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Icon Park - Drop Tower Accident 24/03/2022

Indy

Hyper Poster
It seems like they had dedicated "fat seats" on the ride which had been modified. The ride ops must have known that they should place their bigger guests in these specific seats. That should trigger some red flags. Just looking at Tyre in his seat looks dangerous, regardless off manuals and training that can be noticed. The ride ops who are trained should have reported this immediately, if the manager didn't care then go to the authorities.
I think you are trying to give too much credit to the operators. A person generally doesn't need any prior experience in any job whatsoever to have a ride operator job. They are operating equipment designed by people who specialize in designing this type of equipment and owned by people who specialize in operating and managing this type of equipment. For all intents and purposes, they are commonly average people who just want a job that sounds fun. If somebody above their pay grade says that the ride is safe, then they have no reason to overly question it. Besides, non-thoosies think a lot of things in the industry look/seem unsafe. I've been with people who thought B&M hypers seemed unsafe because they don't have OTSRs. Heck, I've been with people who don't understand how a roller coaster train stays on the track.

And the idea that red flags should have been triggered because there were "fat seats" as you referred to them is a pretty difficult one to substantiate. It is pretty common to go to parks and see signs in stations that point to rows that are more accommodating. The average person doesn't overly question why it is more accommodating. They just trust it has been designed to be more accommodating.

At the end of the day, the ride ops did their job as they were trained to do. No blame can be placed on them whatsoever.
 

Christian

Hyper Poster
I think you are trying to give too much credit to the operators. A person generally doesn't need any prior experience in any job whatsoever to have a ride operator job. They are operating equipment designed by people who specialize in designing this type of equipment and owned by people who specialize in operating and managing this type of equipment. For all intents and purposes, they are commonly average people who just want a job that sounds fun. If somebody above their pay grade says that the ride is safe, then they have no reason to overly question it. Besides, non-thoosies think a lot of things in the industry look/seem unsafe. I've been with people who thought B&M hypers seemed unsafe because they don't have OTSRs. Heck, I've been with people who don't understand how a roller coaster train stays on the track.

And the idea that red flags should have been triggered because there were "fat seats" as you referred to them is a pretty difficult one to substantiate. It is pretty common to go to parks and see signs in stations that point to rows that are more accommodating. The average person doesn't overly question why it is more accommodating. They just trust it has been designed to be more accommodating.

At the end of the day, the ride ops did their job as they were trained to do. No blame can be placed on them whatsoever.

Probably I'm giving them too much cred. I'm just trying to understand why they trust their management in something that doesn't look safe (and wasn't safe).
 

bob_3_

Giga Poster
I feel for the operators alot here (the ride operators not the park operators, dunno what tf they're doing!)

As an operator you want everyone to come and enjoy the ride you're working on. when you have a larger guest you will move them around and push and push on the restraint to try and get that lock or green light (albeit some less experienced staff do try a little too hard to avoid the awkward conversation that the guest doesn't fit). But once you have it all locked, you trust the machine! As long as they meet the height restriction and it locks, you send it! there should not be any grey areas... and also dont ask operators to weight guests, thats never gonna happen.

The idea that the park would modify the restraints without authorisation is disgusting! I hope whoever allowed that to happen never works with rides again. I've actually been through the process of modifying a ride and it requires a lot of communication with the manufacturer, and a hell of a lot of testing. Yeah this is appalling.
 

toofpikk

Mega Poster
Probably I'm giving them too much cred. I'm just trying to understand why they trust their management in something that doesn't look safe (and wasn't safe).

theme park rides inherently look unsafe. We are blinded by this as our hobby, but there is nothing in basic human reaction that looks at gargantuan pieces of steel with huge vehicles flying round it uncontrolled, at really fast paces, that looks 'safe'. Where do you think the adrenaline of riding comes from?

My parents always used to call rollercoasters 'death traps', just because of their appearance.

To echo what everyone else has said, it appears as though the operators did their duty - as a ride host for 7 years, it never crossed my mind once that I'd strap someone into the seat and the system says its okay; that they might not be... because I had trust in my colleagues, the engineers, and the machinery itself. Sure sometimes you'd have to really squeeze someone in or you'd wonder if the scrawny child who barely got through the height restrictions would enjoy it, but you'd never wonder if they'd be okay because you've done your job to the best of your ability. Messing with that process is utterly fundamentally poor.
 
It's not necessarily pinned on the owner/operator yet though. Funtime is going to have to prove that nobody associated with them made the adjustment. I doubt they did, but they still need to prove it. Furthermore, it's concerning that 1) it was possible to adjust the prox sensor placement, and 2) that the restraint was still able to open an additional 3" just by applying 250 lbs of force.

All restraint monitoring systems can be adjusted and manufacturers provide very specific guidance on how to set up a restraint correctly.

What concerned me more was the restraint opening so far with only 1.1KN of force. To put that into perspective, I tried to force a harness open to prove a point once and managed to pick up an entire coaster car, the harness opened by less than 5mm.

