Universal Studios roller coaster malfunction shows importance of theme park safety
The incident is everyone's worst nightmare.
When getting into a roller coaster many of us (myself included) fear the worst, but we shake it off. We try our best to control our anxiety to have some excitement. But for 64 theme park goers, the thrill morphed into terror after a Universal Studios ride stalled recently. The frightening incident sheds light on roller coaster safety rules we should all know about.
According to The Straits Times, two full roller coaster carriages halted midway through the 1,120 metre ride. A total of 64 passengers were suspended upside down, 100 feet in the air.
The Jurassic Park-themed Flying Dinosaur ride in Universal Studios Japan attracts many tourists — including children — each day.
So far, there have been two previous reports of it malfunctioning. Back in August and September, the thrill ride also stalled midway through the course.
Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident. The riders were evacuated one by one, with the last person being brought to safety two hours after the rescue began.
“It’s scary to think (what would have happened) if we had been on board. I don’t want to ride it anymore,” a 42-year-old mum of three told The Straits Times.
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) May 2, 2018
Did the Park’s Administration Violate Roller Coaster Safety Rules?
According to a Universal Studios Japan spokesman, the halting was a safety measure response. The defective part triggered a safety sensor. He apologised for what happened, clarifying that the defect had been replaced with a properly functioning one.
It’s a good thing the ride was well-equipped. But it’s still frightening to think what could have happened had they stayed suspended for more than two hours.
When a person is suspended upside-down for too long, there is a risk of blood vessel rupture or brain haemorrhage. There is also a danger of asphyxiation because organs tend to press heavily on the lungs.
Hopefully, all theme park operators are as quick-acting as the ones in Universal Studios Japan. But it always helps to know roller coaster safety rules before boarding any ride, especially with your kids!
1. Always Follow the Rules and Restrictions
All rides — whether they are extreme or not — have age, weight, height, and health restrictions. Adhere to these rules because they’ve been established for your safety.
2. Watch How the Ride Goes Before Deciding to Ride
Knowing what to expect helps a lot to soothe anxiety. It also helps you to stay safe because you know how to board, alight, and fasten safety belts.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
If you’re worried, ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask employees about the ride. They’re there to assist you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scary roller coaster or a kiddie ride; you have every right to express your concerns.
4. Make Sure Your Belt/Harness Is Secure
Don’t be afraid to call ride operators’ attention if you feel like the safety bars, belts, and shoulder harnesses are loose. Don’t be afraid to leave a ride if you feel unsafe.
5. Keep Limbs Inside, Look Ahead and Upwards
If you’re on a thrill ride, keep your arms and legs inside the carriage at all times. Putting your arms up during drops is fine, but make sure to return them to your sides. Keep your eyes forward and and your head up. Sudden acceleration can jolt your head backwards and cause neck injury.
6. Trust Your Instincts
Observe if a ride looks ill-maintained. Trust your gut! You don’t have to board a ride, even if you’ve already fallen in line, if you feel it is unsafe or unsuitable for you or your kids.
7. Take Breaks Between Rides
Yes, you want to make the most out of your time at a theme park, but don’t force yourself to go on ride after ride without breaks. Try to enjoy time with your family at the park without trying to line up for every single ride.
To have a truly memorable family fun day, make safety a priority!