Incidents at European amusement parks
This is a summary of notable incidents that have taken place at various European amusement parks, water parks, or theme parks. This list is not intended to be a comprehensive list of every such event, but only those that have a significant impact on the parks or park operations, or are otherwise significantly newsworthy.
The term incidents refers to major accidents, injuries, deaths that occur at a European park. While these incidents were required to be reported to regulatory authorities due to where they occurred, they usually fall into one of the following categories:
- Caused by negligence on the part of the guest. This can be refusal to follow specific ride safety instructions, or deliberate intent to break park rules.
- The result of a guest's known or unknown health issues.
- Negligence on the part of the park, either by ride operator or maintenance.
- Act of God or a generic accident (e.g. slipping and falling), that is not a direct result of an action on anybody's part.
- 1 Alton Towers
- 2 Battersea Funfair
- 3 Bridlington Bayside Fun Park
- 4 Botton's Amusement Park
- 5 Brighton Pier
- 6 Camelot
- 7 Chessington World of Adventures
- 8 Coney Beach Funfair, Porthcawl
- 9 Disneyland Paris
- 10 Fantasy Island
- 11 Flamingo Land
- 12 Gray's Amusement Park
- 13 Gulliver's Land
- 14 Gulliver's World
- 15 Guillena Zoo
- 16 Holiday Park
- 17 Legoland Billund
- 18 Lightwater Valley
- 19 Liseberg
- 20 Loudoun Castle
- 21 Mirabilandia
- 22 Naudières
- 23 Phantasialand
- 24 Pleasure Beach Blackpool
- 25 Parc Astérix
- 26 PortAventura
- 27 Pleasureland Southport
- 28 Prater
- 29 Oakwood
- 30 Rotunda Amusement Park
- 31 Terra Mitica
- 32 Thorpe Park
- 33 Tivoli Friheden
- 34 Tramore Amusement Park
- 35 Wonderland Pleasure Park
- 36 Wicksteed Park
- 37 See also
- 38 References
- On 24 June 2001, 28 people were trapped for 90 minutes when the ride failed to complete its circuit. This was the second time the ride failed, the first being in 1997.
- On June 29, 2004, due to a large gust of wind the Sky Ride cables became caught, jamming the ride. About 80 people were on the ride, and nine people had to be rescued by being absailed down 200ft cables..
- In 2007, a fire caused by a halogen lamp occurred at the Sky Ride Station in Forbidden Valley. No visitors were on the attraction at the time, and the station re-opened the following year.
- On 29 July 2009, a blaze started in the Cloud Cuckoo Land station for the Skyride. It took several hours to get the fire under control, and the station was completely destroyed. The cause of the fire was revealed to have been a faulty nearby vending machine. The Skyride remained closed until 2010 after the fire.
Rita - Queen of Speed | Rita
- In June 2005, a 12-year-old girl had apparently had both her wrists fractured by the force of the 62 mph launch that begins the ride, however this was never proven to be true. The ride is now known as simply Rita.
Runaway Mine Train
|Wikinews has related news: Many hurt on Alton Towers ride|
- On 20 July 2006, when the train was entering the tunnel section of its course, two carriages uncoupled, the front half continued up the slope whilst the other half of the train remained stuck in the tunnel, the front carriages then failed to make it over the hill and rolled back into the tunnel, crashing into the other part of the train. Six people were taken to hospital and 23 others were treated for cuts and bruises. Following the incident the Runaway Mine Train was closed for the rest of the season, the train was only returned to full length in June the following year as some carriages were still being repaired..
- In May 2012, a drunk young man climbed into the tunnel on Oblivion. Staff noticed through CCTV and halted the ride. The man was rescued and taken to the nearby University Hospital North Staffordshire as a precaution. Nobody was injured.
- On 2 November 2013, one rider of The Smiler was injured when a rubber wheel casing fell off and hit the guest as the ride made a vertical incline.
- On 22 June 2014, a child disembarked the ride whilst it was making an incline up to the final drop, he then proceeded to walk down the emergency stairs along the side of the chute presumably to re-enter his boat. The ride was e-stopped, and evacuated as a precaution, nobody was injured.
- On 30 May 1972, one of the trains became detached from the lift chain and rolled back to the station (the anti-rollback mechanism having also failed), colliding with the other train. Five children were killed and thirteen others injured. The ride (the park's main attraction) was permanently closed, leading to the decline in the popularity of the Funfair and its eventual closure at the end of the 1974 season.
