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+---Topic: Disney: BTM Death due to incorrect maintenance started by RichKoster

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 3:58 am/pm

11 Hurt on DL's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

From Various News Reports

September 5, 2003, 3:38 PM EDT

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A locomotive broke loose from a roller coaster "train" on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction today, injuring at least 11 people.

Police Sgt. Rick Martinez said additional information wasn't immediately available.

Disneyland spokeswoman Ruthy Flores said the roller coaster accident occurred at 11:20 a.m.

TV helicopters showed a triage unit set up near the ride and one person being wheeled to an ambulance on a stretcher.

Posted by: Goofyteer on Sep. 05, 2003 4:06 am/pm


I'll keep them in prayer.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 4:09 am/pm

One Guest Critically Injured

Among the 11 injured riders, one was critically injured, according to police and hospital officials.

"We have one critical injury that has arrived here, and five people that are on the way," said Kim Pine, spokeswoman for the University of California Irvine Medical Center, located in Orange, California.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 4:11 am/pm

Here's's < Big Thunder Mountain Railroad page >.
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 4:13 am/pm

"We have a total of 11 injuries and in varying degrees," Anaheim official John Nicoletti said. "The ride has been stabilised." Fire, police and theme park officials were at the scene, he said.

"At this point, all I can confirm is that there was a derailment of one of the cars," he said.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 4:35 am/pm

These URLs go to Los Angeles TV stations that have some pictures on their news department WWW sites.  Please know that as a day or two from today (9/5/03) passes these links may change with the news of the day and the pictures will no longer appear.  NBC's local affiliate seems to be the best as of mid-afternoon Central Daylight Time.  If the links don't work try copy and paste into your browser:

< >
< >
< >

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 5:00 am/pm

FOX News WWW site and Los Angeles Times WWW site report 1 dead, 10 injured in that accident, but this will require more confirmation as of 4 pm Central Daylight Time.
Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 5:05 am/pm

One person was killed and 10 others were injured, officials said. The fatality was an adult male, said city spokesman John Nicoletti.

Disneyland spokesman Joe Aguirre said the ride is computer operated, opened in 1979 and is newer than the Space Mountain attraction, which opened in 1977, and Matterhorn Bobsleds, which debuted in 1959.

An injured person is put into an ambulance after a ride accident.
From CNN

Big Thunder Mountain railroad rollercoaster car at rest after a derailment caused injuries at the park.

Overhead shot of the ride.

Another aerial view of the ride.

Police and medical officials at the scene.

A triage was set up to assist the injured.

Police and park officials have closed off entry to the ride.
Above 6 photos from

A triage unit was set up near the ride and one person was wheeled to an ambulance on a stretcher.
Above photo from KABC-TV

All photos' copyrights belong to their respective news organizations and are presented here for news archival purposes.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 5:11 am/pm

Carol and I join all the others who are praying and sending thoughts of condolences along to all those involved.
Posted by: Tigger58 on Sep. 05, 2003 5:13 am/pm

SO SAD!   :(
Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 5:20 am/pm

Lots of talk about Disneyland in recent years, mostly critical of too little money spent on park and attraction maintanance and upkeep and too little spent to create high quality E-ticketesque new attractions, shows and the second gate, Disney's California Adventure.  This tragedy is further grist for that mill.
Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 5:50 am/pm

Quoting Associated Press as appearing on FOX News WWW site:
Man Killed on Disneyland Roller Coaster
Friday , September 05, 2003

ANAHEIM, Calif.  — A locomotive broke loose from a train on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster attraction Friday, killing a man and injuring 10 other riders, officials said.

The man died inside the ride and his body remained there for the investigation, said city spokesman John Nicoletti. No information about his identity was immediately released.

The injured ranged in age from 9 to 47, he said. One had moderate injuries and the other cases were considered minor. Six were taken to the University of California Irvine Medical Center, two were taken to Westerm Medical Center and two were treated at the scene and released.

"On behalf of the entire cast of the Disneyland Resort we are shocked and saddend," said Cynthia Harris, president of Disneyland Resort.

The accident occurred inside a tunnel section of the ride, said police Sgt. Rick Martinez. What exactly happened was not known.

"At this point it appears to be a tragic accident," Martinez said.

The ride is designed to look like an old fashioned locomotive pulling cars, which can hold as many as 32 people. The ride operator is not aboard the train.

The accident was reported at 11:22 a.m. and firefighters arrived in two minutes, officials said.

The roller coaster takes amusement park visitors on a twisting, turning ride aboard what is supposed to be a runaway train in the Old West. Riders zoom through mineshafts and caverns, past falling rocks and tumbling waterfalls.

The ride is computer operated, said Joe Aguirre, a park spokesman. It opened in 1979 and is newer than the Space Mountain attraction, which opened in 1977, and Matterhorn Bobsleds, which debuted in 1959.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 6:04 am/pm

Mouse Planet is a Disney fan site with a leaning to Disneyland news as well as generally about Disney.  One of their site's contributors was at DL when the accident happened and has photos uploaded and an official statement from Cynthia Harris, president of Disneyland Resort.

< >

And look for headlines about the accident.  May be slow going the day of the accident (9/5/03) due to heavy traffic volume on the site slowing their servers down.  It's been hard to log onto Laughing Place

< >

this afternoon as well since that Disney fan site also has a specialty section about Disneyland.  Due to Disney fans who love and care about Disneyland having strong opinions, should you visit Mouse Planet's or Laughing Place's discussion forums simply realize they are discussing and what they say cannot be construed as total factual truth since emotion and opinion factor into what they say.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 6:28 am/pm

Mouse Planet quotes a lady who's child was seriously injured in a theme park accident and who turned her family's incident into advocating for theme park and amusement park safety.  Some media outlets would follow-up in this tragic Disneyland news today with a series of tips for "how to stay safe", although this is an accident and no one knows yet how it happened and it's still too early to cite a specific cause.  In any case, here's the site:

< >

If there's anything there that can assist you or your family in having a good safe time at a Disney theme park, do take what you can use from this site.  Common sense says do please listen and heed all "spiels" the Cast Members (Disney theme park employees) tell you from microphones and be that extra layer of protection for children too young to heed and obey the "spiels" on their own.  From observation I would add try not to be so engrossed in absorbing the visual or aural atmosphere of a Disney park or any amusement park that you do not pay attention to your own safety or your party's safety at all times, or your whereabouts or your party members' whereabouts or where arms and legs are or are supposed to be.  Most accidents, injuries, minor injuries and scrapes and lost people or belongings (lost belongings mostly due to forgetfulness, absent-mindedness) would be prevented just by those two ideas being followed.    

Of course if this tragedy were caused by a Disney employee's human error or mechanical failure there's no predicting that on the part of park guests.  One just prays a lot if you are into prayer or hopes a lot if you are not into prayer that everything goes well for your own visit.  You can't live life in a bubble.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 6:49 am/pm

There's supposed to be a news conference about the accident between 4-4:30 pm Pacific Daylight Time (means 6-6:30 pm Central Daylight Time, 7-7:30 pm Eastern).  

I got through to Mouse Planet's Disneyland discussion board and found a thread about the accident.  One thing the writers point out on that discussion forum is that this weekend, September 6-7, is supposed to be a big promotional weekend at the Disneyland Resort promoting ABC-TV's fall line up of returning and premiering prime time shows.  That event I think was mainly to be at Disney's California Adventure.  No news yet if that event was postponed or cancelled or will proceed as planned.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 7:22 am/pm

Frontierland closed from New Orleans Square and beyond, so Tom Sawyer Island, the Mark Twain riverboat, and the canoes are closed. Reports are that some Cast Members guarding the closed areas told Guests “there's a problem with the riverboats” when they were asked what was going on.

Reports are that Disneyland Security is approaching persons who appear to be reporters or news photographers, and asking them to leave the premises. Other reports are that Cast Members are looking for witnesses to the incident.

Cynthia Harriss was seen in that area of Disneyland after the accident, as was Michael Eisner. Although Eisner had a room reserved at the Disneyland Resort's Grand Californian Resort for that weekend's ABC Primetime Weekend event, he was still in Burbank at the time of the accident. (So despite what Al Lutz says, Eisner actually did come down early to get to Disneyland because of the accident. )

The are unconfirmed reports are that cast members who were in Frontierland were given lunch at the Golden Horseshoe Theater, perhpas as a way to provide keep them informed of developments.

The Los Angeles Times reports more details about the incident at Disneyland today. According to the newspaper, the ride's red engine separated from its five open-top cars in the ride's tunnel and may have derailed. Another report says the engine parted from the train as it headed up the incline. The train rolled back down the grade and into a dark tunnel, where it stopped and riders were temporarily trapped. The article reports that the fatality is a man who went into cardiac arrest and was transported to UCI-Medical.

Authorities said one person was fatally injured and riders were trapped for up to an hour inside the tunnel before firefighters and paramedics could get them out and into awaiting ambulances.

Another man who was critically injured has since been upgraded to serious condition, suffered facial injuries. This is according to hospital spokesman Marci Dodson. Doctors at UCI-Medical were evaluating him for chest injuries as well.

The UCI-Medical Center has released the identities of the injured from today's accident at Disneyland. According to hospital spokesman Marci Dodson, the man who was admitted in critical condition, which was later changed to serious condition, is:
  • Vicente Gutierrez: 22 from Wilmington, California, about 25 miles from Disneyland.
Gutierrez suffered facial injuries, a broken collarbone, and rib fractures. His injuries are serious, but he was awake and alert. He has since been released.

The five others admitted for minor injuries are:
  • William Smith: 47, from North Hills, California, about 55 miles from Disneyland, treated at UCI Medical Center and released.
  • Teresa Smith: 37, William's wife -- also from North Hills, California, treated at UCI Medical Center and released.
  • Debra Guerrero: 44, from San Diego, treated at UCI Medical Center for chest injury and released.
  • Christopher: 15, Debra's son, treated at UCI Medical Center and released.
  • Adrian: 9, Debra's nephew, treated at UCI Medical Center and released.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 7:30 am/pm

Official Disneyland Statement
Cynthia Harris, president of Disneyland Resorts, confirms the death of a man at Disneyland Friday at a news conference in Anaheim.

Source: AP. Presented here for news archive purposes. Copyright: AP

By Cynthia Harriss
Disneyland Resort President
Friday, September 5, 2003

The tragic incident occurred at approximately 11:30 this morning on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. There was one death and 11 people injured and taken to various local hospitals. Anaheim Fire Department, Anaheim Police Department and Department of Occupation, Safety and Health are all on the scene and we are closely working with the authorities to investigate the incident. Meanwhile, the attraction is closed.

On behalf of the entire Cast of the Disneyland Resort we are shocked and saddened by this morning's incident. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of those involved.

More developments will be released as they become available.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 7:39 am/pm

Sgt. Rick Martinez
Anaheim Police Department

Anaheim police sergeant Rick Martinez told reporters that "at this point we don't believe sabotage was involved, but we are going to look at everything."

Authorities set up a treatment area near the River Belle Terrace, a restaurant not far from the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain. The scene was chaotic as riders fled from the train and called for help.

Two of the injured were treated at the scene, said John Nicoletti, a spokesman for the city of Anaheim.

Although the Big Thunder trains can hold up to 32 riders, officials were uncertain today how many were aboard the train in question. Nicoletti said many of the riders fled on their own from the tunnel.

Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez said the scene was chaotic when police and firefighters first arrived. "There was a quite a bit of action taking place to take care of the victims," he said.

The death was the first fatality at Disneyland since 1998, when a cleat tore loose aboard the Columbia sailing ship and struck a visitor in the head. Today's fatality reportedly brings to 10 the number of people killed in the amusement park since it opened in 1955.

Posted by: andymattmom on Sep. 05, 2003 8:08 am/pm

Thanks for taking the time to put out all the info.  I tried to catch it on the news, but have missed it.  I learned more here than I did on YAHOO news.  

I didn't realize there had been so many accidents at Disneyland in recent years.  