I see what you're saying here, and looking at the restraint (especially with hindsight), does raise some concerns. But what should be remembered is that ride staff should have a degree of confidence in the ride; if you're checking a restraint and the system says it's locked, you shouldn't have to really question that. And if you don't have 100% faith there, you should have the faith that management and engineers will look into things and ensure everything is safe.

As someone who's worked on rides, never in a million years would the thought come in my head that a restraint system has been altered by the park without the manufacturer's consent. If a restraint was saying it was locked and the guest was comfortable, I would totally put my faith in ride.

Having faith in managers?...... You are a braver man than I am...
I have lost count of how many times I've told various managers to go get fecked when they have asked me to make modifications to a ride that range from stupid to downright dangerous.
My faith lies in the quality of the rides design and everyone elses faith should be in my ability to maintain a ride in accordance with that design.

I seriously doubt the seats in this instance were altered with the consent of the manufacturer.
In my opinion, the blame lies with whoever ordered the modification and the idiot who carried it out. I don't know it works in the US but for me, I am legally responsible for any work I do to a ride, regardless of who ordered the work. The "Just following orders" defence doesn't work because if I get told to do a job that is dangerous and someone gets hurt as a direct result, being told to do the job by management just means I get to share a cell with that manager....
 

Indy

Hyper Poster
All restraint monitoring systems can be adjusted and manufacturers provide very specific guidance on how to set up a restraint correctly.
I should have clarified that I'm surprised that it is that easy to adjust. It's shocking to me that it doesn't have its own housing to provide a fixed location, or isn't tie wired, or isn't even torque striped. Literally anything besides just clamping force in a slotted bracket.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
I seriously doubt the seats in this instance were altered with the consent of the manufacturer.
In my opinion, the blame lies with whoever ordered the modification and the idiot who carried it out. I don't know it works in the US but for me, I am legally responsible for any work I do to a ride, regardless of who ordered the work. The "Just following orders" defence doesn't work because if I get told to do a job that is dangerous and someone gets hurt as a direct result, being told to do the job by management just means I get to share a cell with that manager....
Totally agree. But I wouldn't apply that same logic to the ride host, given that it is an unskilled / semi skilled position.

To use a strange analogy...

If my chef serves food that is unsafe and seriously harms somebody (whether at my request, or not) we're both going to prison. The chef is obviously going to prison, as that is a skilled role, he's a classically trained chef who studied for years, and has a responsibility to ensure the food he serves is safe. I'm going to prison, despite not being a direct member of the kitchen team, because as his superior, I'm expected to have an understanding of HACCP and Food Safety, and ensure that processes are in place, and being followed, that ensure no unsafe food can be served.

The waiting staff member who served the dish is not going to prison, as they are an unskilled member of staff, following an order. Even if the safety issue was something that they may or may not have been able to spot themselves.
 
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I should have clarified that I'm surprised that it is that easy to adjust. It's shocking to me that it doesn't have its own housing to provide a fixed location, or isn't tie wired, or isn't even torque striped. Literally anything besides just clamping force in a slotted bracket.

Clamping force is the only thing holding most rides together and is more than enough to secure a sensor against vibration (providing the correct fasteners are used)
Adjustments are considered routine maintenance and therefore are relatively easy to carry out for someone with the correct tools. But as far as trying to move a sensor by hand is concerned... no chance. An M4 bolt tightened to 2Nm gives a clamping force of around 250Kgf.

Totally agree. But I wouldn't apply that same logic to the ride host, given that it is an unskilled / semi skilled position.

To use a strange analogy...

There's nothing strange about it, makes perfect sense to me. The waiter likely wouldn't know if something isn't cooked properly and therefore wouldn't be held responsible for it. The most the waiter would be able to do in terms of food quality rather than safety would be spotting something missing from the plate if that makes sense.
It's similar with rides, the operator would not be held liable for say a loose bolt that I hadn't tightened correctly because it is beyond the scope of their responsibility.
Although they are not expected to know anything technical about the ride beyond how to operate it, most experienced operators know when something isn't right because they are used to how a ride sounds and looks.
 

Indy

Hyper Poster
Clamping force is the only thing holding most rides together and is more than enough to secure a sensor against vibration (providing the correct fasteners are used)
It shouldn't be that way though. That is sloppy and reckless design and definitely not how we did things on the rides I worked on. A critical safety component like that should at least be torque striped once it has been set.
 
It shouldn't be that way though. That is sloppy and reckless design and definitely not how we did things on the rides I worked on. A critical safety component like that should at least be torque striped once it has been set.

The only time I've known sensors to come loose is because they weren't set up properly to begin with.
I agree with using torque seal though, I use the stuff even in non safety critical areas.
 

TPoseOnTantrum

Hyper Poster

Orlando FreeFall Announcement – Oct. 6, 2022​

Statement from the Orlando Slingshot, operator of the Orlando FreeFall​

Orlando Slingshot announces Orlando FreeFall ride to be taken down

Orlando Slingshot announced it has decided to take down the 400-foot-tall FreeFall ride attraction on International Drive. The decision resulted from the accidental death of Tyre Sampson on March 24.
“We are devastated by Tyre’s death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre’s family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall,” said Ritchie Armstrong, with Orlando Slingshot. “In addition, Orlando Slingshot will honor Tyre and his legacy in the classroom and on the football field by creating a scholarship in his name.”
The details of the scholarship are being developed and further information will be shared in the future and after consultation with the family of Tyre. Additionally, the timeline for taking down the FreeFall ride will be determined by the approvals of all involved parties and regulatory entities.