Bridlington Bayside Fun Park
Jungle River Log Flume
- On 29 August 2011, a grandmother sustained severe leg injuries when the Jungle River Log Flume stuck and jolted throwing her out of the cabin. She was riding with her four-year-old granddaughter when the accident happened. It is believed that the ride stalled as it didn't have enough water in. The granddaughter was taken to hospital with minor bruising.
Botton's Amusement Park
- On 30 August 2011 at 3:15pm, emergency services were called to the ride after reports that the arm had collapsed. Firefighters used ropes and ladders to rescue the 22 passengers who had become lodged at a 90 degree angle. Seven passengers were injured and taken to hospital, including one woman with life-threatening head injuries. It was reported that the ride had maintenance done in the previous few days.
- In December 2002, eight riders were allowed to ride the coaster despite the fact that a 16 ft section of track had been removed for maintenance. The ride operator stopped the train just before it hit the missing section. In 2004, Brighton Pier was fined £37,000 for failing to ensure people's safety.
- On October 22, 2001, a 59-year-old employee was killed as he was struck by a train when he was performing maintenance on the ride. Prime Resorts Limited was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs, after a court decided the death was caused by fundamental management errors.
Chessington World of Adventures
- On August 17, 2009, the whole park was hit with a major power cut, that resulted in many guests being trapped on rides for over two hours. The Daily Mail reported that riders of Rameses Revenge were left stranded at a 40° angle, and that some riders of Safari Skyway trains near the zoo were lowered using ladders and a cherry picker.
- On 7 June 2012, A 4-year-old girl fell from an elevated walkway used as the queue for the Tomb Blaster attraction. The girl suffered broken ribs, a cracked skull and bleeding on the brain when she fell through a hole in the wooden fencing. On Friday 9th January 2015, Chessington plead guilty of the incident labeling it as a result of improper maintenance. H&S investigators said the fall happened as a result of water from the roof dripping onto the paneling, rotting the wood. On Monday 12th January 2015, Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd were fined £150,000 as a result of the fall. Operator Merlin Entertainments apologised and said that they had since spent millions on redeemal work across the park to ensure something similar could never occur again. One improvement made involved adding a steel rail fence to the Tomb Blaster queue.
- On 16 June 2013, 39 riders were trapped on Rameses Revenge for over three hours following an electrical problem. Firefighters cut through safety restraints to release riders one at a time, who then climbed down a ladder. The ride was subsequently closed for refurbishment.
- On the morning of the 21st December 2013 a fire broke out in the Creaky Café. At the time of the blaze, the cafe was being used as Santa's Grotto for the 'Festive Zoo Days' event. The cause of the fire was revealed to have been decorations falling on a heater and catching alight. The park and zoo were closed at the time, and no injuries occurred. The fire completely destroyed the cafe, as well as doing major damage to the Bubbleworks finale scene. Two facades in the surrouding area of Transylvania were also destroyed. The site of the fire was cleared and transformed into a picnic area in time for the new season. With the Transylvania entrance tower also being refurbished after suffering fire damage. The Bubbleworks finale was altered with new lighting rigs and new walls, the mirrors from the rides previous design were also returned.
Coney Beach Funfair, Porthcawl
On 1 April 1994, a 9-year-old boy was killed after being flung off the 58-year-old "Water Chute" ride when a steel hoop collapsed in wet and windy conditions and fell onto the open-topped carriage in which he was travelling.
- On October 18, 2002, a 22-year-old ride operator broke his leg when a bungee ride malfunctioned. The employee was demonstrating the ride when the ankle restraints holding him in place snapped.
- On June 1, 2004, a 32-year-old employee was injured by the Magnum Force roller coaster, allegedly due to him crossing through a restricted area under the coaster as a shortcut through the park.
- On May 4 2010, one of the carts got stuck midway through the ride due to a poncho blowing onto the tracks. Five passengers were trapped upside down for 20 minutes before being safely removed from the ride by park attendants.
Gray's Amusement Park
- On June 2, 2000, a 12-year-old boy died as a result of injuries sustained at Gray's Amusement Park in Ingoldmells near Skegness. He was hit in the chest by a manual swing, known as The Swinging Gym. The incident was described as a tragic accident.
- On May 17, 2006, a 56-year-old park employee was performing safety checks on the train when he was decapitated as the train went into a tunnel.
- On July 13, 2002, a 15-year-old girl fell 30 feet from a Ferris wheel. She was taken to hospital, and died two days later from her injuries. The park were fined a total of £80,000 for failing to ensure a persons' safety, and not carrying out risk assessments.