Any place to find out the number at Disney World?

In a way I am glad Big Thunder is closed when we go in 2 weeks!

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 8:11 am/pm

At this point it isn't known how long Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction will remain closed while they investigate the fatal accident.

The other version of the ride in the U.S., Walt Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction in the Magic Kingdom, has been closed for refurbishment since August 24th of this year. That Florida ride was expected to have its rehab last through November 22, 2003, but I wonder if that might be delayed if any structural or design problems are detected in the Disneyland version of the ride which might also be present in the WDW version.

UPDATE: Tokyo Disneyland closed their version of BTMRR as a precaution Saturday morning.

Disneyland Paris's version is different than the other BTMRR attractions and remains open.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 8:30 am/pm

Quoting a Reuters news story from CBS WWW site, includes Disney stock price:

DIS 21.19 -0.27 -1.26% Vol:7,479,100 4:00pm 09/05/03
After Hours 20.66 -0.53 -2.50% Vol:284,300 Last:5:58pm 09/05/03  

UPDATE 2-Disneyland roller coaster derails, one dead
9/5/2003 6:47:39 PM

(Updates with death, adds details throughout)

LOS ANGELES, Sept 5 (Reuters) - A roller coaster derailed at Southern California's Disneyland theme park on Friday, killing one man and injuring 10 other people, including a 9-year-old, officials said.

The locomotive on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction left the tracks while the train went through a dark tunnel about 11:20 a.m. (2:20 p.m. EDT, 1820 GMT), said officials in Anaheim, California, where the park is located.

An adult man in the first passenger car of the roller coaster was found dead at the scene by emergency workers. Disney shut down the ride, and the area was still cordoned off in the afternoon while the coroner examined the body.

John Nicoletti
"The locomotive itself disconnected from the passenger cars. How it was disconnected or became disconnected we are not sure at this point," Anaheim spokesman John Nicoletti said in a televised news conference.

Los Angeles television station KCAL 9 said the injured riders ranged in age from 9 to 47 years old. Eight of the passengers were taken to hospitals, including four males and four females.

Some passengers left the ride immediately after the accident, and it was not clear how many had been on board, Nicoletti said.

"We are shocked and saddened by this morning's incident. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of those involved," said Cynthia Harris, president of Disneyland, which is owned by Walt Disney Co. (DIS) , the largest theme park operator in the world.

"At this point we don't believe sabotage was involved, but we are going to look at everything," Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez told reporters in televised remarks.

Disney last year named a new executive to oversee safety and released a report on efforts to improve safety at the parks, prompted by public concerns in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Disneyland had an estimated 12.7 million visitors in 2002.

Past accidents at Disney parks include the apparent drowning at Disney World in Florida in April 2002 of a man who reportedly jumped out of a tower and fell into a lagoon, and the 1998 death of a 33-year-old man at Disneyland who was struck by a metal cleat at a dock at the Columbia ship attraction.

A 4-year-old boy was critically injured after being trapped underneath a car in the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin in September 2000 at Disneyland.

Also a Utah couple sued Disneyland, saying they had been injured in summer 2000 on the Space Mountain roller coaster when their car derailed during an emergency stop.

© Reuters 2003. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

End of quoted material.

The executive is Jay Rasulo, promoted from President of Disneyland Paris Resort to being the chief in charge of all Disney theme park resorts in the world.  Rasulo replaced Paul Pressler last year when Pressler went on to become CEO of The Gap chain of retail apparel stores.

Disneyland in two years will celebrate it's 50th year (July 17, 1955-2005).  Space Mountain there is down for major reconstruction and rehab, some other "E-ticket"-type rides are also either under rehab or about to be under rehab (maintanance and repair).  This accident will likely close this attraction for an undetermined length of time during the investigation into what happened.  When closed, the ride and attraction capacity will be reduced at DL park, in other words less for park guests to experience while there vs. the cost of their admission ticket.  National cable news networks this evening were covering the news only via "crawls" in the lowest portion of the screen along with other news or by "voice-over" short news stories read live with a few bits of video to accompany the words.

And when I finally got through to Laughing Place and Mouse Planet I discovered that Disney Echo was keeping up with them with posting what news was available to provide Rich's site's readers.  

My prayer is for the repose of the soul of the man who died at the scene, healing and comfort for those who are injured and for their families, and for a swift answer to why this happened, and quick, sober and responsible repair, updating and maintanance of this Disneyland attraction and all Disney theme park attractions in the world so this terrible tragedy never happens again.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 8:46 am/pm

People posting on Laughing Place said the news conference went on within this hour that I'm posting this, early evening 9/5/03.  Jay Rasulo and Disney CEO Michael Eisner were there.  Rasulo said the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction at Disneyland would be closed 'indefinitely'.  Maybe Rich can find a comprehensive news story about what was said at the news conference, I missed it.
Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 8:51 am/pm

Quoting from the NBC affiliate's WWW site in Los Angeles, a list of others injured at Disneyland in recent years:

Other recent accidents at Disneyland:

--Early 1998: David Fackler, 5, of San Diego lost part of his left foot in an accident on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

--Dec. 24, 1998: Luan Phi Dawson 33, of Duvall, Wash., was killed when a chunk of metal ripped from the dock used by the sailing ship Columbia. His wife's face was shattered by the 9-pound cleat and employee Christine Carpenter was injured.

--July 31, 2000: Nine people were injured on the Space Mountain roller coaster when a wheel assembly broke on one of the cars, causing it to derail.

--Sept. 22, 2000: Brandon Zucker, 4, of Santa Clarita, was critically injured when he was trapped underneath a car in the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin.

--Jan. 21, 2001: A 6-year-old girl had part of a left finger pulled off when it caught in a toy rifle on Tom Sawyer Island. The toy guns since have been removed.

--Jan 30, 2001: Aboard the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, a 33-year-old mother and her 16-month-old daughter fell backward, injuring the woman's head and neck. Operator error caused the ride to stop, then lurch forward abruptly.

--May 4, 2001: A giant tree toppled in Frontierland, injuring 27 visitors and two workers.

--December 2001: An Arizona teen broke his foot and leg on the Alice in Wonderland ride when the 15-year-old's foot was caught between a guard rail and car.

Cal-OSHA and Anaheim police are investigating the accident.

End of quoted material.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 9:00 am/pm

You know who I bet is hurting?  Tony Baxter, the Walt Disney Imagineer who helped design Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the first place, and all the team who designed that attraction and participated in porting it over to other Disney theme parks in the world.  What must be going through their minds right now?  (Not blaming him or anyone else, please understand, only that his name comes to mind in this context and he is being thought of.)
Posted by: bishopsnet on Sep. 05, 2003 9:03 am/pm

Here is the news cast from Yahoo. < Yahoo News >
Also, I just heard the news. Apparently they don't know what caused the accident because the train derailed inside one of the tunnels. The man that died was in the first car behind the Locomotive. Some of the cars derailed and some of the cars did not.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 9:41 am/pm

Thanks, Pete/bishopsnet, for posting the link.  Was the first time I've seen Michael Eisner's face during this day, and that's a very grim looking face indeed.  I hope somehow that Disney spends the money to fix that attraction the right way the first time, or otherwise accomplishes whatever repairs or reforms necessary.  And that they take a good look at all other Disney theme park attractions and do what it takes, the right way the first time, to keep them all in good repair and maintained and attractive looking, too, while they're at it.  We're riding these things with our children.  We are someone else's children or dear relative.  Disney is and should be a happy place, a safe place, a carefree place.  That's why I want to buy and utilize a ticket.  As they used to say on the TV show "Star Trek:  The Next Generation":  Make it so.
Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 9:50 am/pm

Michael Eisner on KABC News' WWW site (link may go away in a day or two):

< >

And quoting from KNBC-TV News WWW site coverage, quoting the site quoting Michael Eisner:

"Our hearts and prayers go out to those injured and to the family of the deceased," said Michael Eisner, chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., who came to the park and told reporters that the organization was committed to guest safety.

"We are working very closely with local and state authorities to gather the facts and determine the cause of this accident as quickly as possible," Eisner said.

End quoted material.

And it's possible to see what Rich and I (he works in TV, I used to) would call a 'live shot package' from the early evening news on KCBS-TV Los Angeles.  OK, you go to the site below, and on the lower half of the home page you'll see a "Video" list of stuff you can have replayed for you.  Select "Accident on Disneyland ride leaves man dead, ten people hurt" and click on it.  Be patient not just while it loads, but also with the lipstick commercial you see while the story is loading.  Then the story will play from their newscast earlier this evening, apparently _before_ the Michael Eisner-Jay Rasulo news conference took place, but still if anyone missed the local TV station version of coverage it's a chance to see it.

< >

Getting this much news, keeping up with it, and even referring others to a video replay is something we'd never think would happen in Disney cyberspace when Rich and I first began reading the Disney Echo on Fidonet in the early '90s.  Amazing!

There is a phone number to call to check that loved ones of yours who may have visited Disneyland today (9/5/03) are safe or not (please use the number maturely and responsibly, if you know someone is safe don't call it, and please don't make prank phone calls to it):  1-800-642-5399

CNN's WWW site has video that can be played, but our computer for some reason won't play it (but let the CBS affiliate's web site play their video, oh well)....maybe you'll have better luck, site has a news story and video links:

< >

I just tried at Disney's own WWW site, no press releases that I could find about this incident over there.

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 10:34 am/pm

Here's  a report by < Lani Teshima and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, mouseplanet staff writers >:

In a press conference held at approximately 4:45 p.m. today, City of Anaheim spokesman John Nicoletti assured the media that those victims transported to area hospitals have had the opportunity to phone their families; there should be nobody who has to call the park to see if their family was involved, except for the family members of the deceased.

Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Disney Company expresses his condolences to the family of the man who was killed, and the families of the persons injured in a ride accident in Disneyland Friday, Sept. 5,. 5, 2003, during a news conference at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. A locomotive broke loose from a train on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster Friday, killing a man and injuring 10 other riders.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) Presented here for archival news purposes.

Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner was also at the press conference, and said he went to Disneyland today to lend his support to cast members and to offer his condolences to the families of the victims of today's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad accident.

“For 50 years the safety and well-being of our theme park guests and employees has been and will continue to be top priority,” Eisner said in a press conference held an hour ago at the Team Disney Anaheim building adjacent to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Eisner said that because the name of the deceased has not been released and the family has not yet been notified, he has not been able to meet with them.

When asked whether Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and other coaster attractions are regularly inspected, Rasulo said every attraction is inspected every morning. When asked about the nature of the inspections (for example, whether it involve walking the track or manually verifying that pieces were not loose) Rasulo would not specify, except to say, “We have a systematic approach to maintenance and safety.”

When asked if the park atractions have triggers to engage emergency stops in the event of a malfunction, Rasulo said all of the attractions have triggers.

Rasulo did not comment on questions regarding any previous accidents or malfunctions on Big Thunder. He said that the question was inappropriate because this accident was not comparable to anything that may have happened in the past.

Rasulo said that their first priority is to take care of the guests of the park, the families of the victims, and the cast members who have been affected by this accident. Disney is taking care of their medical care, as well as counseling and whatever services they may need.

Disney is fully cooperating with the Anaheim Police Department and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health who are currently on the scene.

Both Anaheim Police and the Anaheim Fire Department have secured the location, and Rasulo said that Disneyland's technical staff has not yet been allowed on the scene of their accident to conduct their own investigation.

Asked if any other rides were being investigated, Rasulo said that it would be too soon to do that because it would be premature. In addition, we do not know if this would include the Big Thunder rides in the other Disney parks. Big Thunder is one of the attractions that was built on all four Disney parks (California, as well as Florida, Paris, and Tokyo).

Rasulo, who said he has been on the ride in the past three months, does not know how long the attraction will be closed. “We will not rest until we have the facts,” he said. Eisner did not respond to the same question, although he did go on Big Thunder multiple times to film a segment for a previous TV commercial promoting California after the 9/11 terror attacks.

