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Rider Killed on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain

No explanation for accident

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Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida.

Disney
Updated October 27, 2010
In a very sad piece of news, Marcelo Torres, 22, of Gardena, Calif., was thrown from the popular Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster at California's Disneyland theme park and died at the scene. Ten others were injured during the September 5 accident. According to a report in the New York Times, the coaster's "locomotive" broke loose from the train of cars as it was traveling through a tunnel. Mr. Torres was in the passenger car immediately behind the locomotive.

Officials have no explanation for the accident and aren't sure whether the separated locomotive caused the accident or was a result of the accident. The police have not ruled out sabotage. With a top speed of 28 mph, Big Thunder Mountain is a relatively tame roller coaster. Ironically, Disney launched an aggressive "Wild About Safety" program this past May.

Earlier this season, a rider died aboard The Raven roller coaster at Holiday World in Indiana. Eyewitnesses reported that the rider unbuckled her safety belt and stood up during the ride, and investigators have drawn preliminary conclusions implicating the rider in the accident.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions estimates that 319 million people visited parks in 2001. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission figures, 134 park guests required hospitalization in 2001, and fatalities related to amusement rides average two per year. Extrapolating these numbers, riders have a 1 in 24 million chance of serious injury and a more than 1 in one-and-a-half billion chance of being fatally injured.

Theme Park Safety

Disneyland Resort

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