Amusement park accidents
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Amusement park accidents refer to serious injuries or deaths that occur at an amusement park. Many amusement park accidents are reported to regulatory authorities as usually required by law. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks statistics for all amusement ride accidents. Accidents listed here are caused by one of the following:
- Negligence on the part of the guest which may include intentional or unintentional violations of the park's safety policies
- Negligence on the part of the park, either by ride operators or by ride safety inspections
- Diagnosed or undiagnosed pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart illness, and recent back or neck injuries
All of Florida's major parks—which include the Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay—report quarterly details surrounding accidents and other incidents at their parks. A requirement for these reported incidents is that they are fatal incidents, or that the injured person required an overnight hospital visit. Four examples of the types of incidents that have been reported to Florida's Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection are listed here:
- a 68-year-old woman fractured both legs and an arm while exiting the ride vehicle of Peter Pan's Flight.
- a 42-year-old man broke his left ankle while exiting the Kilimanjaro Safari ride vehicle.
- a 14-year-old girl broke her arm on the Camp Jurassic climbing nets.
- a 57-year-old man suffered chest pain while riding Revenge of the Mummy.
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), a trade association for permanent amusement park facilities, 300 million people visit amusement parks each year. The chance of an injury occurring in a park is 1 in 9 million.
From 2004 through 2009, the Orlando-area attractions that attracted the most guest lawsuits were:
- 7 lawsuits for Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls at Universal Orlando
- 5 lawsuits for Mission: Space at Epcot
- 3 lawsuits for The Black Hole, a water slide at Wet 'n Wild; Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges at Islands of Adventure; and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- 2 lawsuits each for eleven other rides at area attractions.
- In the first quarter of 2007, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Wet ‘n Wild and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay reported no serious incidents on their rides. Disney reported four.
- In the 2nd quarter of 2007, only five significant incidents occurred at the major Orlando and Tampa Bay area theme parks. This marked the first time in five quarters that a fatality was not reported by those parks.
- In the 3rd quarter of 2007, eight serious injuries were reported at the major Orlando and Tampa Bay area theme parks.
- In the 4th quarter of 2007, three injuries and one death were reported at the major Orlando and Tampa Bay area theme parks.
- In the fourth quarter of 2006, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Wet ‘n Wild and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay reported no serious injuries or illnesses on rides in their fourth-quarter filings. Disney reported 6 incidents, ranging from a guest's dizziness upon exiting a ride to a broken foot at Typhoon Lagoon.
- In the second quarter of 2006, there were 12 reported cases of serious injuries or illnesses out of the millions of people who visited the various parks and resorts.
- Disney reported nine cases. Among them were: two deaths; a man who swallowed too much water at Typhoon Lagoon; three women who fell and broke their hips or suffered other injuries; two men with chest pains; and a boy who fainted at Blizzard Beach.
- During that same time period, Universal Orlando reported one case: a woman with chest pain, numbness in an arm, and other symptoms.
- SeaWorld and Busch Gardens reported no cases during the quarter.
- Busch Gardens' Adventure Island water park reported two cases of people complaining of injuries.
Injuries to Children
Between 1990 and 2000, around 82,000 children under 18 were taken to emergency rooms after suffering injuries from amusement park rides. An additional 11,000 suffered injuries on rides located outside of amusement parks, such as those found at local malls, restaurants, or arcades.
Of those reported 82,000 incidents, 34% occurred at locations where the rides were considered permanent, 29% happened on temporary attractions, and 25% were not categorized.
Girls were injured more often than boys were. The most frequent injuries were to the head/neck, arms, face, and legs. Most injuries reported appeared to be due to improper restraints or padding, or were caused by the child falling in, on, off, or against the ride.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- There were more than 15,000 amusement ride-related injuries in 2005 in the U.S.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported the following in 2003:
- From 1987 to 2000, there were an estimated 4.5 amusement ride-related deaths per year.
- There were 3 deaths in 2003, 2 deaths in 2002, and 3 deaths in 2001.
- Incidents at Cedar Fair parks
- Incidents at CNL Income Properties parks
- Incidents at Disney parks
- Incidents at Herschend parks
- Incidents at SeaWorld parks
- Incidents at Six Flags parks
- Incidents at Universal parks
- Incidents at independent parks
- Incidents at European parks
- "Central Florida theme park injuries and illnesses". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "Amusement park dangers". CNN. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- "Top 5 Central Florida theme park rides that draw lawsuits". Orlando Sentinel. 2009-03-29. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
- "Disney deaths due to natural causes". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
- "Theme park injuries and illnesses". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-07-17.[dead link]
- "4 seriously hurt at Central Florida theme parks at end of '07, records show". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- "Quarterly state reports cite "natural" death, injuries". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-01-30. Retrieved 2007-01-30.
- Report on 2Q2006 incidents
- Michelle Healy (2013-05-01). "Amusement-ride injuries can happen on 'mall rides' too". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- Heygood, Michael (3 August 2012). "Carnival and amusement park accidents injure thousands each year". Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Retrieved 28 May 2013. "There were more than 15,000 amusement ride-related injuries in 2005 in the U.S. According to the CPSC, [...]"
- "Amusement Ride-Related Injuries and Deaths in the United States:2003 Update". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2003-11-01. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
- ASTM F2291, Practice for Design of Amusement Rides and Devices
- International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
- Amusement Safety Organization, Inc. Amusement park safety
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Searchable database of Central Florida amusement park accidents From the Orlando Sentinel, covers the quarterly government reports made by Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Wet 'n Wild and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
- Amusement park accident information