When asked exactly where the accident took place, Rasulo would only comment that it happened on the track, and not on the loading area.

John Nicoletti, spokesman for the City of Anaheim, also at the press conference, said it happened in a tunnel, but could not specify which one. The speculation among those close to the park, however, is that the engine disconnected while it was going up the final lift tunnel on the ride, where the fake rock slide is. Those who have been on the ride will probably understand that this is the steepest portion of the ride.

The popular ride, which goes 28 miles an hour, has a maximum capacity of 32. Nicoletti did not know exactly how many people were on the particular ride at the time of the accident, noting that some of the guests evacuated on their own.

Nicoletti said that there were 10 injuries and one fatality, not 11 injuries and one fatality as reported by some media outlets earlier. In addition, an earlier rumor speculating that the victim was thrown from the vehicle is untrue.

Of the 10, two were treated on scene, and eight were transported to either Western Medical Center in Anaheim or UCI Medical Center.

Nicoletti said that the deceased was an adult male who was sitting in the front car of the ride, but they have not determined whether he was in the front or second row. When paramedics arrived, they attempted to resuscitate him, but he died on the scene.

The body was left on the scene for four or five hours until two Anaheim Fire Department firefighters could extract his body.

The county coroner has taken custody of the body, but no details have been released, including his age, where he is from, or whether his family members had been contacted.

According to Nicoletti, officials have begun Phase I of the investigation, which includes Anaheim PD and DOSH. Anaheim PD is investigating this as a public accident, while OSHA is investigating this as an industrial accident. Once the two organizations have completed their initial investigation, then Disney will be included and they will work hand in hand until the investigation is over.

Currently, the locomotive is partially separated from the rest of the vehicle and is partially derailed. The pasenger car is on the track.

Note: Professional photographers on the scene were threatened with eviction and film confiscation.

Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 05, 2003 10:49 am/pm

This WWW site clears up "Urban Legends", has already been updated with news of the death of a man at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland 9/5/03:

< >

Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 06, 2003 2:29 am/pm

City of Anaheim press conference: 2:30 pm 9/5/03

According a City of Anaheim spokesperson at a 2:30 pm press conference, the man who died in the accident was not thrown from the vehicle and there also isn't any indication that he had a heart attack. Some media stories earlier in the day had reported both of those happenings in error. The male victim did die on the scene and he was not transported to the hospital.

Michael Eisner - Jay Rasulo news conference: 5:15 pm 9/5/03

Here is a partial transcript (the first few words said by Michael Eisner were missed) from < > of the press conference given by Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Jay Rasulo, President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts:  

    Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Disney Company expresses his condolences to the family of the man who was killed, and the families of the persons injured in a ride accident in Disneyland Friday, Sept. 5,. 5, 2003, during a news conference at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. A locomotive broke loose from a train on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster Friday, killing a man and injuring 10 other riders.
    (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) Presented here for archival news purposes.
    Michael Eisner: ... are deeply saddened by today's accident. Our hearts and prayers go out to those injured and the family of the deceased. Over the last 50 years the safety and well being of our theme parks guests and employees has been and continues to be  our top priority. We are working very closely with local and state authorities to gather the facts and determine the cause of this accident as quickly as possible. I came down to Disneyland specifically to lend my support to our cast, to express condolences to those people that are injured, to the family of the deceased, and commit that this company will continue on its mission of guest safety and guest satisfaction. And I'd like to introduce Jay Rasulo whom I just described as the President of our Theme Parks and Resorts who will fill you in more as to what we now know.

    Jay Rasulo: Thank you Michel. The parks and resorts family is deeply saddened by this tragic event. Obviously our first concern is the care of everyone whose been affected by this tragedy - Cast Members as well as guests. As Michel says, our top concern remains the safety and security of our guests in our theme parks.

    Let me tell you that every attraction at Disneyland is inspected every morning before any guest rides any of the attractions. We take a systematic approach to maintenance, a systematic approach to the safety of our guests at any and all times when they're in our parks.

    Let me tell you a little bit about what's happening right now. Firstly, our first priority is the guests who are injured as well as their families and Cast Members who are also deeply affected by an occurrence like this. We are providing them and supporting them in every way. Helping them along with their medical care, counseling, providing the resources that they need in this very troubled time for them. There are many many questions coming into the phones at Disneyland, both Cast Members and guests concerned about family and friends that were here. Let me give you a 24 hour hotline number that everyone can call. It's 800-642-5399. And that hotline has all information about park hours, about what will happen tomorrow, what's happening right now, all the information that we have available to us.

    As far as the accident scene is concerned, state and local investators have been diligently on this job, on the investigation since about 11:30 this morning. They of course work in great cooperation with us. We have not had the opportunity to get in with our own staff and technical staff to make a full investigation of what has gone on. Of course we are as anxious as anyone, as anxious as all of you to understand the details of what happened, the root causes, and to get to the bottom of what happened this morning. We will not rest until we have the facts regarding this matter. The attraction will remain closed indefinitely. And if you wish, at this point, I'll take your questions.

    Question: How thorough was that inspection? Did they walk the track, etc.

    Rasulo: As I said our approach to maintenance is quite systematic. Every attraction including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is inspected every morning before guests arrive.

    Question: What does it mean to inspect? Does it mean the cars are run through? Exactly what does it mean to inspect?

    Rasulo: Yes, we run of course all the cars through and do a systematic inspection plan according to a schedule, the details of which - as we get into this investigation I think we need to look at what exactly the details are of that. But we do do inspections every day of every attractions.

    Question: Can you explain was it one car that derailed in this accident. Do you know?

    Rasulo: You know we don't know exactly what's happened yet. Obviously, as I mentioned we are in cooperation with the public authorities in the review of what exactly happened. We don't have all the details. I think it would be premature and irresponsible to give you an answer to that question until we know the facts.

    Question: Do you have any indication of that last timee that you did a full inspection of the ride. Where you literally stopped, looked down, walked every inch, looked everything over?

    Rasulo: A question like that and the answer to it are really part of a holistic overall investigation and I won't answer the detail to that right now.

    Question: Do you how many times the attraction ran this morning prior to the accident?

    Rasulo: No I do not.

    Question: Does the ride have a mechanism so that it will stop if it is having problems?

    Rasulo: You know, all of the attractions of course have very technical and scientific braking systems and stopping systems. Part of our ongoing investigation of this situation, of course, and how that played into the today's accident will unfold as we get into the investigation.

    Question: But is there an automatic stop for this ride that triggers when there is a malfunction or it senses there is a problem?

    Rasulo: All of our attractions have triggers that sense things that are not proper as the ride progresses through its cycle. Again, I'll just come back and say relative to this situation, I think we'll understand that better when we actually get in and start looking at what happened.

    Question: We know there have been prior accidents on this ride. It has malfunctioned before...

    Rasulo: I think comparing the incident of this morning which we don't really know all the details of to anything else that's happened in the past is probably premature. So I won't get into that.

    Question: Can you describe for us if you have seen the ride today. Where the locomotive is at this moment and where the other cars are.

    Rasulo: I have personally not seen that. The scene of the accident was secured for investigation purposes by our colleagues and friends at the Anaheim Police Department as well as the Fire Department. And as we get into the investigation we'll understand that better. I don't want to answer that question because it's premature and I don't know the exact answer.

    Question: Do you now where the accident happened on this ride. We were told a tunnel. Was at the beginning of the ride, the end of the ride...

    Rasulo: It did not happen in the load area. It happened somewhere along the track. I can only repeat that we have not been inside the attraction to see exactly where this occurred.  So let's let the investigation unfold so we can answer that question correctly.

    Question: Can you tell us anymore about the victim? Was he here with his family, etc...

    Rasulo: We don't have too many details. As you know, we are not at liberty to discuss that. That's a better question for the city of Anaheim and the Police Department. At the appropriate time I'm sure they will make all that information available.

    Question:  What are the speeds that this railroad reaches?

    Rasulo: Well there are various speeds within the attraction as you can imagine. I believe the top speed of this attraction is about 28 mph, but that's a detail we can get further information on.

    Question: What is the actual sequence of the investiation? When you say it has been shut down while officials are looking at it, when they finish up are your people literrally going to work hand-in-hand with Anaheim, Cal-OSHA and say 'let's go over it step-by-step' and when do you expect to be able to have access to it? The next 24 hours? 36 hours?

    Rasulo: I think your question details the process quite well. We work in close cooperation with the California Dept of Safety and Health as well as the authorities here in Anaheim in any investigation, this one included, and progressively that core team of people from inside of our organization as well as the city and OSHA will conduct that investigation. I don't want to give you the details and timeline of that because they're not completely evident to me at this moment.

    Question: Can you tell us about the safety record of that attraction?

    Rasulo: As I said, we have a very systematic approach to our maintenance and safety. We entertain millions of guests every year here and around the world in a very safe environment. And as I said any comparison to the history for this attraction really is premature and, I think, a little irresponsible at this point.

    Question: In light of what happened here, has this triggered you to take a closer look at some of the other rides, similar rides, couplings of passenger cars, and the like?

    Rasulo: Premature to answer that question. We're just in the middle of investigation of what, in fact, happened here. So to answer about any detail of what we will invest or what will be the outcome of this investigation, I don't think, is responsible at this point.

    Question: Is this a ride that little children can ride on also? Or is this one of those that has a certain type of restriction on it?

    Rasulo: There is a height restriction on this attraction. I'm going to guess it's 42 inches? (looks to an assistant) 40 inches. So that means that children can ride the attraction, not very small children under the height of 40 inches.

    Question: Based on past history, do you believe that the Railroad will be shut down for weeks or perhaps for months?

    Rasulo: Too early to speculate on that. I don't know how long the investigation will take.

    Question: When was the last time that you and Mr. Eisner rode on this attraction.

    Rasulo: Personally - I don't want to speak for Michael - I would say that sometime within the last 3 months. I don't know precisely when, but you know I travel around our parks all over the world and ride the attractions all the time.

    Question: Do you know how many people were on the ride at the time of the accident?

    Rasulo: No, we don't. I don't have that information available.  I can tell you that the maximum capacity of such a train is 32 guests. Don't have the detail on how many were on at that moment.

    So let me turn over at this point...

    Question:  You mentioned earlier that you were here to express condolenses to the family of the deceased. Have you been able to make any contact...

    Eisner: No, actually the name of the deceased has not been released by Anaheim yet due to the process that they undertake notifying the family. So we are in the exact same position you are as far as that goes.

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 06, 2003 2:37 am/pm

    Now that relatives have been informed, we can report that the man who died in the accident was 22-year-old Marcelo Torres from Gardena, California, which is about 25 miles from Disneyland. As the previous report states, it doesn't appear that he died of a heart attack.

    The other people injured in the accident have all been released from UCI Medical Center.

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 06, 2003 3:57 am/pm

    It might be interesting to take a look back at Disney's "Comprehensive Safety Campaign" which they released in 2002.
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 06, 2003 9:39 am/pm

    The Orange County Register has a < report of the incident, including comments from eyewitnesses (click here) > which I recommend to all EchoEars to read. Free registration is required to view it.
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 06, 2003 9:57 am/pm

    When you follow the above link there is also has a video report from the Associated Press, which is another source of video on this incident in addition to the previous ones which Carol posted.
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 06, 2003 10:27 am/pm

    Tokyo Disneyland's verson of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was closed today as a precaution.

    UPDATE: Disneyland Paris has also closed its version of BTMR for the same reason.

    Posted by: MKBaughan on Sep. 06, 2003 11:33 am/pm

    :sniffle:   This truly saddens me.  This is one of my favorite rides in both DL & WDW, and I have ridden both of them many times.  I also will be praying for everyone involved.
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 07, 2003 11:14 am/pm

    < Disney Halts "Killer" Coasters >: The New York Post reports that both Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris closed their Big Thunder Mountain roller coasters after an accident on a similar ride at the Disneyland. This is confirmed by the Orange Co. Register, quoting Disney Resort spokesman Bob Tucker: "Out of an abundance of caution, they shut down their attractions to perform a reinspection and to confirm that, despite having the same name, the designs and manufacturers were different than the ones here in California. Once this was completed, both attractions were reopened.''

