5 Worst Theme Park Ride Accidents Ever – News In History

1. At the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City in the US, 10 year old Caleb Schwab was decapitated while going down a 168 feet high waterslide.


According to witnesses, Caleb went down the first drop of the slide, which is actually the world’s tallest waterslide, flew out and hit some netting that was enclosing the ride!

Witnesses saw this all go down and were horrified when they saw the blood streaked slide.

2. In 2015 at Alton Towers in Staffordshire UK, two couples, 18-year old Leah Washington, her 19-year-old boyfriend Joe Pugh, 20-year-old Victoria Balch and her boyfriend 27-year-old Daniel Thorpe were all injured when a car on The Smiler ride collided with an empty one in front of it.


Both girls, Leah and Victoria had to get a leg amputated while Daniel suffered a broken leg and punctured lung and Joe’s knees were shattered.

16 people suffered injuries in the crash but the parent company, Merlin, said the accident was down tohuman error by staff – the ride actually reopened asof April 2016.

3. In 2001 at Lightwater Valley in Yorkshire – 20 year old Gemma Savage was killed while riding on the theme parks newest rollercoaster Treetop Twister (which had been incorrectly wired) after a crash with two other cars.


She suffered fatal injuries and a damaged spine when her car sped up a U-bend and crashed into the car infront of hers before sliding back down and hitting the car behind her. The ride had been operating for less than a month when Gemma died. Tests were done by the manufacturers, installers and an independent inspection body had all failed to detect wiring mistakes which over-rode emergency systems.

During the ride, the carriage that Gemma and her boyfriend, Joseph Shimmin, were in stopped and they were ordered by staff to remain seated before their car started moving again.

Joseph said that they noticed a carin front and that’s when they knew something was wrong. They went halfway up a slope and hit the car and rebounded, then they saw a car behind them coming around the corner and they went backwards and hit it.

Joseph suffered whiplash injuries and backspin injuries in the second collision, plus momentarily lost consciousness.

4. In 1997- 33 Californian high school grads went to Waterworld for their graduation field trip – in their excitement, they all crowded onto a waterslide to see how many kids could slide down at once which caused the slide to actually collapse, resulting in the death of 17-year old Quimby Ghilotti, while the 32 others were all rushed to the hospital. Quimby’s cause of death was blunt force head injury after falling 40-feet.


Later that month, 17 of the students who were involved in the accident had to accept their diplomas inwheelchairs.

5. In New Jersey, Action Park is actually considered one of the most deadly theme parks ever because six people have died there since they opened in 1978.


The first recorded death was in July of 1982, when a 15-year-old drowned. In 1984, a 20 year old also drowned and during the summer of 1987, and 18-year-old died while in the pool.

After three more deaths caused by drowning, an electrocution and a heart attack – the Tidal Wave Pool developed the name “Grave Pool”

6. In 2004 at Oakwood Theme Park in Wales, 16-year-old Hayley Williams was killed after she fell out of a car while riding on the Hydro water rollercoaster. She fell 120ft to the ground after slipping out of a carriage from the top of the coaster and died of internal injuries.

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An inquest into her death found that the safety var designed to restrain passengers as the ride plummeted down a near-vertical chute at 50mph, had not been lowered before it started.

The park was fined a quarter of a million dollars for negligence after Oakwood Leisure, which ran the park at the time of the accident, admitted that staff had failed to ensure passengers were safely restrained on the ride.

7. In 1984 at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure – the WORST theme park accident ever happened in a haunted house.


Frank McDonnel was a volunteer for the Jackson Fire Company and remembers responding to the fire – he said that he couldn’t tell the difference between the prop skeletons and what was real.

Some say the haunted castle was lit on fire by arsonistswhile other reports say someone was using a lighter to find their way through the haunted castle and accidentally walked into the polyurethane foam padding covering the wall and set it on fire.

About 30 people werein the attraction when the fire began but eight teenagers got trapped inside and were charred beyond all recognition.

Six Flags was accused of lacking sufficient safety precautions, like sprinklers and smoke detectors, but they beat charges because the building was considered a “temporary structure”

8. In 2010 at Overseas Chinese Town East in China, roller coaster riders on the Eco-Adventure Valley Space Journey ride plummeted 35ft to the ground after one of the cars came loose and lost all power.


This ride was designed to simulate a rocket launch but spinning cars around a domed screen while showing shots of space.

There were 44 people inside the faulty chamber, six of them were killed, five were critically injured and five suffered serious injuries and the majority of the rest were taken to hospital unconscious

9. In 1986 at Galaxyland in Canada, three people were killed and four suffered serious neck injuries after riding on the Mindbender roller coaster because one of the cars was missing bolts.


This ride was actually considered the “safest ride in the world” when it was first built but the car was sent flying from the track and crashed into a concrete pillar.

Galaxyland reopened the ride seven months after the incident after they also implemented new safety measures. Now the ride has an excellent safety record.

10. In 1991 at King’s Island theme park in Ohio – three people died in a series of tragic events. The first two deaths, both 20-years-old William Haithcoat and Darrel Robertson, were a result of a rescue mission when a man innocently fell into a pond in the park so William and Darrel dived into save him but were tragically electrocuted.


Then, hours later, 32-year-old Candy Taylor fell from a roller coaster called the Flight Commander and died on impact.


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