- Eighteen people were injured when a Flying Swinger ride collapsed at Guillena Zoo near Seville, Spain. The accident happened on April 9, 2005. Of the 18 injured, fifteen were children. Four people were seriously injured, including an 11 year-old girl and a woman, who were airlifted to a Hospital in Seville, after sustaining serious head and leg injuries. Witnesses said that the attraction's main support snapped in two, trapping victims under the debris. The ride, built in 2001, had just passed all of its required safety inspections.
- On April 29, 2010, the Intamin coaster Expedition GeForce stopped 65-feet in the air when the first car derailed after completing the cars first drop. No one was seriously injured however all 26 riders had to be evacuated. It was reported a broken axle caused the accident.
The Xtreme Racer
- On April 29, 2007, a 21-year-old park employee was killed by a ride vehicle on The Xtreme Racer, a roller coaster at the Billund, Denmark park, as she climbed over a security fence to retrieve a guest's wallet.
- On June 21, 2001, a 20-year-old woman died while on the ride after two carriages collided. Police decided not to prosecute a maintenance worker, who claimed that he had only received an hour's training on that ride and had not seen its manual. Faulty wiring had also caused a malfunction on the ride. In October 2004, the deputy coroner ruled death by misadventure. On November 14, 2006, the park was charged with failing to ensure the health and safety of riders, and the ride operator was charged with failing to ensure safety through his work. Both pleaded guilty. The ride manufacturer, Reverchon Industries SA, was convicted of two charges of failing to ensure the ride's safe design and construction.
- In 1985, two empty rollercoaster trains collided at Liseberg, causing injuries to staff members.
- In 2005, a power failure affected western Sweden, causing all the attractions at Liseberg to stop, leaving people stranded in various positions but causing no injuries.
- On September 2, 2006, a man received injuries to his head and neck after being hit when a flagpole fell down.
- On July 15, 2006, 21 people were injured at Liseberg when two roller coaster trains, on the rollercoaster Lisebergbanan, collided. The crash happened when the chain that pulls trains up the initial climb malfunctioned, causing a fully loaded train to roll backward into the loading platform, hitting another train that was unloading riders. Since only part of the train was on the lift, the anti-rollback mechanism had not fully engaged and broke. The steel roller coaster was built in 1987 and is one of Sweden's largest, reaching speeds up to 80 km/h. Since the accident the roller coaster has opened again, after a technical adjustment.
- On October 8, 2006, a woman in her thirties was seriously injured on the log boat ride "Flumeride". At the second and final drop, a 14 metre slope, the woman apparently panicked, and tried to keep the log boat from travelling down the slope by holding onto the railings. She was ejected from the boat into the water and slid down the slope, where she was hit in the head by at least one of the two following log boats. Since she had managed to temporarily keep the log boat from dropping down the slope, the following two log boats passed the last safety gate, and couldn't be stopped from falling down the last slope where the woman was located. The event was witnessed by the staff who stopped the ride, but were unable to prevent two of the log boats from continuing. The woman, who was travelling together with her 11-year-old daughter and another woman, was taken to Sahlgrenska University Hospital, where she was reported to be in critical but stable condition. An investigation has been initiated by the authorities, and Liseberg has also initiated an internal inquiry. She eventually recovered fully.
- On July 15, 2008, 30 people were injured when the ride collapsed. The park manager stated that he believes a ball bearing on the ride failed. The ride was dismantled on July 17, 2008. Investigators then confirmed on July 19, 2008 that they had discovered a faulty drive shaft during their inspection. They believed that one of the axles that is designed to hold the passenger carriage horizontal failed. The drive shaft had been replaced by Huss Maschinefabrik, the ride's manufacturer, in 2003.
- In 1997, 25 young people were trapped for three hours when the ride "Hangover" at Liseberg malfunctioned.
- In 2001, a 14-year old boy was pinned between a raft and a landing on the ride "Kållerado" at Liseberg.
- In 2002, six small children received minor injuries when a safety latch failed on the attraction "the little frogs" (Swedish: Små grodorna) at Liseberg.
- On July 16, 2007, an 18-year-old park worker died after falling 80 ft from the Rat ride at the Scottish Park. He was on a day off on July 15, 2007 when it is believed he saw one of the carriages stuck on the ride. He climbed up to attempt to fix the ride; however when it started to move he was dragged to the highest point, when he lost his grip and fell.
The park voluntarily closed the ride even after it passed inspection.
- In 2007, a man was killed at the Mirabilandia theme park in Ravenna, Italy, when he was hit in the head by the leg of a female rider on the Katun inverted coaster. The girl whose leg struck the man was injured. The man was in a restricted area when he was struck, however the ride was still closed so officials could investigate.