    < Disneyland will offer counseling to all those who need it following the accident >: CNN reports that according to a Disney spokesman, Disneyland will offer counseling to all those who need it following the BTMRR accident.
    Quick quote: The CNN report goes on to mention all six victims taken to UC-Irvine Medical Center were released by Saturday afternoon: five had minor injuries and the sixth, Vicente Gutierrez, had facial lacerations, bruises, and fractured ribs. Two other people were taken to Western Medical Center, where they were treated and released Friday, and another two were treated at the scene. Disney spokesman Bob Tucker said BTMRR is closed while investigators try to determine the cause of the accident, still unknown, with the Anaheim Fire Department and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) in charge of the probe. "Now we're just in that kind of investigative period where we're letting the folks do their work," Tucker said, and that no concerns about safety were voiced Saturday, but "we are providing counseling for anybody that requires it." Michael Eisner assured guests and employees on Friday that their safety is the company's "top priority."

    < Disney team joins probe of accident > (Free registration required to view this Orange County Register article): Quick quote: Disney crews late Friday were allowed to join the Anaheim Police Department and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigators searching for the cause of the fatal accident, tasks that could include stripping apart cars, pulling up tracks and inspecting maintenance logs. The three groups are now working together, with the police investigating any possible criminal intent, state officials examining it as an industrial accident related to ride safety and Disney searching for clues to the cause. Disney also will examine whether its policies and procedures were followed in the operation of the ride and in the aftermath of the accident. BTMRR could be closed for six to 12 months as investigators conduct their probes and the state assesses what problems need to be corrected. Disney won't be able to reopen the ride until any required corrections are made. Ride-safety experts familiar with the operation and maintenance of coasters said logical culprits in the accident are the hitches that connect cars, the car wheels and the track. Anaheim public information officer John Nicoletti said, "They are collecting and processing all of the evidence that will be turned over to the detectives so that they can continue their investigation. There is nothing at this point to indicate that this was anything more than a tragic accident." Nicoletti said Disney was allowed onto the scene after evidence had been gathered.

    A slightly clearer picture has emerged about what happened:
    The ride traveled into the first Safety Brake Zone (inside a tunnel, which is where the train was found), an area where computer sensors can trigger brakes on the track to reduce speed if necessary. The ride is designed to travel a maximum of 28 mph. The front car, which looks like an engine but does not pull the train, was slightly derailed and disconnected from the other cars. The trailing cars were behind it in a U-shaped dip on the track, Nicoletti said.

    The maintenance of the ride came into question as experts considered the most logical factors for the derailing and decoupling of the train. If rides are maintained according to the standards typically followed by Disney and other major theme parks, the hitch and the wheels should not malfunction, experts said.

    Disney officials said they conduct systematic inspections daily on each attraction. They also schedule inspections of internal ride workings and change major parts on a rotating basis. Each ride has a manual of manufacturer requirements that includes test guidelines, preventive maintenance information and a list of preoperational checks.

    A daily inspection of a ride would include walking the track to look for anything askew, inspecting the vehicles, operating the ride through two or three cycles empty, then sending it out with theme park employees aboard for a test. This could be done at night by employees who would sign off on the daily testing.

    Safety systems often built into the attractions include sensors to detect if brakes are not working properly, sensors that monitor speed and anti-rollback devices. "Anti-rollback devices should be on every roller coaster to keep it from rolling backwards,'' said Ken Martin, a certified safety inspector who often testifies in theme-park accident lawsuits. "That's an industry standard.'' Industry standards also require the operator to have full view of the ride as it travels. If operators can't see the vehicle, such as when it's in a tunnel, it's generally required to have video cameras that can be used to watch the ride.

    These types of "family coasters" typically are held on the track with a series of wheels, Martin said. It's possible one or more of those wheels broke. "My first guess would be the hitch," Martin said. "The second would be the wheels."

    Another ride-safety professional, Richard Harris of Yorba Linda, speculated that the coupling device might be the source of the problem. The pins in such couplers can become frayed or bolts in them can be stripped with constant use. Those flaws should have been detected in regular maintenance checks, Harris said.

    The track will be examined for cracks or flaws that might have caused the accident, though it's unlikely that was the problem, Martin said. The ride had been running for several hours and any track problems probably would have been apparent at the start of the day.

    < Park-goers take accident in stride > (Free registration required to view this Orange County Register article): Quick quote: Aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat the tape-recorded message broadcast over loudspeakers contained a hint of irony for knowing listeners Saturday. As the boat passed Thunder Mountain, the pre-recorded voice said: "Those tracks off the port side lead to Big Thunder Mountain, site of the biggest gold strike in these parts. But in spite of its riches, that mine's been riddled with trouble and strange happenings for as long as I can remember." Meanwhile at Disney's California Adventure, the ABC Primetime Preview Weekend went on as scheduled with an all-star lineup of celebrities from shows such as "The Bachelor," "Alias," and "The Practice."

    Posted by: JEANYLASER on Sep. 07, 2003 3:13 am/pm

    :(  :cry: i am sorry to the family who lost his son or a daughter in this disaster in disneyland in calfornia. i hope god can heal the family wounds.
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 07, 2003 3:57 am/pm

    ---------------------QUOTE BEGIN-------------------
    :(  :cry: i am sorry to the family who lost his son or a daughter in this disaster in disneyland in calfornia. i hope god can heal the family wounds.

    Those are excellent thoughts, Jeany. I join you in that prayer.
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 07, 2003 11:18 am/pm

    After the Crash, Questions

    A friend of the rider who died says they were always joking, even as they boarded. State investigators expect to take weeks.

    (Free registration required to view this Los Angeles Times article):

    Quick quotes: "All of a sudden I heard something really loud and shaky," Gutierrez said Saturday. "I told myself, 'This isn't normal.' " Then he blacked out. The train cars crashed in the tunnel, killing Gutierrez's friend, Marcelo Torres. ... Torres — whose cause of death has not been made public by the Orange County coroner — was the 10th person to die in an attraction-related accident since Disneyland opened in 1955, park historians said. Fatal accidents have occurred on the Columbia sailing ship, the Matterhorn, the People Mover, Rivers of America, the Monorail and the America Sings rotating stage. ... There is no evidence that maintenance played a part in Friday's accident. Nevertheless, current and former park employees were buzzing Saturday over the perception that Disneyland has shortchanged maintenance.

    Full details.

    Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 08, 2003 1:37 am/pm

    Well, I read Jim Hill's column today about the accident and the Disney fan-WWW site coverage of it.  

    < >

    Look for a Monday, September 8, 2003 headline.

    I also read Al Lutz and Kevin Yee at MiceAge

    < >

    today and some of the posts on Mouse Planet's discussion area about Disneyland topics

    < >

    I gather one thing:  Emotions are running high about this tragedy.  With emotion people will type in and hit "send" before letting the story play out or before calming down.

    It would seem that some kind of equipment error or failure happened, just like very soon after the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated last February it was shown that at takeoff a piece of insulating foam came off the external fuel tank and hit one of the wing edges of the shuttle at high speed.  It's too early in the DL Big Thunder accident to say what the cause was, but like with Columbia an early clue seems to have emerged, but we can't say that for certain yet.  IF it pans out that human error or failure error was on Disney's part and IF such error could have been prevented, then that will come out not just in the parts of the official investigation that are made public but likely in a court of law due to "tort" (personal injury) lawsuits being filed by injury recipients seeking compensation and in the discovery process for trial.   There's a story here still playing out.  The facts will come out, but that process needs to go on at it's pace and carefully.  We all need to know the truth so in turn this tragedy doesn't happen again.

    I read all these onsite columns and discussion areas and my heart goes out to a lot of people directly connected to what happened as well as those connected by degrees of separation and by Disney fanship.  I hope the investigation goes smoothly, the causes found and fixed and not just patched up.  Disneyland is the crown jewel of the Disney theme park division, even though other Disney parks in the world are newer or enjoy greater attendance and offer greater amenities.  That famous portrait of Walt Disney walking through the castle port cullass, that was Walt walking at Disneyland, not at any of the other theme parks (those didn't exist at the end of Walt's life).  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad didn't even exist at the park at the end of Walt's life, it came much later on.  But the point here is that in memory of Walt Disney, who kept close tabs on this park, the type of park he envisioned families coming to and enjoying can be maintained and restored.  So that the upbeat greeting Walt himself offered to all on opening day can be realized in joy and safety and security "To all who come to this happy place, welcome!"  As with Mickey Mouse's creation "I hope we never lose sight of one thing:  That it all started with a mouse.", so too should we keep in mind that the Disney parks we love to escape to and enjoy all started with Disneyland.  What happens there with the investigation and reformation of the particular attraction will speak volumes to Disney fans and guests.  We're listening, we're watching, we're monitoring.  In Walt's memory, please "get it" and "get it right", Disney.

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 08, 2003 1:42 am/pm

    Excellent, Carol. I'm sure you've expressed the feelings of many people, myself included.

    Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 08, 2003 2:16 am/pm

    Someone posted on Mouse Planet's DL discussion forum they'd attended the ABC TV network promotional activities Saturday.  Didn't have a thing to do with the Big Thunder Mountain accident.  And the poster happend to remark how hot and crowded it was at California Adventure that afternoon, had obtained a couple of Fast Passes but the return time was very very much later, due to the crowds.  It was frustrating for the family, so they left.  Another poster claimed to have been at DCA at the same time, got similar Fast Passes but with entirely different return times, and accused the first poster of "lying" about conditions out there that day.  Their moderator chastised poster # 2 about that, and poster # 1 fired back a bit later in the thread.  So, like, I get from that that folks are very edgy, emotional right now.  So, like, pull back from the keyboard and get some R & R and let events settle in your mind and heart.  'Cause the authorities who need to be looking into the incident are and there's nothing any of us can do about it except pray (if you're into that) or hope (if you're into that) that Disney takes its lumps and does the truly right thing vs. what patches and looks good to the public.  That's what caused me to write.  Thanks.
    Posted by: Goofyteer on Sep. 09, 2003 1:05 am/pm

    Is there any word yet on how all this has affected park attendance and people's plans to go? Any cancellations or anything or has everyone taken it in stride?
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 09, 2003 2:00 am/pm

    There's only been general comments that attendance seems light -- but then again, it isn't the peak season anymore. I have heard that occupancy at the official hotels of the Disneyland Resort (Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, etc.) is running very low right now. No one can get more specific than that, because Disney doesn't release attendance figures like some other parks do.
    Posted by: Goofyteer on Sep. 09, 2003 2:34 am/pm

    Thanks again for the information Rich :mickey:
    Posted by: bishopsnet on Sep. 10, 2003 5:23 am/pm

    Here is some up to date info about the accident.Seems the train was in a tunnel going up an incline.

    < Yahoo News >

    Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 10, 2003 6:00 am/pm

    The site below offers its visitors a daily press digest, links to printed articles or WWW site articles about Disney topics.  Some sites may request you register with them (free of charge) to read the articles online, others don't but have articles that expire after a period of time.  Since the accident Laughing Place has posted links to ongoing follow-up articles in the Los Angeles Times and Orange County (Ca.) Register.  Look on the left side of the screen on the site's front page for "Headlines", click it, and there you go.  The daily new press links are up Monday through Friday on regular business days in the mid-afternoon Pacific time.

    < Laughing Place >

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 10, 2003 6:36 am/pm

    The Disney Echo has its own links area, which uses Google News and a number of different news sites as well. As they say on MousePlanet, there's no need to look at someone else's site if what you're seeking is already on this site (paraphrasing what one of their moderators posted when someone wrote a link to another website's Disney news area).

