Well, folks who looked to get away from the cold toward the summer sun of Busch Gardens in Tampa got more terrors than tans when the park’s ‘Cheetah Hunt’ roller coaster literally stopped in its tracks.
According to a local news station, Fox 13, 16 people were safely evacuated from the ride on Wednesday after it got stuck after 2:30 p.m. On the first turn. Sixty feet in the air.
Witnesses of the rescue told Fox 13 the ordeal unfolded during the peak of a thunderstorm, making for a scary setting.
The cause of the malfunction is unclear, but it begs the question: what exactly are the safety standards in an industry with no federal agency regulating it?
Forty years ago the amusement ride industry successfully lobbied Congress to remove the Consumer Product Safety Commission from its oversight responsibilities, according to Discovery News. Now there are self-regulating safety guidelines within amusement parks. The American Society for Testing and Materials did develop a Standard Practice for Design of Amusement Rides and Devices, but it will set you back $67 to view.
Death or injury by rollercoaster seems like a foreign concept only seen in an exemplified Final Destination world. However, it does happen, even in big name amusement parks.
In July of 2013, Rosa Esparza, a 52-year-old Six Flags attendee was thrown from the Texas Giant, a popular rollercoaster in the Six Flags Over Texas park.
One employee claimed she didn’t believe Esparza’s lap bar was properly secured the day the Dallas woman died, according to court documents filed, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.
With little common regulation throughout amusement parks, there is a greater margin of error.
USA Today has even weighed in on the issue, citing in a Consumer Product Safety Commission analysis of amusement rides at parks and carnivals, estimating 37,154 people were injured seriously enough to be treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2011.
Now we go back to the 16 sorry saps stuck in showers on the Busch Gardens ride for an hour. Obviously it could have been so much worse, but why did these technical difficulties happen in the first place?
This malfunction is just the latest in a continuing trend of roller coaster woes, and not the first time this ride has stopped due to technical troubles. The lack of consistency within this industry as a whole on safety, ontop of no government regulation, makes this crazy cheetah chaos concerning.
By Jennifer Newman