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View Full Version : Two injured on Xcelerator



Steven
09-22-2009, 09:26 PM
Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm in California recently was closed after the launch cable snapped and injured two riders.

When the coaster at Knott's launched, the cable broke and cut a 12-year-old boy's leg. A man also was hurt. The train then... Click here to read more... (http://www.thrillnetwork.com/news/3227/two-injured-on-xcelerator.html)

Leo C
09-22-2009, 09:45 PM
This happens to an Intamin prototype, just like at Six Flags it involved an Intamin prototype freefall.

Steven
09-22-2009, 10:43 PM
It's happened on Top Thrill Dragster as well.

By the way, I fixed the botched story, hence the restoration of comments (while still missing the old ones) and such.

Cuddy
09-23-2009, 03:01 AM
I heard that the video that was on YouTube was yanked soon after. Sounds like KBF is trying to hide what happened.

And something else that should be looked at...when the ride came back through the anti-rollbacks, the boy's seat dislodged a bit. That screams SAFE :rolleyes:

It's one thing when you're being pelted with shredded cable, but on the return trip, to feel your seat dislodge...it really sounds like Intamin could have a huge lawsuit on their hands.

coasterlove
09-30-2009, 08:55 AM
I'm curious about a few things. Some can be easily answered such as whether or not other parks closed their rocket coasters in response. Of course that often happens when a similar ride experiences an accident, other rides often close. Another thing I'm curious about is what caused the seat to shift like that while returning to the station.

What made me bring this up are the incredible pictures put up on Screamscape showing the damage. It's truly amazing what the snapped cable was able to do to the train. You can see how powerful and dangerous these cables can be under such force and pressure. It's a wonder that these cables aren't more secured so when and not if these cables snap, they're not a danger to the riders. This was a huge mistake by Intamin. What did they think would happen when the cables snap? The cable and other shrapnel has to go somewhere and the riders are in the direct path. Lets face it, these cables can and will snap. There is no certain way to know when and parks can change out the cables sooner rather than later but that only lowers the risk but doesn't eliminate it.

Leo C
09-30-2009, 09:17 AM
Cables and belts will snap. I replace this belt on the vacuum cleaner a million times. It's covered by the floor or the giant plastic assembly above it. Someone pointed out how Grandfather Anton put the catch car on the 70's Schwarzkopf shuttles for some "rear wheel" drive.

Katie
09-30-2009, 04:00 PM
I would say this is some pretty hefty damage from a cable snap...this is the front of the train.

http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/3989/db20090916xceleratoraccm.jpg

This is what the cable looked like....

http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/3937/db20090916xceleratoracc.jpg

These are the ones taken off of Screamscape for anyone that doesn't visit the site.

Leo C
09-30-2009, 08:54 PM
I didn't even get to the Knott's page on the 'Scape recently. That cable looks ugly and with any new upgrade or overhaul the coaster should come back with new paint too.

coasterlove
09-30-2009, 09:09 PM
This is what the cable looked like....

http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/3937/db20090916xceleratoracc.jpg

In that photo, you can also see the damage to the magnetic brakes as well.

Jerry S
09-30-2009, 10:10 PM
An Intamin ride malfunctioned...again. After this and Perilous plunge, I can't imagine if Knott's will ever deal with them again. Hopefully they'll clear out all the problems and reopen the ride soon.

Leo C
09-30-2009, 10:25 PM
Was that already the intention with going with the new manufacturer for the Pony Express family launcher?

Dalee4lifefan
10-01-2009, 05:31 AM
An Intamin ride malfunctioned...again. After this and Perilous plunge, I can't imagine if Knott's will ever deal with them again. Hopefully they'll clear out all the problems and reopen the ride soon.

Xcelerator is 8 years old. Its going to malfunction. Its launching cars 82 mph for who knows how many times aday with trains weighing a ton or more. Its just the downside of running a ride with cables. Millennium Force has had a cable break a few times and Dragster had it happen once. Knott's is a Cedar Fair park. They will go with whoever is better at making the ride they want. B&M is good at making certin coasters and so is Intamin.

coasterlove
10-01-2009, 08:32 AM
^The only problem with that is the fact that for any park, any ride manufacturer, safety should come first. While a ride having a problem that causes injury or worse is rare, we all hope that it will never happen. It's unlikely that accidents can be prevented entirely but at the very least, it shouldn't happen because of bad maintenance or poor design.

The more I think about the rocket coasters, the more I realize how flawed a design it is. The same is true for any ride where if the cable snaps, riders are in the direct path of the cable.

Look at the accident last year (or two years ago?) with the drop tower at SFKK. The girl was hit by a cable and had both her feet severed, why? Because when the cable snapped, that was where the cable would head. Sure, it seems that it was due largely to poor maintenance but the fact that the cable isn't contained in the structure in any way and free to come loose should it snap as it did.