    And although Laughing Place is a fine site and I'm friends with the people who run it, most of the time they only update their news headlines once a day, although they are to be commended for keeping more up to date in regards to the BTMRR story. But here on the Disney Echo, just select the red "Disney News" button in the mouse-eared navigation bar above (looks like this: ) and you won't have to wait for a certain time of day (or night) to see the latest news about Disney (including this unfortunate fatal accident) -- Google and the other news sites we scan on our Disney Echo news page all do a great job of automatically presenting you with the very latest news -- you'll sometimes see the news was posted only a few minutes prior to you checking.

    < Click here to see constantly-updated news about Disney >

    Once you are on that page, you can add to the search criteria, such as typing Thunder Mountain after the word it defaults to, which is Disney. Just put a space in between all words.

    For example, here's the latest news about the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad accident at Disneyland:

    Coroner's report says Disneyland accident victim bled to death
    The San Francisco Chronicle reports Marcelo Torres bled to death after suffering being struck in the chest by an unknown object during Friday's accident aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

    < Full details >

    Family of ride victim hires investigation team
    The September 10th Associated Press announces Marcelo Torres' family has hired private investigators they hope are able to join the state, Anaheim and theme park teams probing the cause of the accident.

    < Full details >

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 10, 2003 6:49 am/pm

    You'll need to be registered on their website to view this story (although it is free to register), but the Los Angeles Times has a very interesting article you should see:

    Finally, Eisner, Davis Get Real

    Quick quote: What do Michael Eisner and Gray Davis have in common, other than that both preside over sprawling amusement parks — Disneyland and California, respectively — whose stock is rather low at the moment?

    The answer: Each had a recent epiphany.

    Such moments are usually worthy of celebration, signaling as they do a new level of enlightenment. And who says that, just because Davis and Eisner are veteran CEOs, they can't wake up and smell the coffee at long last?

    < Full details >.

    Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 12, 2003 1:03 am/pm

    Does anyone remember the presidency of Richard Nixon and his vice-president, Spiro Agnew?  If you do you'll remember Agnew offering a pithy comment about the news media criticism of the Nixon administration "nattering nabobs of negativism."

    I wouldn't call him "nattering" because Al Lutz is obviously intelligent, articulate, sees himself as a Disney observer and critic and "watch dog" over the park that Walt Disney himself founded and oversaw.  However, sometimes you can read Al's writings and wonder about his motives, attitudes and sanity, and whether his sources are using him or how true and accurate those sources are.  Although it seems like the park has been having problems in the last decade with upkeep and attraction quality, good things happen there too.  Sometimes when you read Al you wonder if he sees the good with the bad ever.  Whether you agree or not with Al's writings and observations, Al is highly readable and visible as a Disneyland critic.  What he writes is guaranteed to keep your blood circulating and feed negative opinions about Disney if you have any.  How much of it is true or conjecture or mistakenly drawing conclusions or ax-grinding by his sources is unknown.  Sometimes people post how off-base and untrue Al is.  Just read him with a grain of salt and responsible "There may be more to the story than this" attitude and you'll be just fine.

    Anyway, Al's latest WWW site for his Disney and Disneyland observations is Mice Age

    < >

    Current column today about last week's Big Thunder Mountain accident at Disneyland is alleging that document shredding is going on behind-the-scenes.  Al is a big critic of the current administration at Disneyland and the administration of Paul Pressler who used to be DL President and left Disney to be CEO of The Gap.  The investigation by authorities is ongoing.  I just hope what Al alleges isn't going on and that Disney is being fully and legally cooperative with investigators.  But Al makes a very serious allegation here, and Al himself treads on thin ice with the investigation still in progress.  Still a situation playing itself out and even the observers are getting into the fray.  We'll see.

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 12, 2003 7:58 am/pm

    Disneyland accident victim remembered fondly at funeral

    Quick quote:

    Friends and family gathered Friday to remember 22-year-old Marcello Torres, who was killed Sept. 5 in an accident on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Disneyland. More than 100 people heard a service conducted mostly in Spanish for the man known to his friends as "Chelo."

    Mourners entering the church passed by a collage of photos showing Torres as a boy and as an adult, wearing a graduation cap and gown, skiing, sitting at the beach and posing on amusement park rides.

    Osvaldo Torres said family members were still struggling to understand the death and are coping "by dealing with what's at hand - grieving and thinking of him in a positive way."

    Autopsy results said Torres bled to death after being struck in the chest by a blunt object. The impact fractured several ribs, which punctured his lungs.

    Torres was riding the roller coaster when the lead car, shaped to resemble a locomotive, became detached from the passenger cars in a tunnel. State and local officials are still investigating the accident. The ride could remain closed from six months to a year, officials have said.

    The Torres family has hired an attorney to represent them, although no lawsuit has yet been filed.

    < Full details. >

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 12, 2003 8:00 am/pm

    I've heard that the lawyer hired is the same one which sued Disney after DL's Columbia dock cleat accident.
    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 18, 2003 6:11 am/pm

    Disneyland Roller Coaster Injuries Revealed by State

    Two dozen people have reported injuries on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad but follow-up state investigations and ride inspections did not reveal any safety problems.

    < Full details >
    Free registration required to view

    Posted by: bishopsnet on Sep. 27, 2003 12:29 am/pm

    What happened to all the news coverage of the investigation? Its been about three weeks and no news of what happened? I find it hard to believe the investigators are still stumped on this. Maybe I'm overreacting, but something smells. Its like it never happened! Does anyone have any input on what caused the accident? So far all I know is that the train derailed in a tunnel.  :glare:
    Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 27, 2003 10:18 am/pm

    ---------------------QUOTE BEGIN-------------------
    What happened to all the news coverage of the investigation? Its been about three weeks and no news of what happened? I find it hard to believe the investigators are still stumped on this. Maybe I'm overreacting, but something smells. Its like it never happened! Does anyone have any input on what caused the accident? So far all I know is that the train derailed in a tunnel.  :glare:

    With all due respect, Pete, intense interest doesn't always issue into thorough and methodical investigation and research techniques.  

    Due to the fatality and legal and regulatory issues involved the state regulatory agency, I think it's acronym is called DOSH, is probably required by state law to conduct it's investigation in a certain way and within a certain length of time.  They have to interview witnesses, Disney employees and management, examine records, find the manufacturer and examine their records, pull their research facts together and come to some official conclusions in a formally written report.  Sometimes state agencies are given X-days (like 60 or 90 or whatever) within which to focus their time to do the investigation right and not rushed and to issue their written findings as to cause.  The written findings are evidence in case the situation winds up in court.  So it must all be conducted very carefully and methodically.  

    It is not the same as investigating a fatal traffic accident.  A fatal traffic accident investigation, depending on severity, takes hours and all must be photographed, measured, data collected and then any toxicology tests (to test for drugs or illness in the drivers) take time to conduct and results come forth.  When airplanes crash, whether small plane or commercial airliner, that takes longer to investigate.  With amusement park rides it can take weeks or months depending on what happened.  No two scenarios alike.  

    I think when that fatal accident happened to the guest on the Columbia ship at Disneyland a few years ago that took months to resolve.  It's not as if state agencies are adequately funded anymore with enough staff to handle investigating many accidents or workplace problems simultaneously, not just high profile ones.  

    Then some personal injury attorneys have been retained by families of those on that fateful train and they in turn are conducting their own investigations.

    While investigations are ongoing the investigators owe more to accuracy and integrity in the investigative process than they do to the news media.  This is not to say a public agency investigating a fatal accident needs to keep in the shadows and stay secret.  But, with all due respect, common sense would be if they are still investigating they don't have all the facts they need yet and hence there is nothing to say or update about until their work is complete.  Obviously they would announce findings if it's in the public interest to accurately say truth and known facts and causes.  Since no one is issuing anything yet it stands to reason there is nothing substantive yet to say.

    Sometimes it takes months for these things to be announced and then more months for the problems to be fixed.  The space shuttle that disintegrated February 2003 upon re-entry seemed to have obvious problems when the foam hit the wing at lift off.  Yet while that seemed known and obvious, it's imprudent to state that was the reason until tests, record searches, interviews and other analysis can be done in order to verify a theory.  A report was issued in that accident only recently, months after the accident occurred.  And it will take more months to redesign and retrofit or build anew those components of the foam on external fuel tanks so the shuttle program can safely resume, and to rewrite and implement internal changes so that personnel are more responsible and accountable for future flights.  So too are space shuttles and theme park attractions more complicated in their safety and investigation requirements than car accidents which happen more frequently and have a higher fatality rate.

    So what happened to the news coverage of the investigation of the Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain accident is that there is nothing to report, yet, because the investigation is still ongoing.   If you were to call DOSH and ask you might hear that by state law an investigation of this nature may take as little as XX-days or as long as YY-days to complete, and that time limit is to compel the state agency to get it overwith yet not dawdle yet not rush into things.  With staffing funding that agency is doing all it can with what money from the state they can have along with doing ongoing work on other cases too.  

    What caused the accident?  So far we might know it wasn't rider error or rider health concerns.  What caused the accident then?  Still being studied.  And the public isn't owed an explanation if the investigation isn't finished.  And the news media can poke and prod, but they would only discover facts so far in disconnected bits and pieces that can be misconstrued and thus ruin, say, the objectivity of a jury pool and the integrity of litigation and the reputation of individuals and corporations without due process.   Equal justice under the law protects victim and those alleged to have contributed to the accident until all the facts and truth can be laid out.

    So perhaps a little maybe you are overreacting.   It's true that a lot of rides at Disneyland seem down at the same time and that's not a good thing.  But you have to take common sense and how regulatory angencies and the legal process work in to consideration and bring that to the forefront of your mind and emotions as you recall this accident.

    Despite public interest and demand, justice has to be fair to all concerned and that means, in part, not rushing anything.  In a similar situation if you were the one being scrutinized you too would want it done slowly, deliberately and fairly so that true facts and findings came out and no trial-in-the-media would falsely accuse you of anything before the facts came out.  What if you were the person pushing buttons that day controlling the ride at the moment of the accident?  Would you want the news media to have your name out there as "having controlled the ride" with an implication that you had something to do with it?  And if you'd followed all procedures and then weeks later a final report exonerated you, but the earlier eager-beaver news media story, or Internet rumor, had already linked you with a negative implication as being "involved" with what happened?  That is called "libel" when it's written, "slander" when it's spoken and it's legally actionable and it's hard as heck to regain your reputation after that because the first words out, including implied meanings about people and corporations, are the ones that stick.  Hard as heck to undo that.  You wouldn't want that happening to you, and state regulatory agencies, the legal system and any individual or corporation wouldn't want it happening to them, either.  Law protect the innocent as well as bring those to blame to justice.  Justice works both ways.  It was a rush that evening and weekend to follow the news.  But that part of the process is over.  Now the investigation is going on and that will take time and patience to wait for the findings.

    Sorry for the lecture.  Something positive that can be done is perhaps to contribute to any funds set up for the benefit and aid of surviving victims and families if they are of low or modest financial means.  Turn your passion for justice into a burst of community service, pour that energy and emotion into any local groups or events soon that are set up to improve the community overall or worse off groups of people or individuals.  It will burn off the "charge" you feel in the frustration of not knowing what happened that morning, you'll feel more in command and you'll constructively and positively satisfy that inner desire "to do something when something must be done".  

    I hope this helps.  :)

    Posted by: bishopsnet on Sep. 27, 2003 10:23 am/pm

    Well Carol,

     That was informative. Look, I understand what your trying to say. I thought about all that before I posted the topic. But I just don't see that as being the reason. I hate to look on the negative, but an investigation is an investigation. What I mean is, every investigation whether it is a murder or a theme park ride has guidelines to follow. However, that doesn't stop the media from finding out and posting every piece of "suspected" evidence. For example, in the Laci Peterson case I hear something new almost every week. They just don't wait until all the facts are in. The information is always leaked somehow. Even in the Space Shuttle investigation you mentioned earlier, it was I think less than a week before they were telling us what they thought had possibly happened. I just think its funny that we haven't heard anything. They haven't just been spinning there wheels for weeks to come up with nothing. And what about the witnesses? Nobody thought to ask them what they think happened? I personally haven't heard of any interviews with witnesses.