Statement from ICON Park, the landlord:​

ICON Park supports removal of Orlando FreeFall
The Orlando Slingshot leases land from ICON Park, which supports the decision to take down the ride.
“Tyre’s death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, ICON Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot’s decision to take down the ride,” said ICON Park.
 

Fluorineer

Mega Poster
At the risk of being insensitive, but what is the purpose of this? If I understood correctly, all the problems lie within who operates the tower, not the tower itself.

If anything, Orlando Slingshot has been proven unfit to be managing a theme park, so a fair solution (legally probably not possible of course but this is just me talking) would be to mandate a new management taking over. Hell, force a sale of the entire thing.

Now the perfectly good hardware gets torn down while the people responsible go back to work. Feels like a sleazy attempt to bend history in a way that people will remember this accident to be the constructors fault in the long run, because that's what people will end up thinking about a torn down ride.

If I was working at Funtime, I would have a distinct taste of **** in my mouth over breakfast tomorrow morning.
 

CanobieFan

Giga Poster
I think if the tower wasnt on land owned by Icon, it would have already reopened.
But seeing how the owners run 4 other central Florida locations, I wouldnt be shocked if it ended up elsewhere. (Margaritaville being my best guess) although I think its more likely to end up out of the country as a re-sell.

Real shame for what was a truly an *amazing* ride. I'm glad I was able to ride it the 5 times I did and even after this accident, have ridden funtime towers elsewhere with no fear.
 

Fluorineer

Mega Poster
Real shame for what was a truly an *amazing* ride. I'm glad I was able to ride it the 5 times I did and even after this accident, have ridden funtime towers elsewhere with no fear.

I think the entire concept of Icon Park being a collection of record-breaking classic flatrides was pretty neat and sort of goes out of the window as soon as it's lacking the drop tower. A friend of mine described the whole thing as the best tourist trap he's ever been to, and imo it was a great fit into the Orlando ecosystem of parks.

But then again, the profit margins of the place must be so enormous that it makes their irresponsible behaviour even more egregious.
 

Christian

Hyper Poster
Wonder if it will be melted down or if it might pop up somewhere else. The structure itself should be an almost brand new drop tower.
 

Indy

Hyper Poster
I think the entire concept of Icon Park being a collection of record-breaking classic flatrides was pretty neat and sort of goes out of the window as soon as it's lacking the drop tower.
I think there might be some confusion here. ICON Park is a large, pedestrian area anchored by the Ferris wheel formerly known as the Orlando Eye. It includes a Madame Tussauds, Sea Life Aquarium, and numerous marquee restaurants and bars as well as some shops. A few years after these attractions opened, the Starflyer was built on the far northwest corner of the property. Then last year, the slingshot and drop tower were built on the far southwest corner of the property. ICON Park was never conceived as a collection of record-breaking flat rides. It's more akin to a CityWalk with a giant Ferris wheel. This is also why ICON Park sought to have the lawsuit against them tossed. ICON Park has no ties to the drop tower apart from leasing the land that the rides sit on to the Orlando Slingshot Group.
 

CanobieFan

Giga Poster
Yeah, and that was one of the biggest issues with confusion for people who dont actually keep up with parks/rides.
Icon is basically a mall and the Funtime rides were independent concession within the property. The only reason the Star Flyer stayed open is because it's technically not at Icon, but built in the parking lot of the adjacent shopping plaza. Icon just kinda latched onto it as a draw for them as well, until the drop accident happened. (also the reason why while the SlingShot remained closed (on Icon land) the Flyer reopened the very next day. But with the removal of the tower now confirmed, it'll be interesting to see what happens with the SlingShot itself, since it wasn't involved, it just had the same operator.
 

Tonkso

Mega Poster
ICON Park is very misunderstood here, they are effectively the shopping centre whilst the rides are individual shops. One shop doing something illegal and dangerous shouldn't tar all shops in the mall.

Most of the attractions in ICON are operated by Merlin, and I am sure they wouldn't appreciate being lumped in with the drop tower operator.
 

ECG

East Coast(er) General
Staff member
Administrator
To clarify even further, Orlando Slingshot is the division of Funtime that owns and operates the ICON park thrill rides, Magical Midway a little further up International Drive and Screamer's Park at Daytona Beach.
Fun fact - Orlando Slingshot leased the area where the Orlando Starflyer sits after negotiations with John Arie, the owner of the Fun Spot parks, fell through. Orlando Slingshot was originally supposed to lease the plot of land across the street from White Lightning's station to operate the world's tallest Starflyer and Slingshot rides. However, there was bad blood between the two for years, as Magical Midway was the only place that refused to pay the annual fee to Arie, who owns the patient for multi-level go carts. Arie sued Magical Midway (aka Orlando Slingshot), but a settlement was reached before going to trial.
 
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