- On August 13, 2011, a 24-year-old ride operator was crushed by two trains at the Naudières theme park in Sautron, France. The man left the control booth of the ride whilst it was in motion. He slipped trapping his legs beneath the track and then was hit by a train, trapping him between two cars, crushing him beneath the rides structure. Doctors amputated his legs at the scene, but he later died of his injuries. The park closed the next day due to 'very bad weather'.
Gebirgsbahn & Grand Canyon Achterbahn
- On May 1, 2001, a fire broke out at the Phantasialand theme park in Brühl, near Cologne, Germany. 54 people were injured during the fire, however no one was seriously hurt. The fire broke out on the powered roller coaster "Grand Canyon Achterbahn" which was located inside the structure of the bigger roller coaster "Gebirgsbahn" on a day when the park was filled with 20,000 visitors. The park's founder said a cable fire was most likely the cause of the blaze. There were 150 passengers on the 2 rides when the fire broke out. Some passengers of the "Gebirgsbahn" were only able to exit the cars using a 60 foot ladder. The mostly polystyrene facade was coated with a fire resistant film, however it had lost its effect after years of operation and caught fire. The 2 roller coasters and the nearby "Tanagra Theater" were completely destroyed and demolished shortly after. After this accident, the park improved the safety standards on many of its attractions. This resulted in some compromises. Some of the effects on the park's rides had to be removed, the upper floor of the IMAX simulator "Galaxy" (later: "Race For Atlantis") was permanently closed and the track of the "Gondelbahn 1001-Nacht" darkride was shortened to make room for a rescue passage for firetrucks. The park also installed new sprinkler systems in some of the rides like the "Silbermine" darkride. Today the rapid river "River Quest" is located on the site of the 2 roller coasters. The "Tanagra Theater" was replaced with the Vekoma madhouse "Feng Ju Palace".
- On May 14, 2011, a 48 year old man died while riding Black Mamba, an inverted roller coaster. According to German safety inspectors the roller coaster and all safety features were sound and passed extensive testings by the TÜV. Autopsy showed that the death was caused by a heart attack. The man rode the ride despite being diagnosed with diabetes some weeks before.
Pleasure Beach Blackpool
Pepsi Max Big One
- On August 31, 2000, 23 people were injured, when two ride vehicles collided due to a failure of the ride's braking system. Of those injured, 21 were taken to the hospital. This was the second time the ride's car collided, first was July 1994 (a week after the ride opened).
- On July 21, 2000, an 11-year-old boy died after he fell out of the ride. Reports say that he panicked on the dark ride, unfastened his seat belt and fell 50 ft.
The Big Dipper
- On August 11, 2009, two trains - carrying a total of 32 guests - collided, resulting in 21 guests requiring treatment at a nearby hospital for injuries ranging from whiplash and broken noses to cuts and bruises.
- On October 27, 2014 a 53 Year old male was riding the Grand National with his 13 year old great-nephew when he became unconscious and limp. Emergency services were called and Fire fighters cut free the rider from the train, Emergency Doctors on-scene confirmed the male had broken his neck mid-ride. Pleasure Beach reported that there had been no incidents in 2014 and the ride had passed all safety and maintenance checks, none of the rides safety systems had alerted staff to any malfunctions. It was later confirmed that the now paralysed man had underlying spinal conditions. The ride opened in 1935 and an estimate of 100,000,000 people have rode this three of a kind in the world ride. This is the first official report of any injuries caused by or on the ride.
- On July 5, 2006, a 6-year-old Belgian boy drowned as he was dragged underwater by the current.
- On May 18, 2009, a 55-year-old park employee died after being run over by a coaster train as he was performing maintenance.
- On August 25, 2004, a 59-year-old employee was killed after he became trapped. The park was fined £95,000 for breaching health & safety laws, and were also ordered to pay £50,000 in costs.
- On April 5, 2010, a Vienna man died after trying to jump onto a high-speed carousel ride at Vienna's Prater amusement park. The 34-year-old was drunk when he attempted to get back on the ride after it had started by hurling himself at the spinning carousel. He died soon after from the multiple injuries.
- Three people were injured on the Volare roller coaster on October 22, 2010, when a crane crashed against the ride. The 'wagon' steered into the crane's hoist, set close to the ride. A 21-year-old Macedonian man sustained serious head injuries when he fell 8 metres to the ground from the platform supported by the crane. One tourist broke her arm while her friend suffered cuts and bruises. The official accident report says the employee operating the roller coaster was unaware the worker was busy on the scaffolding when he started up the ride. Newspapers, however, report that the attraction has been in operation many times while the painters were busy.
