Thrills and danger can be two sides of the same coin. Roller coasters are a prime example of this dynamic. The fears of safety bars failing, cars flying off of the track, or support beams collapsing may pop up even as riders strap in and grin with anticipation. Fortunately, roller-coaster accidents are relatively rare. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the likelihood of dying on a roller coaster is one in 750 million. However, it’s important to be mindful of where the risks are and the actions you can take if you are injured at an amusement park.
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What Is the Worst Roller-Coaster Accident in History?
Worldwide, the worst roller-coaster accident was a derailment in 1972 at an amusement park in London that killed five children. But the deadliest roller-coaster accident in America is believed to have occurred at Krug Park in Omaha, Nebraska, on July 24, 1930. The Big Dipper roller coaster fell 35 feet to the ground, killing four people and injuring 17. A bolt came loose, which caused the brake shoe of the lead car to get caught in the rear wheels. This triggered a chain reaction of events that led all four cars to plunge 35 feet off the side of the roller-coaster frame. Three of the cars overturned, pinning riders underneath. The devastating malfunction was blamed on poor upkeep and maintenance.
What Amusement Park Has Had the Most Deaths?
Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey, is known as the most dangerous and deadly amusement park in U.S. history. This park had its heyday from the 1980s to the 1990s, and many of those who experienced it firsthand have scars to show for it. It was notorious for the abundance of bloody noses, broken bones, chipped teeth, bruises, and concussions that occurred there. In just 1984 and 1985, at least 14 broken bones and 26 head injuries were reported. In fact, Action Park bought the town new ambulances to handle the frequent trips to hospitals.
Six people are believed to have passed away due to their visits to Action Park. Here is a closer look at Action Park deaths:
- On July 9, 1980, a 19-year-old employee was riding down the Alpine slide when his car jumped the track, causing his head to strike a rock.
- On July 24, 1982, a 15-year-old boy drowned in the tidal wave pool.
- On Aug. 1, 1982, a 27-year-old man exited his tipped kayak to upright it. He stepped on a grate that was too close to a section of live wiring meant for underwater fans. He suffered a severe electric shock.
- In 1984, a visitor suffered a fatal heart attack that was unofficially believed to have been triggered by suddenly plunging into cold water beneath the Tarzan Swing.
- On Aug. 27, 1984, a 20-year-old drowned in the tidal wave pool.
- On July 19, 1987, an 18-year-old drowned in the tidal wave pool.
What Is the Most Dangerous Roller Coaster in America?
The most dangerous roller coaster in America is considered by many to be Kingda Ka, a steel launched coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. Kingda Ka is the tallest roller coaster in the world. It has the capability to launch its cars at 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. It reaches a max height of 456 feet before plummeting 418 feet and completing the course in just 28 seconds. Despite its extreme nature, only one incident has occurred on this ride. On July 26, 2012, a young boy was hospitalized after minor injuries from being struck by a bird during the ride.