Legless Veteran Falls from Roller Coaster

Image from source, Huffington Post
I was in the amusement industry for eight years, several of them as a ride operator. So, every time I see a ride accident--particularly a fatal one--I snap to attention. In this case, I really feel for everyone involved. Of course, I feel for his family and friends. But I also feel for the ride operators who let him ride. These operators are typically very young, possibly on their first job. They've almost universally been well trained on ride operation, but they often don't have a great deal of experience dealing with complex interpersonal relations.

And trust me, I know whereof I speak. Every ride operator must evaluate whether or not a person is capable of safely riding. And all of them are presented with a non-ambulatory child, a seeming mental impairment, intoxicated patrons, and more. All insist (or their caregivers insist) that they are capable of riding. Occasionally, a particularly strong-willed attendant will insist that a guest sign a waiver. But when faced with a full-grown man who is a veteran, but missing limbs, I'd imagine a young ride operator might be intimidated into just letting the guy ride. Like the baseball fan who fell to his death trying to catch a foul ball, this is a tragedy. But it is a tragedy of the victim's making, at least it seems that way to me.


James Hackemer, Army Amputee Dies In Theme Park Accident

An investigation is under way into a roller coaster accident in upstate New York that killed a U.S. Army veteran who had been trying to rebuild his life after losing both legs in Iraq.

Teams of inspectors on Saturday were examining the Ride of Steel coaster at the Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, about 30 miles east of Buffalo. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post