25 Of The Most Heartbreaking Accidents In Amusement Park History

Everyone loves amusement parks! The rides, the thrills, the candies, the people…all of it! Amusement parks are magical places where everyone has fun and are given the perfect opportunity both to unwind and experience elevated levels of adrenaline (roller coaster anyone?) After all they are called amusement parks right? But it’s not all rainbow and roses when it comes to some of these magical places. Sadly, there exists shocking accidents in amusement park history. You could argue that some of these accidents were caused by patrons breaking the rules, or employees not enforcing them; you might even be able to argue that these tragedies were the cause of parental neglect. However way you look at it, the fact remains that these accidents stain the reputation of amusement parks being places of safe thrills and secure enjoyment. Here are 25 of the most heartbreaking accidents in amusement park history.

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Matterhorn Bobsled, Disneyland, Anaheim, California

Matterhorn BobsledSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

Modeled after the Matterhorn-a mountain in the Swiss Alps-the Matterhorn Bobsled steel roller coaster became the site of the first Disneyland fatality in 1964, when a 15-year-old boy was injured after he stood up in the car and fell out. He died three days later as a result of the injuries.


Rolling Thunder, Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey

roller coasterSource: whatculture.com, image: en.wikipedia.org

A 20-year old park employee died while riding the Rolling Thunder, a wooden roller coaster, during a test run in 1981.  It was concluded that the employee may have not secured himself properly but the exact cause of the tragedy has remained unknown as nobody actually saw the young man fall from the ride.


Big Dipper, Battersea Park, London, UK

Big DipperSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

Big Dipper, a wooden roller coaster in London´s Battersea Park witnessed one of the most tragic accidents in amusement park history. In May 1972, a train that was being hoisted up to the start of the ride broke loose from its haulage rope and rolled backwards into another train. Five children were killed and 13 others injured in the accident.


Hydro, Oakwood Theme Park, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Hydro rideSource: en.wikipeida.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

In April 2004, a 16-year-old girl died of internal injuries after falling approximately 100 feet (30 meters) from the top of the Hydro ride, a water roller coaster in the Oakwood Theme Park in Wales. It was later discovered that this attraction´s staff often failed to check the riders’ bars and seatbelts.


Ride of Steel, Darien Lake, Darien, New York

Darien LakeSource: en.wikipeida.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

In July 2011, Iraq War veteran James Hackemer-who had lost both legs in a bomb attack-fell to his death from the Ride of Steel at the Superman-themed Darien Lake amusement park in New York. The ride was closed, but reopened after the death was deemed as an operator error. Hackemer should not have been allowed on the roller coaster due to his physical condition.

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