       Basically when I said "something smells", this is what I had in mind. Disney Corp. has had some recent financial troubles. The good people of Anaheim rely on The Disneyland Resort as a revenue booster for the city. So right there you have a biased "city" investigator. That's why I believe the families of the deceased have hired their own investigators. And then, like I said before, we haven't really gotten any news from the witnesses. If I were in Mike Eisners' shoes, I would be trying to keep this thing under wraps. Especially, if my corporation is struggling. No need to have a drop in attendance because the public found out something crazy like, say for instance, Disney wasn't maintaining the rides properly.

       So, it could be that the investigation is just taking a while and they have been stumped on this incident or it could be that they are just trying to figure out the settlements (payoffs) and a version of the story that smoothes the public over. I wouldn't rule out the latter though.

    P.S. Not tryn to hate on ya Carol. Your version does sound valid.

    Posted by: CarolKoster on Sep. 28, 2003 9:43 am/pm

    ---------------------QUOTE BEGIN-------------------
    Well Carol,

     That was informative. Look, I understand what your trying to say. I thought about all that before I posted the topic. But I just don't see that as being the reason. I hate to look on the negative, but an investigation is an investigation. What I mean is, every investigation whether it is a murder or a theme park ride has guidelines to follow. However, that doesn't stop the media from finding out and posting every piece of "suspected" evidence. For example, in the Laci Peterson case I hear something new almost every week. They just don't wait until all the facts are in. The information is always leaked somehow. Even in the Space Shuttle investigation you mentioned earlier, it was I think less than a week before they were telling us what they thought had possibly happened. I just think its funny that we haven't heard anything. They haven't just been spinning there wheels for weeks to come up with nothing. And what about the witnesses? Nobody thought to ask them what they think happened? I personally haven't heard of any interviews with witnesses.

       Basically when I said "something smells", this is what I had in mind. Disney Corp. has had some recent financial troubles. The good people of Anaheim rely on The Disneyland Resort as a revenue booster for the city. So right there you have a biased "city" investigator. That's why I believe the families of the deceased have hired their own investigators. And then, like I said before, we haven't really gotten any news from the witnesses. If I were in Mike Eisners' shoes, I would be trying to keep this thing under wraps. Especially, if my corporation is struggling. No need to have a drop in attendance because the public found out something crazy like, say for instance, Disney wasn't maintaining the rides properly.

       So, it could be that the investigation is just taking a while and they have been stumped on this incident or it could be that they are just trying to figure out the settlements (payoffs) and a version of the story that smoothes the public over. I wouldn't rule out the latter though.

    P.S. Not tryn to hate on ya Carol. Your version does sound valid.

    Thank you for the reply you wrote back, Bishopsnet.  I'll try to address some of your points.

    Re: 24 Hour news channels coverage of space shuttle disintegration and Laci Peterson cases revealing and leaking information and news tidbits:  Here's a primer on how news gathering in 2003 works.  I say this from some experience since I used to work in radio and TV as a journalist and newscast producer and Rich my husband currently does work in a local TV news operation and the places we work/ed used to submit stories to their major network affiliated news or CNN when the situation was "big" enough to do so, or sometimes the network guys come to where we are to cover the story and the local station provides editting and satellite uplink facilities.  OK:  Sometimes there are scheduled events, such as press conferences, trial dates in a criminal or civil case, announcements of grand openings or ground breakings, or some other known event so that a news gathering organization will know about it and refer it to an individual called "assignment editor" or "city desk editor" to schedule on a calendar for a future date.  That date arrives and the assignment editor might assign a reporter and photographer, just a reporter, or a camera crew or radio person to go personally to check it out.  Sometimes reporters come up with their own ideas for stories, features, follow-ups, and if those ideas seem substantive enough  the assignment editor will schedule it for coverage.  Then there is listening to the police scanner in the newsroom.  Certain law enforcement and fire department codes mean "accident with injuries" or "fatalities" or "shooting" or "armed robbery" and depending where it is and the sound of the chatter sounds serious and urgent then off at least a video crew will go, a radio reporter phones law enforcement to get an audio interview and a newspaper reporter might either go or work the phones.  They cover the breaking news and as part of that future dates for investigation, arraignment, future news conferences, etc. will pop up and that gets scheduled on the assignment editor's calendar for future follow-up coverage.  No two events or days are the same, and of course in the case of something particularly serious new facts come out within hours of each newscast.  Newsroom people, print, radio and TV, know this territory in and out.  Accidents with fatalities happen all the time, in cars, on the freeways, at construction sites, inside amusement parks, freak accidents happen with the weather, you name it.  The investigative process when done by law enforcement, a district attorney's office, a governmental regulatory agency, all have lengths of time, prescribed by law, within which to get the task of finding out the "why and how" in fact form accomplished.  News agencies know this because they deal with it every day, not just about Disneyland or major corporation entertainment entities, but about every place a fatality of any kind can happen.  

    News agencies do indeed follow-up on news stories but they are not going to fill their news space in the paper or air time on radio or TV or cable with "Well, nothing new about the  case today" or "Remember yesterday when we told you there was nothing new about  case?  Still true today, nothing new." and etc.  "Nothing new today" isn't news.  And a steady stream of that is boring to readers, listeners and viewers.  If it's boring to readers, listeners and viewers those readers, viewers and listeners are going to skip or tune out that news source and find another.  When readers, listeners and viewers tune out of a newspaper or radio or TV or cable news channel habit the ratings decline.  If the ratings decline the advertisers feel their ad dollars aren't well spent for the amount of exposure they were promised.  Don't be upset by this:  In a free market economy advertising is a valid business and it's how newspapers, radio, TV and cable validly make their's not a public service although in radio and TV they operate under Federal license and must do so according to Federal and other regulations.  Anyway, the point here is there are indeed follow-up phone calls being made on a regular basis by either the city editor desks, radio reporters or TV assignment desk staffers to those law enforcement or regulatory agencies "Anything new today?" and experienced reporters know the staffs and press offices at these agencies and know how to ask questions to elicit information.  When you are in the news media as your livelihood, trust me, the Los Angeles-Southern California market is #2 in the country, after New York City, and other than working in NY or one of the major networks in broadcast you have reached the pinnacle of your profession, cream of the crop only, no newbies or spineless jellyfish or starry-eyed need apply.  The ratings competition is fierce and they want people to keep reading, listening or viewing on a minute-by-minute basis.  They know when it's a waste of time and resources to cover a story and when to keep digging.  Part of what they have to know to know when to keep digging and when to let a process take it's course and come back later is to know laws, regulatory agencies laws, and how those agencies work and investigate.  If the highly competitive news industry in California can't come up with anything substantive yet it means the investigation is ongoing, these agencies are playing it close to the vest, and the news media has to fill their column space and air time with other stories for the time being.

    I dug around on Mouse Planet's Disneyland discussion board and Laughing Place's Disneyland discussion board.  Had to go back 7 pages of threads on Mouse Planet and 3 pages on Laughing Place to find anything like a shred of new information.  The most recent tidbits being about 9 days ago when the Los Angeles Times wrote a story about past accidents reported to California regulatory agencies on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain, which include mostly a heart attack and dizziness (according to state law if someone complains to that agency it must be noted, even when the complaint is 'only' dizziness).  Posters on Mouse Planet, where I read this, dismiss this article as "Must've been a slow news day for the LA Times today to report that".  Another tidbit has to do with Disneyland's official WWW site finally updated the rehab schedule for rides in the park so that Big Thunder is closed 'indefinitely.'  Mouse Planet posters seem consistent that Big Thunder will be closed at least a year.  Most recent post under that thread reads that Disneyland couldn't possibly announce a definite reopening date until the investigation is completed.  The last real substantive discussion took place within a week or the accident on both sites.  

    Something to know about Mouse Planet and Laughing Place.  Mouse Planet was founded by Al Lutz and others after reading an posting on alt.disney.disneyland newsgroup on Usenet got to be so voluminous.  Mouse Planet, under Lutz, got to be known as a Disney watchdog site, loving the history but decrying what the park has become, in their minds.  Although Mouse Planet covers all aspects of Disney and all the Disney parks in the world, it's heart and soul is Disneyland coverage.  Pretty much dittoes for Laughing Place.  They post links to newspaper and WWW site headlines with true news to report about anything Disney.  Their coverage of the accident that day and night was up-to-the-minute, sensitive and based on knowledge of Disneyland and all that's gone on there in the past, good, bad and ugly.  They have regulars who report and post on the discussion boards who have Annual Passes and who go all the time, daily even, just to keep up with what's new and report to others about it.  These folks truly do know every blade of grass that grows in the park.   If something about the investigation or news coverage of it were amiss, there would be recent postings, postings of "today" nature.  And I had to dig back that far to find anything truly substantive.  All the rest is rumor and chit-chat and speculation and putting 2-cents in and "What if we could redesign Frontierland...." and that sort of thing.  

    The news media on 24-hour national cable news channels, Fox included, need content 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day.  The operations have their reporters, affiliates, wire services, and assignment desks same as on the local level.  They cover news that is of interest of a national and international nature.  They also have a lot of time to fill.  Amusement park accidents happen and get coverage.  But these are also cream of the crop highly experienced people too.  They are not going to air "Nothing new, folks, in the case of ____" because that also sends people to pick up their remote controls and go "click" to another station.  They are also evolving, unfortunately, into running scandal, sensationalism and "If it bleeds, it leads" (any death especially grisly and heart-tugging ones will top each hour's newscast 'til something else takes precedence) into the ground.   That they do report little facts and leaks, no matter how obscure or "out in left field" it may be, because the field is competitive and waiting for investigations to play out is so dull.  They have to fill their air time 24 hours a day with something.  So they find shards and fragments of information and they do report rumor as fact, air it, then find talking heads to talk about it.  They feel that, for instance, Laci Peterson was an attractive lady, due to give birth, and she died in a still undetermined way.  In fact, her remains were buried and the justice system is engaging in putting the trial case together as well as defending her husband.  There is nothing visually interesting about that.  Like Jon Benet Ramsey or other high profile cases, these people when alive were visually attractive and the news channels feel they can milk it and milk it and milk it dry and when dry go back for more.  When you take 20 steps back from it you realize not all that much truly new or important has come out and all the 24 hour news channels are doing is milking little tidbits dry since they cannot wait 'wil the actual trial.  When you assess 24 hour news channel coverage all defendants are found guilty immediately, when our justice system presumes innocence until proven guilty in a court of law.  The news media is to cover news, not try cases in public.  

    There are various events vying for public attention in the news.  The War in Iraq.  The California Gubernatorial Election and Recall.  If life were more routine, as in prior to 9/11, Southern California news media might submit the Disneyland accident at Big Thunder Mountain to more sensational scrutiny than today.  They are preoccupied with the recall and gubernatorial election.  And if anything truly substantive and truly new and of major enough interest in the accident investigation were to emerge, news media would indeed report it and the various Disneyland WWW discussiono boards would be alive with it.  They're not.  Nothing new.  Nothing suppressed.  Other news is happening and an accident investigation is ongoing.

