Incidents at Six Flags parks
This is a summary of notable incidents that have taken place at amusement parks, water parks, or theme parks currently owned or managed by Six Flags. 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. In some cases, incidents occurred while the park was under different management or ownership. The term incidents refers to major accidents, injuries, or deaths that occur at a 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:
- The result of a guest's known or unknown health issues.
- Negligence on the part of the park, either by ride operator or maintenance safety instructions, or deliberate intent to violate park rules.
- Act of God or a generic accident (e.g., lightning strike, slipping and falling), that is not a direct result of an action on anybody's part.
La Ronde 
Le Vampire 
- On July 6, 2012, a 67-year-old employee of the park was killed at Le Vampire. An eyewitness stated that the employee was found underneath the attraction in a restricted area and appeared to have suffered head trauma. The eyewitness did not claim to see the incident itself, however park officials stated that the employee was struck by the roller coaster train. The employee was pronounced dead at the scene, while another individual was taken to a local hospital to be treated for shock. Officials with the park did not know why the employee entered the restricted area of the ride while it was operational, but they did state that the ride itself was operating normally and that procedures for entering restricted ride areas, including notification of ride staff, had not been followed.
Six Flags America 
- On August 3, 2007, a 6-year-old girl fell from the Octopus while the ride was in motion and suffered minor injuries to her head, hip, and leg. Reports from eyewitnesses vary on the distance she fell, ranging from 4 feet (1.2 m) to 25 feet (7.6 m). Park officials said that they believe she fell because she was standing up while the ride was moving.
Renegade Rapids 
- In June 2000, eight people were trapped when their raft capsized during the ride. All riders escaped, but two were injured.
Two Face: The Flip Side 
- On October 16, 2007, the ride malfunctioned causing the cars to become stuck on the lift. Once the train became dislodged, the hydraulic line was severed and hydraulic fluid was sprayed onto multiple riders. In total, twelve people needed medical attention, two of whom were taken to the hospital to be treated.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 
- On August 25, 1999, 28 passengers were stranded on the Boomerang ride for several hours. The shuttle that pulled the train up an incline failed to release the train. Employees were eventually able to fix the problem and started the coaster. It successfully went around both loops the first round and unfortunately stalled upside down at the peak of one of the loops for hours on its way backwards. Riders, suffering from cases of severe dehydration and sunburn, were rescued by firefighters in cherry pickers.
- On September 4, 1999, a nine-year-old boy was injured when he slipped below the restraining bar on the Scat-a-bout, a "scrambler"-type ride. The boy was thrown from the ride and landed in a nearby planter, receiving cuts on his legs. The park later stated that the accident was the result of the boy intentionally sliding beneath the safety restraint.
- In May 2001, a 21-year-old woman from Antioch, California was thrown from the ride when a restraining bar failed as the result of a pneumatic valve being incorrectly installed. She landed on the pavement and suffered head and knee injuries. Her later lawsuit named both the park and ride manufacturer Chance Rides as responsible parties.
- On June 8, 2002, a 9-year-old girl was critically injured when she slipped beneath the restraining bar and fell from the Starfish ride, receiving critical head injuries. Investigators later blamed park employees for incorrectly seating the girl and not having proper signage indicating the proper seating arrangement for a larger and smaller rider.
Animal attacks 
- On January 5, 1996, two trainers were attacked by cougars during an exercise session. One trainer was in the cougar enclosure to take one of the animals for a walk. The cougars, Zuni and Tonto, had been playing among themselves and began aggressively playing with him, causing severe cuts on his face and upper torso. The backup trainer suffered minor cuts and bruises in his attempt to free the other.
- On July 31, 1998, Kuma, a two-year-old Bengal tiger, attacked and seriously injured a guest from San Jose, California, and slightly injured the trainer. The incident happened in a secluded area of the park set up to do private photo sessions with the big cats. The tiger was apparently startled when the guest fell off the photo platform and landed on top of her. The trainer suffered a clawing while trying to free the guest who had received serious injuries to her head and upper torso.
- On June 2, 2004, a 23-year-old African elephant named Misha gored her trainer while in her enclosure as the trainer walked beside her. This was Misha's second aggressive act following a previous swipe at a trainer two years prior.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas 
Guest altercations 
- On July 11, 2007, park employees confronted a 37-year-old man who was acting suspiciously with a video camera. San Antonio police were called, and he was arrested for allegedly secretly videotaping young girls in the water park section. He was charged with improper photography or visual recording, or taping someone without permission to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of a person.
