Report: Parks shut down drop-tower rides after teen loses feet

Feb 20, 2006
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http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/22/six.flags.accident/index.html

Report: Parks shut down drop-tower rides after teen loses feet
POSTED: 1:51 p.m. EDT, June 22, 2007

(CNN) -- A teen who lost her feet in an accident at a Kentucky amusement park has undergone surgery, a park spokeswoman said Friday, while two park operators closed similar rides around the country.

The Superman Tower of Power at Louisville's Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom was shut down after Thursday's accident, and Six Flags spokeswoman Wendy Goldberg said Friday the company closed similar rides at parks in St. Louis, Missouri; Gurnee, Illinois; and near Washington, D.C., as a precaution, The Associated Press reported.

Another park operator, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., closed drop rides at Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio; Canada's Wonderland in Toronto, Ontario; Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia.; Carowinds, in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Great America in Santa Clara, California, the AP reported.

"We're going to keep these things down until we're certain it's safe," Cedar Fair spokesman Craig Ross told the AP. "We'll wait and see."

Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom spokeswoman Carolyn McLean said she has been in touch with the injured 13-year-old girl's family and believed the girl is still receiving treatment at the University of Louisville Hospital.

Hospital spokeswoman Julie Gordon would not discuss details of the surgery or recovery, citing patient privacy.

The girl's name was not released because she is a minor.

The girl's feet were completely amputated just below the ankle Thursday afternoon while riding the Superman Tower of Power at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville.

Her feet were recovered by Six Flags staff and were sent to the hospital with her, McLean said.

During the Tower of Power ride, passengers are hoisted aloft, suspended momentarily, then pulled down, according to the park's Web site. Passengers -- secured with bars and seat belts but with arms and legs free -- drop 154 feet at 54 mph, stopping "just 20 terrifying feet above the pavement," the Web site says.

A police dispatcher said a cord wrapped around the girl's feet while she was on the ride.

"I seen the car go up. Then, like, the cable broke ... and I heard a lot of people screaming," Chris Stinnett, who was at a ride next to the Tower of Power, told CNN affiliate WDRB/WMYO-TV in Louisville.

"The cable went under the car -- and I seen it pull up and hit a lot of people -- and I seen them bring their legs up,"

"We are not confirming that happened," McLean said. "There was a lot of misinformation from witnesses."

The ride will remain closed until a full investigation by state officials and "our team of experts" is conducted, McLean said.

The inspectors will interview staff members, witnesses and speak with the girl and her family, she said.

"Every ride, every investigation is different," she said.

The rest of the park was operating as normal on Friday.

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