- On April 16, 2004, a 16-year-old girl from Pontypool, was killed after falling approximately 30 m (100 ft) from the top of the Hydro (now called Drenched) ride. During a trial brought by the victim's family against Oakwood, a jury returned a narrative verdict stating that the victim died due to not being properly restrained. In February 2008, Oakwood was charged by the Health and Safety Executive for park staff not ensuring that guests were properly and safely restrained. On May 22, 2008, magistrates in Haverfordwest magistrates court rejected Oakwood Leisure Limited's request for an adjournment and directed that the hearing should proceed on the assumption of a not guilty plea. The magistrates declined jurisdiction and adjourned the case which was committed for crown court trial in Swansea Crown Court on July 7, 2008. The magistrates' court was limited to fining the company £20,000, the crown court can impose an unlimited fine. On July 8, 2008, Oakwood plead guilty under the Health and Safety Act 1974 for failing to conduct its business such to ensure that its guests were not exposed to risks, and will face sentencing.
Rotunda Amusement Park
- On September 11, 1999, an 8-year-old girl died after falling from the coaster and hitting her head on a steel support. On February 19, 2003, Dreamland Leisure was found guilty of negligence in ensuring guest safety. The company were fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 in compensation to the victim's mother.
- On July 7, 2014, a teenager was killed after his harness sprung open on Inferno, a ZacSpin coaster at Terra Mítica in Benidorm, Spain. All other ZacSpin's across the world have ceased operations pending investigation findings from Terra Mictica and later has reopened.
Thunder River (Rumba Rapids)
- In the ride's opening year of 1986, 11-year-old Jonathan White was thrown from a boat and lost an ear. The news was broken by Children's BBC TV news programme, Newsround.
Mr Rabbit's Tropical Travels
- On July 21, 2000, seven thousand people were evacuated from the park after Mr Rabbit's Tropical Travels boat ride caught fire in its wooden tunnel. The ride was located within close proximity to the Wicked Witches Haunt attraction, which was completely destroyed by the fire. Two other large buildings were also severely damaged, including one that housed a KFC and a Games Arcade. Actual cause of the fire is still unknown as different sources say different things; one says a smoker put out a cigarette whilst on the ride, whilst another says it was an electrical fault.  After the fire, Wicked Witches Haunt and Mr Rabbit's Tropical Travels were demolished. The site of the fire is now home to the Nemesis Inferno roller coaster and the Detonator: Bombs Away drop tower.
- On 31 August 2000, An 11-year-old boy broke both his legs and was left with slurred speech after suffering a brain injury on the ride (left vertebral artery dissection) caused by falling out of the car.
- In September 2001, two teenagers were left dangling from a gondola on the Zodiac Enterprise ride. The two pupils from an East Sussex school, Gemma Clark and Scott Reeves, were on the ride when a support holding the gondola snapped, leaving it hanging by a single support. When the operator tried to halt the ride, the gondola repeatedly hit decking at the bottom before coming to a stop. Minor injuries were sustained. In 2004, Tussauds Theme Park, then owner of Thorpe Park, were fined £65,000 for violations of health and safety law in connection with the incident.
- On May 29, 2008, a 4 ft piece of metal fell off the "Rush ride" and fell from the top of the ride, hitting one of the swings and landing on the nearby pathway. No one was injured.
- On July 6th 2014 a 25 year old man's jaw was broken during a fight between two parties at the park's Ministry of Sound Club Nights. Police believed that the fight began in the Bar 360 but got more serious later. Five people, including the man with the broken jaw were sent to St Peter's Hospital by ambulance. 
- On July 4, 2008, four unidentified people were injured while riding the Cobra coaster. The ride vehicle broke in two, with the front part of the train falling to the ground.
Tramore Amusement Park
- On August 5, 2002, a 16-year-old male employee of the park was struck and killed by the "slingshot" ride while it was in operation.
- On August 26, 2006, a 22-year-old man died in an accident after falling out of a ghost train car and being run over by a second train.
Wonderland Pleasure Park
- On September 5, 2004, a seven-year-old girl died after sustaining severe head injuries after falling to the ground while exiting the ride.
- On September 7, 2003, two people were injured when the ride derailed.
A man was injured in an accident at Wicksteed Park on 29 May 2011. A boat become caught while being winched up the lift hill and 'violently' moved towards a walkway. The man broke his left ankle, sustained an injured knee, shoulder and wrist.
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