- On August 28, 2010, two people were stuck on the Poltergeist for two hours.
- On June 12, 2007, a 14-year-old girl was paralyzed after she fell into a gap between the roller coaster's cars, landing on a concrete floor about 10 feet (3.0 m) below the platform. Family members stated that she may have fainted due to the heat of the day.
Six Flags Great Adventure 
Batman & Robin: The Chiller 
- On August 18, 2004, lightning hit a power substation near the park, causing the park to lose power. Twenty passengers on The Chiller were left stranded on the ride, approximately 75 feet (23 m) above ground, for 40 minutes. The train's angle was such that eight of those passengers were upside-down. No injuries were reported. Only the Robin ride was operating during this incident.
Rolling Thunder 
- On August 16, 1981, a 20-year-old park employee from Middletown, NJ fell to his death from the Rolling Thunder roller coaster during a routine test run. An investigation by the New Jersey Labor Department concluded that the man may not have secured himself with the safety bar. A park representative later confirmed this conclusion, saying that the employee "may have assumed an unauthorized riding position that did not make use of safety restraints." The ride was inspected, and the Labor Department concluded that the ride was "operationally and mechanically sound."
Haunted Castle 
- On May 11, 1984, eight teenage visitors were trapped and killed when the Haunted Castle attraction was destroyed by fire. Six Flags Great Adventure and its parent company Six Flags were subsequently indicted for aggravated manslaughter, accused of recklessly causing the deaths by taking inadequate precautions against a fire. In the subsequent trial, the prosecution argued that repeated warnings by safety consultants to install sprinklers or smoke alarms had been ignored. The defendants denied any culpability, and contended that the fire was arson and that no precautions would have saved lives. The trial jury found the defendants not guilty.
Lightnin' Loops 
- On June 17, 1987, a 19-year-old girl died after falling from the Lightnin' Loops shuttle loop roller coaster. An investigation by the State Labor Department concluded that the ride itself was operating properly, but that the ride operator started the ride without checking that all of the passengers were securely fastened by the safety harnesses. The Department's Office of Safety Compliance further concluded that the accident would not have occurred if proper procedures had been followed. The park was found to be in violation of the Carnival/Amusement Ride Safety Act and was subsequently charged with the maximum state fines of $1,000.
Guest altercations 
- On April 19, 1987, a gunman fired several shots into a crowd on the plaza inside the main gate, wounding one man and sending panicked guests running for safety. It was the third violent incident of the day, following two earlier unrelated stabbings. The park was evacuated a few minutes after the shooting, about an hour earlier than its scheduled 8:00 p.m. closing time. Park officials modified security after the incident, including adding metal detectors at the park's entrance.
Six Flags Great America 
- Between 2004 and September 2007, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected Six Flags parks five different times and found a total of four violations. On September 10, 2007, OSHA cited Great America with 38 safety violations, alleging "multiple serious and repeat violations at the amusement park, ranging from defective emergency brakes on an industrial truck to a lack of labeling procedures for preventing inadvertent machine start-ups." OSHA fined the park US$117,700.
Cajun Cliffhanger 
- On July 19, 2000, a 12-year-old girl from McHenry, Illinois suffered two crushed toes after the floor of the ride was improperly raised prior to the ride coming to a complete stop. A second guest also had her foot trapped in this accident. The ride was permanently shut down as part of an out-of-court settlement. In the ten years prior to this accident, there were thirteen other reported incidents involving the Cajun Cliffhanger ride, at least six of which involved injuries.
Camp Cartoon Network 
- On August 16, 2006, a 10-year-old girl from Arlington Heights, Illinois collapsed and died after riding rides in the Camp Cartoon Network area. An autopsy showed that she died of a congenital heart condition. Her family says that she had a history of heart trouble.
- On April 18, 1998, 23 riders on the Demon roller coaster were stranded upside-down in the middle of the ride's second vertical loop. Firefighters used a cherry picker to bring riders to safety, although some were on the ride for as long as three hours. The incident was the result of a mechanical failure.
The Edge 
- On May 22, 1984, three unnamed teenage boys were seriously injured when the ride vehicle fell back down the lift shaft.
Hurricane Harbor 
- On June 29, 2005, a 68-year-old guest from Chicago, Illinois had a heart attack, and died in the wave pool.
