympathy for the family, but no blame for CP or Raptor. I understand that Raptor and Blue Streak (directly beside Raptor) were closed yesterday, but it's too early to know what the plans are for today.

August 14, 2015, 7:00 AM

Wow, when I read the title I first thought of Universal new Raptor, then I thought of real Raptor on the loose - but ultimately it was the Darwin theory where the stupid will kill themselves off..

I feel bad for the remaining family.

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore said - Pity the living..

August 14, 2015, 10:10 PM

Raptor was inspected and reopened Friday. The man killed was a 45 year old teacher who was supposed to start his "dream job" as a high school guidance counselor in a few weeks. It was reported in several places that he lost his phone and wallet and climbed over a railing and a six-foot-tall chain link fence into the restricted area. He was hit in the head and died at the scene.

Cedar Point was going to reveal their new attraction "officially" on Tuesday, August 18th, but that has been postponed until further notice because of this incident. No further information about it has been released as far as I know.

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