People watched in horror as a child was thrown from a ride at a theme park in Georgia on July 4. The 5-year-old was injured when he fell from a water slide, dropping about 15 to 20 feet. Paramedics took him to a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but the extent of his injuries was unconfirmed. The child was riding in a water tube at the Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park when the accident occurred, and bystanders said it took several minutes for park officials to respond.
The Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Division said an investigation was underway. Officials from the park stated, “Lake Winnepesaukah is a family amusement park that prides itself on a safe, welcome atmosphere.”
The National Safety Council estimates there are around 130 theme park accidents in the United States every year. Rides are relatively safe, however, the agency says, and far safer than boating or driving. The chances of being killed or seriously injured on a theme park ride are around 1 in 15 million. However, things do go wrong, and sometimes terribly so.
In Orlando in 2022, a 14-year-old fell from the world’s tallest drop tower. On this ride, people are raised to over 400 feet in height, before the seating drops at high speed. Tyre Sampson fell from the top when the locking mechanism failed to engage. He died instantly.
In a horrifying incident in California in the 1980s, a woman was decapitated when a bobsled crashed into her after she fell from Disneyland’s Matterhorn ride. Investigations found that her seatbelt was untied.
The deadliest theme park accident in history occurred in London in 1973. A cable on the largest rollercoaster in the park snapped as the cars were at their height, causing them to fall backward at great speed. Five children seated toward the back were crushed to death and 13 others were seriously injured. A total of 66 defects were later found on the ride.