    East New Orleans is a depressed suburb of the city where we live around.  At one time it was a growing suburb, now it's just emptier and businesses don't thrive there.  Some operators got a big regional amusement park built there, Jazzland.  It underwhelmed folks and has struggled the past couple of years since opening.  Six Flags bought it, made some changes, reopened it, some say it's better but it's got to re-establish itself, get some new big ticket rides in there and work hard to bring people in.  A grandmother brought her 4 year old grandson there last spring.  Was strapping her grandchild into a whirl-a-whirl-type ride for kiddies.  Was busy doing that and the ride started while the grandmother was still there, and she got violently struck in the head and died.  Was it her fault?  Operator error?  Mechanical error?  Some of the above or something else?  It occupied news for a day or two after it happened.  But the accident investigation is on and there is nothing to cover until that process is complete.  The park reopened but I don't know attendance figures.  Fatal accidents aren't attractive to patrons, and the part of town it happened in is still waiting for a white knight company or attraction to lure people and businesses back to it.  Similar to how Disneyland now is in Anaheim.  City officials aren't suppressing news coverage.  News media in print, radio and TV see nothing really to cover since the economic problems in that part of town are well-known, ongoing and Six Flags Jazzland's problems are well-known and ongoing.  When the season for Jazzland ends and they shut down 'til spring 2004, some coverage will be paid to whether the park had an overall successful season or not and whether the fatality had an impact.  But that won't be for another month or two.  So they cover other events in the city.  Similarly, Disneyland's problems can be traced to the failure of Disney's California Adventure to catch on to the public.  There is no "breaking news" to cover there on a daily basis, so the news media doesn't.  When something happens important enough to cover, the news media is there.  Anaheim's dependency on Disneyland tourism and support businesses is ongoing.  Tourism all over the US is trying to recover after 9/11.  It isn't just Disney and Anaheim plugging along hoping for better times and trying to find the right tourism promotion strategy to prompt reluctant folks to travel.  But if it's ongoing, already rather thoroughly covered in other prior stories and nothing much new has happened since, there is no reason for the news media to report "Here's another story about the same ongoing thing, folks!"  That also is a tune out, if it's unnecessarily repetitive.

    Michael Eisner is documented as having an ego problem and stockholders likely would wish he'd retire already and name a successor.  But with regard to the legal and regulatory atmosphere of corporate governance and malfeasance going on, of course Disney is going to step carefully but they can't hide anything.  Are they, as Al Lutz at MiceAge alleges, shredding documents crucial to the investigation?  Who knows?  Who knows Al Lutz's sources for that allegation?  Do the sources have an ax to grind, or are they deliberately feeding Al dirt and falsehoods to fulfill some kind of agenda?  No one knows, do they, and if they do know they aren't talking or having press conferences about it.  People on Mouse Planet's and Laughing Place's Disneyland discussion boards tend lately to dismiss Al Lutz as a crackpot and chronic complainer and naysayer, a half-cocked vigilante who has a gift for articulate writing but may not always be accurate.  There's a ton of things Michael Eisner ought to be doing that used to be done by his corporate partner Frank Wells before Wells was killed in 1994 in a helicopter accident.  There is no Frank Wells to tell Michael Eisner "no" or when ideas are bad ideas.  But by law, since the last fatal accident at Disneyland on the Columbia ship, regulatory and law enforcement investigators were given first crack at the accident scene to gather evidence and Disney could access it only after the investigators were gone.  By law Disney would have had to keep certain records of maintanance and turn these over to authorities.  There is nothing much Michael Eisner can do but cooperate and urge his managers and staffers to do the same.  Until the facts of the investigation are known in a published and publicly announced way there is nothing anyone can do.  These things take time, thank goodness they do because no one wants a rush to judgement on something so serious.

    There can be no settlements or payoffs if no suits have been filed.  Trust too that attorneys retained by accident victim families are also investigating and have to go at the same pace as the regulatory and law enforcement investigations go.  The attorney's for plaintiffs can't say, or leak, anything if it's not time or not to their own advantage yet they too are sworn to uphold the law and follow proper judicial process. Plaintiffs attorneys are not going to file a lawsuit 'til the facts are in, and if the investigative process is ongoign they have to wait for official findings same as the public is doing.

    Life isn't like a fast food drive up or nice, neat 30-or-60 minute TV drama.  It's delivery of satisfying product or outcome to storylines by nature take longer and are less dramatic and flashy.  Style over substance attracts audiences but doesn't sustain in the long term.  Real life works differently than fast food or fictional drama.  This is real life and this is how real life works.  You are welcome to believe differently.  However, that updates on news and discussion on prominent Disney-Disneyland WWW discussion forums aren't alking about the accident or even speculating on it anymore is a major clue.  There's nothing going on.

    You can dig around for this stuff as well as I can in order to verify.  Go over to, and read their Disneyland message forums on the date of the accident and then forward to present day, read all the messages about the accident on the news group on Usenet called alt.disney.disneyland, Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register WWW sites and join up to get news updates or research back in time, look ongoing at Southern California TV station news department WWW sites, any national news cable channel WWW sites, read Bernard Goldberg's book "Bias", you can even phone the newsrooms of these places and ask them "Why aren't you covering the Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain accident that happened a few weeks ago more than you are?"  You can submit Letters to the Editor demanding to know where the investigative news coverage is.  If you're that passionate about it, go for it.  Dig around, sample other people's postings, catch the wind direction and speed and trends elsewhere.  Check it out to your own satisfaction.  

    People in the meantime wait for the news but they don't dwell on it.  They enjoy what is open and enjoyable about Disneyland in the meantime.  They get on with life in the meantime.  They regret the sadness of what happened, abhor the natur of it, hope something can happen to fix it so it doesn't happen again, they think well of the victims and their families....and they move on with life.  Anything that can be said or discussed has already been.  'Til something truly new and substantive comes out, in a healthy progressive way, they simply move on with their lives since there is nothing more to say or can be done.  Hard-core Disney fans on these message forums care as much as you do, but they too are moving on but keeping an eye out.  Peruse these places  Mouse Planet, Laughing Place and alt.disney.disneyland and see for yourself.  

    But I still respectfully submit if you feel you want to "do something" contribute a day's Disneyland expenses you'd normally spend there to the victim's funds to help offset their expenses and medical bills.  

    I respect your opinion, as I hope you will mine, but I agree to disagree with you and wish you well.  Maybe, with all due respect and just a suggestion here, step back from the computer, Internet and cable TV news channels and get a breath of air, ride a bike and take a breather for a few days.  :-)  It's OK to be concerned and wonder what happened, and to feel frustrated and concerned over wanting to know an outcome soon.  But reality is it takes time.  That's simply the truth.

    Posted by: RichKoster on Sep. 28, 2003 4:10 am/pm

    Good to see both of you have apparently agreed to disagree about the possible causes of why the investigation is still outgoing and that the tone of the conversation is civil and hasn't degraded to a level that it might have at other discussion areas with other people involved.

    At this point, I think this thread should be about the actual news of the fatal accident and the investigation of it, with more details posted as they come out. A better place for speculation about the length or thoroughness of the investigation would be better suited in the "Rumors" forum on the Disney Echo.

    As soon as more details about what caused this accident are announced, it will be posted here in this thread in the Disneyland Resort forum.

    Posted by: bishopsnet on Oct. 04, 2003 1:20 am/pm

    < Update >

    Here's the latest report on the incident. I find the third paragraph particularly interesting. Click the Update hyperlink for the actual news site that reported it.

    The Sept. 5 crash that killed 22-year-old Marcelo Torres of Gardena and injured 10 other people was not the result of any criminal wrongdoing, police said Thursday, announcing they had closed their investigation.

    According to police reports obtained by the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, park employees heard the sound coming from the roller coaster ride at least 30 minutes before the crash.

    The reports on the noise were blacked out of the files police released publicly.

    Park employees were planning to take the ride's No. 2 train out of service, police said, but before they got the chance the engine separated from the rail cars.

    One ride operator described the noise as a "clack."

    "He said it wasn't very loud or very alarming, but he stated that it did not sound right so he decided they should take the train off the next time around," the police report stated. "He said the train never made it back around for them to remove it from operation."

    Another employee said she had taken a "ride-through" on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as part of a maintenance routine and had also heard a noise.

    The locomotive lost a "bogie" — the assembly that carries the rear wheels — causing it to strike a tunnel roof, the Register said of information it obtained from the coroner's office and the police report. The first car then ran under the airborne locomotive, killing Torres.

    The ride remains closed as the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health continues to investigate. The police probe, which was only to determine if criminal wrongdoing was involved, is now closed but could be reopened if more evidence emerges.

    "We have concluded that there was nothing criminal in nature that caused this to happen," said police Sgt. Rick Martinez.

    Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 06, 2003 6:03 am/pm

    Thanks for posting that, Pete. I was away at WDW when you saw the report.

    Of course, even if no one posts Disney news here, y'all can find out up-to-the-minute news about Disney on our < Main Street NEWSstand > 24/7.

    Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 09, 2003 8:20 am/pm

    Police finds no sabotage in Disney ride crash

    Quick quote:
    Police have concluded there was no sabotage in the Sept. 5 fatal roller coaster accident at Walt Disney Co's Disneyland theme park and have closed their criminal investigation, an Anaheim, California, city spokesman said on Thursday.

    State safety investigators are about halfway through a separate investigation into the cause of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad accident.

    < Full details. >

    Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 10, 2003 2:05 am/pm

    Mechanics Inspected Disneyland Ride Day of Fatal Crash

    Quick quote:
    A Disneyland repair crew found no problems when it inspected a roller coaster only hours before the ride derailed and killed a 22-year-old man, according to police documents.

    Four Disneyland mechanics performed routine maintenance on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on the morning of Sept. 5, according to documents released Thursday.

    < Full details. >

    Disneyland Accident

    Quick quote:
    The crew tightened a tow bar, checked the bolts and inspected the track. The report says the routine maintenance found nothing wrong with the ride.

    < Full details. >

    Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 10, 2003 12:54 am/pm

    Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!

    Take a look at < this article > in the Los Angeles Times (free registration is required to view it):

    Disneyland's Ride Upkeep Criticized by Park Workers

    Longtime crew members say a push for efficiency has affected safety. Experts insist modern methods work and are effective.

    Quick quote:

    "I have a lot of loyalty to Disneyland, but I feel that somebody's got to say something about how they're operating out there," said Bob Penfield, who worked on the park's rides from opening day until his retirement as a supervisor in 1997. "When Disneyland opened, safety was the No. 1 thing. Now they say that today too. But I think over time, profit became more important."

    Another worker, in an interview with state investigators after a parkgoer was killed in 1998 by an iron cleat that broke off the Columbia sailing ship, said the change in maintenance procedures made it difficult to get rides fixed quickly. He and a second worker told investigators that wood around the cleat was weak, though this was never formally identified as a cause of the accident.

    "The climate that we're operating in here has changed dramatically in the last few years," said veteran ride operator Tom Bugler, according to a recording of his interview with investigators. "I am one that calls routinely every week for things to get repaired, and normally they aren't repaired." Bugler still works at the park. He would not comment for this story.

    In one instance, Bugler told investigators, a railing collapsed on a bridge leading to the Columbia. He said he was forced to close the attraction because maintenance had no carpenters to fix the railing. And when a worker finally arrived, it was a machinist who left the rotting wood intact and made a makeshift fix with metal.

    Before 1997, Bugler told inspectors, each ride had its own maintenance crew and supervisor. "People were just sitting in the back just waiting for something to happen," he said. "Everything was maintained in such pristine condition, we never had to think about anything deteriorating. If something was falling apart, they would come out almost instantly to fix it."


    Pressler Made Changes

    The change at Disneyland was overseen by Paul Pressler, a former toy industry executive and former chief of Walt Disney Co.'s retail stores who became the park's president in late 1994. By the time he was promoted to head the company's theme-park division seven years later, Pressler earned a reputation as a cost-cutter who cared deeply about Disney's stock price.

    Not long after Pressler arrived, the management consulting firm McKinsey and Co. was hired to reorganize the park's facilities, engineering and construction division, which is responsible for inspecting and repairing Disneyland's rides.

    In 1997, McKinsey recommended that the facilities division's budget for 2000 be cut by nearly 25% to produce a savings of $16.9 million, according to a copy of the report summary prepared for Pressler. Eventually, 317 of the division's 738 jobs could be cut, the report said.

    McKinsey said the majority of the maintenance staff should be moved to the graveyard shift to improve efficiency. The consultants concluded that entrenched managers were "often the source of change resistance." These up-from-the-ranks craftsmen lacked the skills and formal education needed to create "world-class maintenance" management. They didn't understand concepts such as cost-benefit analysis and break-even analysis. Half of these 68 supervisors should be transferred or let go, McKinsey said, and the number of managers should be cut by nearly a quarter.

