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A Look At Why And How Amusement Park Accidents Happen


Although relatively safe in comparison to the number of people that attend them, it is easy to forget how dangerous amusement parks can be. The core problem is that there are simply so many variables, and each can go wrong, and contribute to an accident.

So how do amusement park accidents happen? One way to figure that out is to look at some amusement park accidents that have happened in the past, and see what their causes were.

Operator Error

Sadly, in many cases, operator error contributes to fatalities or catastrophic injuries at amusement parks. This  was the case in two of the most tragic amusement park accidents.

In 2022, a young boy in Orlando’s Icon Park fell to his death when he was not properly harnessed into a seat. There is some debate about whether a locking malfunction failed—however, one thing we do know is that the boy was too large to be safely locked into the seat, and that it is likely that ride operators should have denied him access to the ride based on his size, but they did not.

The same can be said for a 2010 accident at Wisconsin Dells. On a ride where riders free fall into a net, the ride operator failed to deploy the net, leaving one rider to simply fall on the concrete below, a 100 foot fall.

Operator errors are also responsible for a passenger that was thrown out of a six flags roller coaster, because the rider was a war veteran who had his legs amputated. Because of this he would never have been able to have been safely harnessed into the ride, something the ride’s operator should have seen, but didn’t.

Ride Design

Often, the design of the ride itself contributes to accidents and injuries. In 1982, a man at Action Park in New Jersey was killed when he was on a kayak ride. His kayak overturned, and he got out and into the water, to correct it.

What he didn’t know was that under the water, a stretch of wiring was live (the wiring was there to power the current in the water). The man was electrocuted, and eventually died.

Ride design error also contributed to death at Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas. This was a water flume ride, where riders were placed on a raft, inside of a tube. However, the roughness of the ride threw the boy airborne. In the air, and being hurled downward, the boy hit his head on a metal rod inside the tube, decapitating him.

Unknown Causes

Many times, we simply don’t know what caused an accident—naturally, amusement parks will always point the finger at victims, and blame them for unstrapping themselves, undoing safety harnesses or for moving about unsafely inside of rides.

Call the Knoxville amusement park accident lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today if you are injured in any kind of amusement park accident.




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