Ragin' Cajun 
- On May 29, 2004, a 52-year-old ride mechanic from Zion, Illinois was killed by a roller-coaster car as he attempted to cross the tracks. Suffering from a traumatic head injury, he died at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
Raging Bull 
- On May 3, 2003, an 11-year-old girl from Gary, Indiana collapsed after riding the Raging Bull coaster. She died after being taken to the hospital. While initial reports said that she died from choking on taffy she had been eating while on the ride, the coroner's report later stated that she died due to an "enlarged" heart condition, and had been seeing a cardiologist for treatment.
Willard's Whizzer 
- During a 1980 investigation of an accident at the Great America park in California of their Willard's Whizzer coaster, the Consumer Product Safety Commission discovered two incidents at the Illinois park that had not been previously reported: on July 24, 1976, 13 guests were injured; and on August 18, 1976, 18 guests were injured. The CPSC report does not list injury or accident details for either incident.
- On June 25, 1997, a 14-year-old Waukegan boy injured his arm while dangling it outside the car. His limb got caught between the car and the platform as the ride reentered the station and slowed to a stop.
Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom 
Six Flags Magic Mountain 
- There were 109 complaints by Magic Mountain guests due to various incidents, according to the 2006 annual report from the Amusement Safety Organization. Some reports were minor, ranging from nose bleeds and heat exhaustion, to neck and back injuries from various rides. Included in those 109 complaints were 18 reports of people blacking out on the Goliath roller coaster. Other complaints were safety-related, such as notices of ride operators talking on cell phones while operating rides. The same report stated that the state of California received notice of 80 injuries at Magic Mountain between January 2001 - December 2006.
- A 20 year old woman in 1978 fell out of the ride. The lap bar did not lock in place due to the woman's size. One of the old cars has been sent to the Sky Tower.
Eagle's Flight 
- On February 5, 1978, a man was killed after rocking a gondola car on Eagles Flight, El Dorado (Skyride), and it slipped from its cable and fell 50 feet (15 m) to the ground. The man's wife was also seriously injured.
- On June 2, 2001, a 28-year-old woman died of a brain aneurysm while riding Goliath. Her family sued the park, claiming that managers were aware of other complaints from Goliath riders and continued to still operate the coaster anyway.
Hurricane Harbor 
- On September 30, 2012, a 19-year-old man fell from the Venom Drop water slide. According to a spokesperson for the water park, the man cut in line at the slide, fought through the lifeguards and jumped onto the slide head first. The man tumbled onto the slide and slipped over the edge, falling 60 feet onto a fence below the slide tower. The local sheriff's office reported that the man was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
- On August 30, 2008, a 20-year-old man was hospitalized after being hit by the train and knocked unconscious when he allegedly climbed multiple security fences to retrieve a hat. Airlifted to the UCLA Medical Center, he was pronounced dead at 2 AM on the following day, due to blunt force trauma.
- In 1996, a part-time employee was killed while crossing the tracks of the Revolution roller coaster. She was struck by a train full of park visitors as it returned to the station; both passengers and those waiting in line for the ride saw the victim fly into an area beneath the coaster, and she was pronounced dead at the scene from major injuries.
- On April 9, 2004, a 21-year-old employee died after being struck by the roller coaster while underneath the track during a test run prior to the park's opening that day. The roller coaster was allowed to be re-opened the next day after an OSHA inspection found no mechanical issues.
Six Flags New England 
Superman: Ride of Steel 
- On May 1, 2004, a 53-year-old, 230 lb (104.5 kg) man from Bloomfield, Connecticut fell out of his coaster seat during the last turn and was killed. Reports show that the ride attendant had not checked that the guest's ride restraint was secure as his girth was too large for the T-bar-shaped ride restraint to close properly. The victim's family said that due to his various medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, he shouldn't have been allowed to ride. The park stated that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act forbids them from denying a ride to a person with a disability as long as the person can get on the ride by himself.
Houdini's Great Escape 
- On October 9, 2010, Houdini's Great Escape (renamed temporarily to Midnight Mansion), which was available during Fright Fest, suspiciously caught on fire. Firefighters were called to extinguish the flames, but the ride was closed for the rest of the night and the following day. Investigations show that a flammable cobweb hanging on the top of the building was the cause of the fire after coming in close contact with a light fixture. Nearly 20 feet of cobweb burned up, and the building only suffered minor damages to the roof and exterior. No one was injured but damages were estimated at $5,000.
