Roller coaster accidents...

Does anyone know what the worst roller coaster accident on record is? How many people total have been killed in roller coaster accidents?

Here’s one site-I’ve queried it several different ways without finding a new database.

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
Wednesday, July 9, 1980 - A 26-year-old male was killed at an amusement park in Missouri when the ride operator of a roller coaster mistakenly assumed that the train in which the victim was riding was empty, and switched the track to direct the train into a service area. The area in which the service track ran through was of low clearance, and the victim’s head got jammed between the back of his seat and an overhead wooden beam. At least one other person was injured in the accident.

Tons of stuff here. Something to note, IIRC its more likely that the crews that work and service coasters are killed far more often than customers. Its also pretty rare that more than a few people are injured in any given incident due to the redundant braking systems and such that are normal for any coaster in the last 20-30 years. Usually its one harness that didn’t lock properly, one clip that comes loose, or one person who is just a little too big or small for the harness systems to latch onto properly.

Or the rare person that does not feel the necessity to follow the rules and precautions. :rolleyes:
And/or negligence on the part of the operator(s) and riders to do a thorough test and check out of safety devices of all riders.

I searched major newspapers back to 1910 using Proquest. The most deaths in a single incident I saw was three. And most deaths, even back in the 1930’s were patron stupidity. There were a few incidences of one death, and 20-30 injured when equipment failure was involved.

This one happen just a couple weeks ago.
valley faire
No rider negligence. The ride just broke.

This page has a lot of accidents like this.

Feb 28 1927
Lad killed on ‘Air Derby’ roller coaster on Ocean Park Pier. John O’Brien (19) of Los Angeles had been warned before the ride started not to stand up. But he was trying to “show off” by balancing on his hands on the front rail as it shot around a turn. He plunged 125 feet into ocean. First accident on coaster built 18 months ago. 850,000 people had ridden it up without an accident.

15 injured at Disney last summer.

Gurney Great America had a lot of injuries on a Vertical Drop Coaster. At least once an equipment failure caused many injuries They tore the ride down years ago.

I used to ride that one (“The Edge” at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL) but it wasn’t really a coaster. A few teens got hurt on it.

See Here

Plenty of the Disney accidents have been “patron stupidity” but mechanical failure happens as well.

The ratio of people who rode safely compared to the people injured must be pretty heavily in favor “you’re likely to never get as much as a scratch on a roller coaster.”

EJsGirl, oh, I’m well aware that roller coaster accidents are incredibly rare, and that scary as they are they are very safe. I love riding roller coasters. I wasn’t asking for any sort of fear-based motive or anything, I was just curious because I know that accidents are rare, and I wondered how bad an accident had ever actually occurred.

In 1986 3 kids were killed at West Edmonton Mall’s Fantasy Land Mindbender coaster because the car left the tracks and slammed into the wall.

It was coaster failure, as oppsed to rider error that caused it, if I recall correctly.

IIRC, the last car of the train partially derailed due to wheel assembly failure, but remained coupled to the remaining cars. The fatalities occurred as three young adults were shaken out at high speed. The train failed to make the last loop, fell back and the last car slammed into a concrete pillar. The guy who didn’t get shaken out survived his major injuries.

The cars were subsequently re-designed, including new wheel assemblies and a new set of shoulder and lap restraints.

The survivor also fell to the concrete below. He suffered broken everything, but survived. I read the original news stories from the time using a database.