A man was seriously injured after falling from the Krater coaster at Colombia’s National Coffee Park. The Parque Del Cafe in Colombia opened the coaster in 2015 as part of the park’s 20th anniversary. An attendee at the park even caught the moment on video, as the man fell from the coaster.
Honestly, at first we thought this was a joke, because of all the crazy fake videos that are on the internet, however this one turns out to be real…unfortunately.
The accident happened Saturday, and miraculously, the man is still alive though in critical condition. The attraction features a vertical lift, in which riders climb straight up, before dropping “beyond vertical” and going below the drop on the track. The ride then pulls up and into a climb before going through many twists and turns. This stop, then climb creates “air time”, which brings riders out of their seats. This is the point in which the man fell, about 32 feet to ground. While many are wondering what happened, this sort of thing has happened before.
All of the reports list the man as “disabled”, but in what capacity? According to several of the Colombian reports, the man was a double amputee, with his legs removed below the knees. This is the most important part of the story, as many coaster manufacturers specifically list that no one with amputations may ride the coaster, for this very reason.
Krater, designed by Gerstlauer Rides, has a simple lap harness. While that may give a red flag, it’s honestly a very safe system and has been running safely since late 2014. Until Saturday. There’s no official report, but likely what happened is that the man, who again is amputated either at or below the knee, slipped out of the harness when the ride hit the first “air time” moment. Because his legs didn’t extend down, he was pushed out of the ride by the natural forces of the coaster.
The parks and manufacturers are in business to make money, and an unsafe ride is a sure fire way to make sure that doesn’t happen. Parks take safety very seriously, however sometimes things slip by. This appears to be one of those cases, as the man should have never been allowed on the coaster. Several ride manufacturers have the rule in place for this very reason, and we are willing to bet that Gerstlauer did as well.
How can we be so sure? There was another ride in which a man who had been a double amputee was thrown from a coaster. It was on the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake. The man was a disabled veteran and allegedly demanded to be let on the ride. The park let him. The park was found to be at fault. Again, he hit one of those airtime hills that the coaster was designed to do, and was pushed out of the seat.
Look, coasters are relatively safe. Safer than cars. You have more of a chance of getting hit by a car, while getting struck by lightning, after getting bit by a shark than being seriously injured or killed on a roller coaster that is up to industry standards. That’s not to say that accidents don’t happen, they do…just not very often.
Again, the bottom line on this accident is that the man should have never been allowed on this coaster. The park should have never allowed it. However, as a consumer it’s also up to you to know the coaster and the manufacturer. It’s also up to you to know yourself. If you see the signs while in the line, and they say do not ride if you have a heart condition, you should absolutely not ride it. The same with a disability. They put the rules and regulations into place for a reason, and it’s only to keep you safe.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the man and his family, and we do hope he has a speedy recovery.
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