Six Flags New Orleans 
Joker's Jukebox 
On July 10, 2003, a 52-year-old grandmother was strapping her 4-year-old grandson in when the ride started up. She died from blunt-force internal injuries after being struck by a ride vehicle. As of December 22, 2003, no lawsuit had been filed. The park added mirrors to the ride for ride operators to view around the blind spot where the accident occurred, and have added a safety announcement notifying guests that the ride is about to start.
Six Flags Over Georgia 
Batman: The Ride 
- On May 26, 2002, a 58-year-old Six Flags foreman was struck in the head and killed by the dangling legs of a passenger after he wandered into the ride's path after entering a locked, no-access area during the ride's operation. The passenger, a 14-year-old girl, was hospitalized with leg injuries and released.
- On June 28, 2008, a 17-year-old male from Columbia, South Carolina was decapitated by a passing train after he hopped two six-foot fences and entered a restricted area. Initial reports said that the victim was allegedly trying to grab the feet of a rider as the train went by; later reports said that the victim was merely trying to retrieve a hat. Additional eyewitnesses stated that the victim and a companion were trying to take a shortcut back into the park after leaving the park for lunch.
- On July 27, 2006, a 45-year-old male from Birmingham, Alabama died of a heart attack after riding Goliath. He was alert during the ride, but was unconscious when the train arrived at the loading platform. Autopsy showed that the man had a congenital heart condition, and it was expected that the medical examiner would announce that he died of natural causes. Goliath was closed for two hours for an inspection, but was found to be operating normally.
Great Air Racer 
- On May 27, 1984, 34 passengers were injured after a computer malfunction caused the ride's cables to drop the planes out of position.
Mind Bender 
- On June 3, 1984, a mechanical problem caused a train to stop abruptly, causing four people to be hospitalized. The ride was repaired and put back into service with no more problems.
- In May 2009, four children became ill when the attraction failed to stop at the end of its cycle. After returning to a horizontal position, a limit switch failed and the ride continued to spin for five to ten minutes. The park's first-aid staff treated the children, while one was transported to an area hospital by his parents; the child was not admitted, however. An investigation determined that the ride operator did not engage an emergency stop switch due to a miscommunication between her and her supervisor; the park's ride operators are trained in how to stop their rides in the event of a malfunction. Since then, additional safety features have been added to ensure that the attraction automatically stops within 15 seconds if the limit switch were to fail.
- On July 18, 1989, an 11-year-old boy from Talladega, Alabama became unconscious while riding Z-Force. Park staff performed CPR, but the victim was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital. An autopsy failed to pinpoint the cause of death.
Six Flags St. Louis 
River King Mine Train / Rail Blazer 
- In July 1984, a 46-year-old woman was riding the Rail Blazer roller coaster when she was flung from the ride and fell 20 feet (6.1 m) to her death. Park officials claimed that the woman fainted and fell out of the car, but her husband, who had been beside her, said that she had not fainted but had simply been tossed from the ride when it whipped around a curve. At the time, the ride was only the third stand-up roller coaster in the world, but following this incident it was converted back to a sit-down coaster.
- On July 26, 1978, three people died when their gondola fell from the cable.
Six Flags Over Texas 
Texas Tornado 
- On March 12, 2006, ten people suffered minor injuries when the Texas Tornado, a Chance Rides Manufacturing "Yo-Yo" attraction, was brought to an abrupt stop and several swing seats collided with each other. Five people were sent to the hospital after complaints of back pain, the others were treated at the on-site first aid station. In October 2008, Chance recalled 85 Yo-Yo rides to repair defects that were found in this accident and one other.
Roaring Rapids 
- On March 21, 1999, a 28-year-old woman died, and 10 other guests were injured, when the raft they were on overturned in 2–3 feet of water due to sudden deflation of the air chambers that support the raft. The raft then got caught on an underwater pipe, which provided leverage for the rushing water in the ride to flip the boat over. In a subsequent settlement, Six Flags agreed to pay US$4 million to the victim's family, and the company would join the family in a lawsuit against Canyon Manufacturing Co., the company responsible for parts that were related to the accident.
Six Flags White Water 
- On July 11, 2010, a fire broke out in a maintenance building during operating hours, forcing the evacuation and closure of the park. The fire was contained to a single building, located adjacent to the park's wave pool and used principally for storage. Spokespeople for the water park and for the Cobb County fire department noted that everyone was evacuated safely and that there were no reported injuries. The park re-opened two days later on July 13 after crews had sealed off the damaged area caused by the fire.
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