We see this happening with the rocket coasters. Wouldn't it have been a better, smarter and easy solution to somehow contain the cable inside the track by having the track an enclosed piece of steel on the launch side? I can't see how after two major incidents, there won't be changes made. I'd hope that Intamin and the parks that have these coasters are smart enough to do something. Otherwise, they're just waiting till it happens again.

Racer
10-01-2009, 09:54 AM
If the cable were contained, then how would the catch car travel down the track?

coasterlove
10-01-2009, 11:13 AM
By simply having a slit just big enough for the latch/dog (whatever it's called) to connect to the cable. Or some similar solution. This beats the alternative of cables and shrapnel hitting riders every few years. And as we see more rocket coasters built, we could only expect for accidents like these happen more often if it's run like business as usual.

Jerry S
10-01-2009, 01:50 PM
^The slit, the way schwarzkopf launch coasters were made, right?

And DaleE, Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America is 17 years old, but it hasn't caused such bad problems in its lifetime. The coasters you mentioned, TTD, MF, are what I'm talking about. Whereas other companies make coasters that can be safe for decades, like The Loch Ness Monster or Superdooperlooper, Intamin can't make a model that stays reliable for 5 years. Their track record is undoubtedly bad:
Perilous Plunge
Hydro
Superman: Tower of Power
Top Thrill Dragster
Xcelerator

Have all caused injury or death due to ride malfunction and not human error (though some could argue that it's human error not to replace the cables, with this seemingly repeating theme, I'm guessing most employees have been following protocol.

And I'm not forgetting about Kingda Ka, which fortunately had no people on it when it experienced a horrific accident which shut it down for two months.

coasterlove
10-01-2009, 02:12 PM
^The slit, the way schwarzkopf launch coasters were made, right?


I assume so. I'm not sure if I have been on one. I think Greezed Lightening at SFKK is one, right? If so, then I have been on one but either way, I didn't pay too much attention to how the launch looked or worked. What I do know is that it certainly seems like it must be safer. Maybe Intamin needs to look in what they did with those rides from the past.

I appreciate new technology and pushing the limits of what's possible but not at the expense of safety. Even if these companies and park chains were inhuman and didn't care about guests getting injured or killed, I'd at least think they would care about avoiding lawsuits and bad publicity.

rjholla2003
10-01-2009, 06:38 PM
Xcelerator looks like Ka did after it's incident, but on Ka it wasn't a cable snap. It was the catch car's breaks being out that tore up the trough and threw metal all over. I believe that Ka's catch car trough is more enclosed to protect the rider and train in the event of a cable snap.

Brian F
10-02-2009, 02:36 AM
^The slit, the way schwarzkopf launch coasters were made, right?

And DaleE, Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America is 17 years old, but it hasn't caused such bad problems in its lifetime. The coasters you mentioned, TTD, MF, are what I'm talking about. Whereas other companies make coasters that can be safe for decades, like The Loch Ness Monster or Superdooperlooper, Intamin can't make a model that stays reliable for 5 years. Their track record is undoubtedly bad:
Perilous Plunge
Hydro
Superman: Tower of Power
Top Thrill Dragster
Xcelerator

Have all caused injury or death due to ride malfunction and not human error (though some could argue that it's human error not to replace the cables, with this seemingly repeating theme, I'm guessing most employees have been following protocol.

And I'm not forgetting about Kingda Ka, which fortunately had no people on it when it experienced a horrific accident which shut it down for two months.


Trying to blame the girl losing her feet on Superman Tower of Power on Intamin is incredibly lame. The manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule was not followed by Six Flags.

It's kind of like driving your car with no oil, and then saying the manufacturer made a bad car when the engine destroys itself.

Leo C
10-02-2009, 07:57 AM
We've been down that road talking about that incident in another thread and I didn't like we had otherwise uninterested posters just give that thread attention on this site. If that were the case the tower was dressed up like a pig with lipstick and was able to squeeze by state inspection.

Jerry S
10-02-2009, 11:23 AM
Trying to blame the girl losing her feet on Superman Tower of Power on Intamin is incredibly lame. The manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule was not followed by Six Flags.

It's kind of like driving your car with no oil, and then saying the manufacturer made a bad car when the engine destroys itself.

Who is blaming the girl? That's downright rediculous if you actually thought anybody on this board was blaming the park guests for a broken cable.

No one is blaming the girl. I'm saying that it's a recurring theme with Intamin coasters that the cable snaps. My point is that even though Intamin recommends to change the cable, some cables are still failing. If it were a one time thing, most would blame the park, however, if it happens on Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, Superman: Tower of Power, and now Xcelerator, I'm going to go ahead and say it's a design flaw. And Intamin is in charge of the design.

rjholla2003
10-02-2009, 12:08 PM
Are you guys reading? Who's blaming the girl? In the car scenario, the car manufacturer is Intamin, the car owner/driver is Six Flags, and the girl is what she always was, a passenger. I'm surprised that really has to be explained.

