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Topic: Disney: BTM Death due to incorrect maintenance, CA safety officials blame Disney workers< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 5:20 am/pm Quote

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.

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Carol Koster
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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 5:50 am/pm Quote

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.


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Carol Koster
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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 6:04 am/pm Quote

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.

http://www.mouseplanet.com

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

http://www.laughingplace.com

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.


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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 6:28 am/pm Quote

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:

http://www.saferparks.org/

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.


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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 6:49 am/pm Quote

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.


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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 7:22 am/pm Quote

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.
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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 7:30 am/pm Quote

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
STATEMENT FROM THE DISNEYLAND RESORT

Statement
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.
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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 7:39 am/pm Quote


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.
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andymattmom Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 8:08 am/pm Quote

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!


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RichKoster Offline

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Posted: Sep. 05, 2003 8:11 am/pm Quote

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.


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70 replies since Sep. 05, 2003 3:58 am/pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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