    "There was a major cultural shift that focused on economics — being as lean an operation as possible to maximize profit at Disneyland," said one former park executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because he signed an agreement not to talk about the company. "The message was: Do more with less."


    Because so few mechanics were left on day shifts, for example, "We could have three rides down at any one time," while the park was open, said a former mechanic who worked on a skeleton daytime crew.

    "One time, Indiana Jones went down for a dead vehicle. We responded to that. It was a computer problem. Then Peter Pan goes down. The supervisor said 'Go to Peter Pan — leave Indiana Jones alone.' When we got there, people were hanging in the air on Peter Pan."


    Old Versus New

    Goodwin recalled a confrontation that typifies the old thinking and the new: Bob Klostriech, a supervisor who was fired in 1999, was quizzed by a McKinsey consultant who was reviewing records for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

    Why, the consultant asked, do you inspect the lap bars daily? The records show they never fail.

    "Klostriech called him an idiot," said Goodwin, who witnessed the exchange. Klostriech, he said, told the consultant: "The reason they don't fail is because we check them every night."


    ...a comment that three workers say Pressler made in January 1998 during an impromptu visit to the Disneyland Railroad's workshop.

    "He said, 'We have to ride these rides to failure to save money,' " said David O'Neill, a train operator who has worked at the park since 1957 and was among those present. "I was surprised anyone would say that."

    < Full details. > (Free registration is required to view it).

    Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 27, 2003 3:04 am/pm

    Workers blamed for fatal Disneyland coaster crash
    By Peter Henderson

    LOS ANGELES, Nov 26 - California safety officials on Wednesday ruled that Disneyland workers failed to properly maintain a roller coaster that crashed and killed a man in September, a verdict which raised new questions about Disney's liability in the mishap.

    A lawyer for the victim's family said he saw a pattern of safety lapses at the Walt Disney Co. theme park, but California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which issued the report, blamed workers for not following established procedures rather than systematic problems at the park in Anaheim, California.

    Disney on Wednesday agreed that incorrectly performed maintenance led to the accident on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which runs on a track like a runaway train. The ride partially derailed on Sept. 5, killing 22-year-old rider Marcelo Torres.

    The OSHA report said that the coaster's locomotive crashed after a wheel which gripped the rail from underneath fell off, allowing the locomotive to jump the track.

    The first passenger car slammed into the back of the derailed locomotive, fatally injuring Torres, the report said. Bolts holding the safety wheel in place were not tightened correctly and a wire to hold the bolts was missing, it said.

    "A failure to follow procedures resulted in grave consequences, which we deeply regret," Disney spokeswoman Leslie Goodman said.

    But Burbank, California-based Disney, the world's largest theme park company and owner of Walt Disney World in Florida as well as Disneyland in southern California, stressed that the ride design was sound and that Disney was committed to safety.

    Safety regulators found that some mechanics had signed off for others' work, and they required Disney to make changes in maintenance procedures and retrain workers extensively.

    "This is a serious, serious issue when certain things are taken for granted in the maintenance procedures," said OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer.

    He said the design of the ride was safe and added: "We don't have evidence that there are problems beyond this ride."

    OSHA said that some Disney workers heard strange noises on the coaster before it crashed and had intended to take it out of service after the ride which ended in the accident. OSHA required Disney write guidelines in case of unusual sounds.

    Torres family lawyer Wylie Aitken, who challenged Disney in the previous fatal accident at Disneyland in 1998 said he would continue his own investigation.

    "This seems to me to be a consistent pattern rather than a single incident," he said.

    Goodman said Disney was following safety regulators' corrective actions and retraining workers.

    "At no time have we ever done anything which we believe would compromise the level of safety required for the safe operation of our attractions," she said.

    "Our long-standing commitment to safety remains the same. Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong," she said.

    < Full details. >

    Report to fault Disney
    In the November 26th Orange County Register, Disney senior vice president Leslie Goodman is quoted as saying, "the accident was caused by incorrectly performed maintenance tasks required by Disneyland policy and procedures that resulted in a mechanical failure." DOSH's investigation is ongoing and could result in significant changes to safety procedures.

    < Full details. > (Free registration required to view.)

    Disney Takes Blame on Ride Upkeep
    The Los Angeles Times quotes the lawyer representing the family of Marcelo Torres, the young man who died in the Big Thunder Mountain accident.

    < Full details. > (Free registration required to view.)

    Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 27, 2003 3:11 am/pm

    I hope that Cast Members aren't made the skapegoats in this but that true reform is made to the entire maintenance process at Disneyland as well as firing whoever in management changed the policy away from the long-standing way attractions were maintained when things were done the way Walt wanted them done (rather than the bean-counters).
    Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 27, 2003 12:02 am/pm

    Report faults human error for fatal Disneyland crash

    Workers who maintained Big Thunder Mountain didn't understand Disneyland's safety procedures and hastily approved paperwork to show the train was ready for public use. The crew made the same mistakes on other unspecified rides elsewhere in the park, inspectors said.

    By Kimi Yoshino and Mike Anton
    Los Angeles Times

    November 27, 2003

    California state investigators Wednesday blamed a series of human errors for September's fatal crash on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, underscoring concerns by some workers that efforts to make ride maintenance more efficient have undermined the park's once unassailable reputation for safety.

    A report by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health found that workers who maintained Big Thunder Mountain didn't understand Disneyland's safety procedures and hastily approved paperwork to show the train was ready for public use. The crew made the same mistakes on other unspecified rides elsewhere in the park, inspectors said.

    When employees were questioned, "Their response was that the work must have been completed because the paperwork had been completed and signed," state inspectors wrote.

    Orlando's Thunder Mountain ride was reopened at Walt Disney World on Wednesday, after the California report was issued and cleared the ride's design as safe.

    "We wanted to be sure our findings agreed with the [California] report," said Rena Langley, spokeswoman for Walt Disney World.

    The Sept. 5 Disneyland crash occurred when two bolts on the locomotive's wheel assembly fell off, causing an axle to jam into the railroad ties. The locomotive nose-dived and its rear hit the top of a tunnel. The force snapped a tow bar holding the first passenger car, which slammed into the locomotive's undercarriage. Ten riders were hurt and 22-year-old Marcelo Torres of Gardena, Calif., was killed.

    State inspectors faulted a mechanic who didn't tighten bolts or attach a safety wire on a wheel assembly that fell off. They also blamed a manager who declared the ride safe without inspecting it, and chastised Disneyland's maintenance guidelines for allowing workers to sign for procedures done by others. They also said ride operators who heard a clanking sound at least 30 minutes before the accident and kept the coaster running weren't trained how to respond.

    The state ordered Disneyland to retrain machinists, managers and ride operators; to implement a policy requiring a test run of all cars on Big Thunder Mountain before passengers are loaded; and to require that machinists who perform maintenance personally sign off that the work was completed.

    A spokeswoman for Disneyland said the park was addressing all of the state's concerns and has already begun to retrain maintenance workers, but declined to say whether any employees were disciplined. The ride remains closed and no date has been set for it to reopen.

    "The safety of our guests and cast has been and continues to be our top priority and we strive to make sure that accidents do not occur," Leslie Goodman, senior vice president of strategic communications for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, in this case, a failure to follow procedures resulted in grave consequences, which we deeply regret."

    The Orlando ride had been closed for routine maintenance, including painting, when the accident occurred in California, Langley said.

    The maintenance, which began Aug. 24, was extended, she said, to address safety issues raised during the company investigation into the accident.

    "A decorative wheel, not necessary for operation, was removed from all Big Thunder Mountains" at all four company theme parks worldwide, Langley said. "That was the one thing we changed."

    Langley said she could not elaborate on the significance of the decorative wheel's removal, other than to say that "since the wheel involved in the Disneyland accident is a decorative wheel that is not necessary to the operation of the attraction, we have removed it."

    Orlando's Thunder Mountain ride opened in 1980 and uses technology similar to that used by the ride in California. Disney representatives said there has been one incident in the Orlando ride's history. That occurred in 1996, when a Disney World employee was clearing the track of debris and was hit by the ride.

    Disney World also has had a fatality in the past three years. In 2000 a St. Petersburg man died after he climbed out of his seat while on the Magic Kingdom's Splash Mountain ride and was hit by another of the eight-passenger boats.

    The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated and cleared Disney of any wrongdoing.

    Florida has some of the toughest rules in the country when it comes to inspecting and monitoring carnivals and small amusement parks, experts say. But a loophole exempts the state's theme parks from those rules, which include government inspections.

    After a series of tragic theme-park accidents across the country in the late 1990s, Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando agreed to let state inspectors visit their properties in October 1999. Officials with the rides-inspection bureau said those site visits gave them "a reasonable degree of confidence" in the parks' rides.

    Disney, Universal and SeaWorld later entered into a "memorandum of understanding" with the rides-inspection bureau to begin voluntarily reporting accidents that result in serious injury. The agreement defines a serious injury as one requiring "immediate admission and hospitalization in excess of 24 hours for purposes other than medical observation."

    While California concluded that Disneyland's maintenance procedures for Big Thunder Mountain -- if followed -- were adequate, the picture of sloppy oversight is in keeping with complaints by current and former park workers who say a push for efficiency and cost savings that began in 1997 gutted morale and employees' sense of ownership of the rides.

    "We didn't have problems like this in the past. We didn't have people signing off on jobs that weren't done," said Mike Goodwin, a maintenance supervisor who went to work at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., after his job at Disneyland was eliminated as part of the shake-up. "That wasn't part of the old Disney culture."

    An attorney representing the Torres family also was critical.

    The Big Thunder Mountain crash is the third major accident at Disneyland in the past six years in which maintenance arose as an issue. A park-goer was killed in 1998 when he was hit by an iron cleat that broke off the Columbia sailing ship. Two years later, nine passengers were injured on Space Mountain when a bolt broke on a wheel assembly.

    Jerry W. Jackson of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Kimi Yoshino and Mike Anton are reporters for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

    Copyright © 2003, < Orlando Sentinel >

    Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 27, 2003 12:11 am/pm

    "Leslie Goodman, senior vice president of strategic communications"

    Geesh! We don't need strategy to communicate... just tell us the truth, please.

    Mickey wants there to be a No Spin Zone!

    Note that the news reports includes a Disney spokeperson saying a decorative wheel, not necessary for operation, was removed from all of the Big Thunder Mountain attractions at all four Disney theme parks worldwide. That's the first I've heard about that.

    The big news, however, is that the California inspectors "faulted a mechanic who didn't tighten bolts or attach a safety wire on a wheel assembly that fell off. They also blamed a manager who declared the ride safe without inspecting it, and chastised Disneyland's maintenance guidelines for allowing workers to sign for procedures done by others."

    Things should never have gotten to a point where that type of maintenance procedure was made the norm.

    < Click here to read the entire Big Thunder Accident DOSH report (in Adobe Acrobat PDF format). >

    Posted by: CarolKoster on Nov. 27, 2003 4:31 am/pm

    Well, gee, it's not like new DL President Michael Ouiment doesn't already have a daunting set of tasks on his agenda to get done prior to DL's 50th Anniversary in 2005!  The results of Cal OSHA's report have implications as well for Ouimet.  But he's simply got to turn this park back into a theme park with rides, attractions, a park worth coming from around the world to visit, and a safe well-maintained park for guests and workers alike.  Eight years, almost nine years since Paul Pressler became president, then after him Cynthia Harriss.  There's so much to turn around and change and upgrade out there, it would be like reinventing and reinvigorating the park from scratch.  I wish Ouimet lots of luck, and some help, 'cause he'll need plenty of both.
    Posted by: Capt'n Jack on Nov. 28, 2003 1:23 am/pm

    Hopefully it wont be too long before they reopen the ride. I won't mind riding anything at Dl now that safety will probably be beefed up.
    Posted by: Goofyteer on Nov. 29, 2003 3:00 am/pm

    All of this is starting to make me wonder a little what I'll encounter when I go out there this Christmas.

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