No cause found for rollercoaster accident

Friday, November 19, 2010 - 4:55pm

BATON ROUGE, La (State Fire Marshal) -- The State Fire Marshal’s investigation into the July death of Lindsay Zeno of Lafayette while on an amusement park ride at Dixie Landing in Baton Rouge has been concluded according to State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning. No exact cause of the accident could be determined. Lindsay was killed while riding the Extreme Coaster at the popular amusement park on July 11.

“This was a tragic accident and we wanted to take whatever time necessary to be thorough and diligent in investigating the cause of the accident,” Browning said.

On the day of the accident the investigators from the Office of the State Fire Marshal responded to the location and worked in partnership with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s in gathering information and evidence.

The ride in question, the Xtreme Coaster SC 2000, was engineered and manufactured by Mauer Sohne of Germany in 2000 and was sold new to Perfect Park Limited in the United Kingdom. In 2007 Dixie Landing purchased the ride and had it erected at its Baton Rouge Park.

As part the regular inspections process the manufacture of the ride and the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials conducted inspections of the ride on May 14, 2010. Officials from the Fire Marshal’s office documented it’s inspections on June 2, 2010 and no problems were noted during the course of those routine inspections.

In the months since the accident, Fire Marshal officials evaluated the entire ride including mechanical, electrical and human behaviors/actions. The inquiry also required extensive research into the car, restraint systems and accompanying human factors. Officials secured statements from ride operators who specifically recalled checking the lap bar in Lindsay’s seat at two check points before the car was put into service. No problems were noted or observed by employees during that check. In statements from persons in the area at the time of the accident, no one witnessed or observed Lindsay attempting to adjust or otherwise manipulate the security bar or its locking mechanisms prior to the ride starting.

Each car on the ride seats a maximum of four persons; two seated side by side and back to back. The car spins around as it travels through the ride experience. Lindsay was seated alone with no one riding next to her but there were two persons riding in the seats to her back.

“Obviously we can never know precisely what actions Lindsay may have taken once the car left the loading point because she was killed in the accident. That would be important information which would ultimately help us understand what happened,” Browning said.

The State Fire Marshal enlisted the assistance of David Collins, an amusement ride accident expert from Newberry Park, California to review the findings and evaluate the manufacture’s testing protocols. Neither Collins nor Fire Marshal investigators could come to a final determination as to how Lindsay fell from the ride while it was in motion. The office must officially report that the cause of the death is undetermined.

However, as a precaution the Fire Marshal will require that modifications and actions be taken to bring the ride into compliance with current standards, some actions were already underway before the accident by Dixie Landing. At the time of its manufacture and installation the ride met all standards and specifications. These precautionary measures will have to be performed and appropriate testing conducted before the ride will be allowed for future use and re-permitted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.


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