Last weekend, a woman fell from a roller coaster called Xtreme at Dixie Landin’ Family Theme Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before the accident, 21-year old Lindsay Zeno was seen trying to pull her restraint down as she was riding. Soon after, she fell 30 feet to the ground. Local government officials checked out the ride and reported that there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with the coaster. The ride will remain closed until a comprehensive investigation has been completed. The park is going to bring in experts including the manufacturers of the coaster to put the ride through some tests.
From the eyewitness account, it’s obvious that Zeno wasn’t properly restrained. Either the ride op didn’t restrain her properly or the restraints came open during the ride. In my opinion, the latter seems pretty unlikely. I’ve never heard of restraints coming open after a ride had dispatched. Human error is more likely the cause here, but hopefully we’ll learn more after the investigation.
In a discussion over at UltimateRollerCoaster, some are speculating that the restraints may not have been applied fully. Zeno was overweight and the ride ops may not have stuck with the proper protocol in restraining her. I can remember on several occasions (Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags America for example) where I saw ride ops forcefully pressing lap bars down on larger riders until they were able to buckle the ‘sizing’ seat belts to the restraints. They go on to note how Disney parks’ ride ops restrain riders and then ask everyone to “pull up on your lap bar”. This kind of double-checking could help prevent something like this. I’m just speculating, like these other enthusiasts.
Xtreme was designed by Maurer Sohne. It’s a spinning wild mouse-like roller coaster. Clones of Xtreme can be found at several smaller amusement parks in the U.S. like Waldameer, Seabreeze, & Lagoon. There are also about a half dozen similar models in other countries including the re-themed Sonic Spinball at Alton Towers.
I’ll post more here as details emerge. My condolences go out to the Zeno family.
Read more at WAFB: “Woman dies after falling from roller coaster ride”
Read about past roller coaster accidents.
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