Brian F
10-02-2009, 04:35 PM
^LOL, RJ



If it were a one time thing, most would blame the park, however, if it happens on Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, Superman: Tower of Power, and now Xcelerator, I'm going to go ahead and say it's a design flaw. And Intamin is in charge of the design.

Uh, which design are you referring to? You cited four different designs, only two of which are similar.

And if proper maintenance is not followed (and I'm speaking ONLY of the SFKK incident) then to attack the design is indcredibly ludicrous. Why do you think Intamin recommended that cables be replaced within a certain interval of time? Could it be because as designers they know that cables do not last forever. Maybe because they know that cables snap when they wear out?

Jerry S
10-02-2009, 09:57 PM
Uh, which design are you referring to? You cited four different designs, only two of which are similar.

And if proper maintenance is not followed (and I'm speaking ONLY of the SFKK incident) then to attack the design is indcredibly ludicrous. Why do you think Intamin recommended that cables be replaced within a certain interval of time? Could it be because as designers they know that cables do not last forever. Maybe because they know that cables snap when they wear out?

That's fine. But by that logic, the park would be to blame, that is, not just SFKK, but also, Knott's Berry Farm, and Cedar Point...twice. If park operations are to blame, believe me, it offers a much easier solution to the problem. But if this cable broke sometime within the range of how long Intamin said the cable will last, then it's a flaw in the design.

I don't think everybody realizes what a design flaw is. It's something in the design that gives potential for hazard/malfunction. I do understand that cables wear out. What I'm saying is that their concept of using the cable, is a flaw. If they can't design a cable system which won't be hazardous in some way, that is the flaw.

Okay, now before you all start attacking me, just read this next part. I realize that the cable design was engineered by professionals, and I realize that the cable they chose was an optimized choice based on many factors such as performance, mechanics(stress, strain, elasticity, deformation etc.), safety, and cost. HOWEVER, the flaw in their choice of this design, was that it just isn't safe enough.

I'm sure that they could be using cable made out of a much stronger material. "But Jerry, that's too expensive, no park would ever buy that!"

B&M's are on average the most expensive coasters. They're also the safest. Seems a lot less flawed to me.

Brian F
10-02-2009, 11:20 PM
Then every mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic component on every ride is a design flaw, by your definition. Every component on a ride CAN fail.

What makes the SFKK incident different from the others is that we KNOW the recommended maintenance schedule was not followed. That is why I made the comment about speaking ONLY of that incident.

Would that cable have snapped if the manufacturer's recommended schedule had been followed? NO- it was past recommended replacement date.

A cable made of mild steel is actually safer than a cable made of a stronger metal because it is less brittle. A cable will flex in operation- after enough flexes, it fatigues enough that strands will start to break. When enough strands break- the domino effect starts, and you know the rest. The less brittle the metal is, the longer it will last.

I'm going to say outright that because I do not have extensive experience with steel cables in high speed operation, I am not qualified to speak on the incidents on the rocket coasters. However, the fact that most Intamin rockets have one or more cbale snap incidents leads me to believe that the designs should be looked at a bit more closely to see if improvements can be made, as well as added safety features, such as what Coasterlove suggested.

I'm inclined to believe that the MF cable snap COULD have been a maintenance issue as well. I'm only speculating, because I have no knowledge of the recommended schedule, how well it was followed, or the exact design of the cable lift.

In a slow speed operation, a properly installed cable tells you it needs to be replaced LONG before it fails. For three years now, one of my job duties has been to conduct repairs, preventive maintenance and safety inspections on cranes operated by cables. I've seen many cables in the early stages of failure. Our policy is simple: one broken strand on either of the two support cables- the crane is out of service until both cables are replaced. No exceptions. We've never had a cable snap, either. If SFKK had a similar policy in place, that girl would have had a fun ride that she would have long since forgotten about, rather than a horrible expereince she'll think about every day for the rest of her life.

How many gen2 intamin drop towers are there? How many have had cable snaps besides the one that is documented as having lax maintenance? You can't condemn the design based on this.

But as I said- I have my own questions about the rockets. There MAY be something to that notion.

Jerry S
10-03-2009, 03:06 AM
^I don't disagree with you, you're absolutely correct.

All I'm saying is that if Intamin rides have a significant amount of problems with their rides compared to other companies, even if one of them was a bad stroke of luck, they must be doing something wrong. We've already seen three accidents with rocket coasters, and three fatal accidents involving restraint failure. How many other major companies have such bad track records? It's not just bad luck, it's bad engineering.