The Worst Amusement Park Ride Accidents

A day at amusement parks like Disneyland and Six Flags is usually a mix of endless waiting in line and a few short minutes of pleasure - but sometimes the ultimate nightmare of riders comes true and rides break, causing horrible accidents. What are the worst amusement park accidents? Many people fear the incidents that are on this list. Roller coaster cars flying off the tracks, harnesses not working properly, and cables coming loose.

Most amusement park rides get your adrenaline pumping but are completely safe. Occasionally though, there is an all out disaster where the machinery goes crazy and someone loses a limb or dies. Whether due to malfunctioning or park-goer error, these amusement park disasters have certainly scarred these people for life.

The most horrible amusement park accidents, tragedies, and fatalities that have ever happened appear on this list, leaving us to wonder why so many onlookers took out their camera phones instead of helping.
Photo: texasfeel / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

  • Ohio State Fair Ride Leaves One Dead

    Ohio State Fair Ride Leaves One Dead
    Video: YouTube

    In July 2017, a ride at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus malfunctioned, killing one man and sending at least seven others to the hospital. The ride - called the Fire Ball - malfunctioned, sending two people airborne and causing more to crash on the platform below. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the state is investigating the crash.

    Warning: the video of the incident (found here) is very hard to watch. 

  • River Rapids's Watery Grave

    River Rapids's Watery Grave
    Photo: BoobllaAu / WikiMedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Four people died on Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld, Australia's biggest theme park, on October 25, 2016. Accounts of the accident don't immediately make clear how the victims died; two were ejected from the ride and the other two trapped on it, though what actually killed them remains unclear. 

    Three of the four victims have been identified. Two were siblings: Kate Goodchild, brother Luke Dorsett, his partner Roozi Araghi. Their mother, Kim Dorsett, said, “I have three children and have lost two of them today... I have two granddaughters — an eight-month-old and a 12-year-old — and it truly breaks my heart to know that my eight-month-old is never going to get to know her mum.”

    According to an eyewitness, at least one of the victims drowned, while children nearby screamed. "There were kids onboard screaming while their mum was trapped under. I’d rather not talk about what I saw," a man recalled.

    Claire Wooley, another witness, said “She just kept screaming ‘Where’s Mummy? Where’s Mummy?” 

    No reason for the incident was given other than a "malfuction." The park, located about 30 miles south of Brisbane, on Australia's Gold Coast, shut down operations the day after the accident, out of respect for the dead. 

  • A Tragic Waterslide Death

    A Tragic Waterslide Death
    Video: YouTube

    Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab tragically fell to his death in 2016 while riding the Verruckt - a waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City billed as the tallest in the world. Witnesses said that Caleb's raft went airborne and hit the netting over the slide after coming down the first 168-ft tall slope at roughly 60 mph.

    Other riders had reported earlier that the slide's safety harnesses had not been working properly that day, although police and park officials did not say exactly how Caleb had died. Caleb was the son of Kansas State Rep. Scott Schwab, and was at the park with his family to celebrate "Elected Official Day."

  • The Daytona Beach Roller Coaster Sent Six People To The Hospital

    The Daytona Beach Roller Coaster Sent Six People To The Hospital
    Video: YouTube

    On June 14, 2018, the Sand Blaster ride in Daytona Beach, FL, derailed, sending two riders on a 34-foot plunge to the ground. Two other riders were hanging in another car. Six of the 10 passengers were sent to the hospital. There were two trauma alerts for the people who fell, which means their injuries could potentially be serious. Firefighters rescued the patrons stuck on the derailed coaster.

    Spokesperson Jennifer Meale released a statement to the media regarding the accident:

    First and foremost, we're concerned about the individuals who were injured last night. Their well-being and recovery is of the utmost importance. Anyone who should be held accountable will be held accountable.

    Meale revealed that the ride had previously failed two inspections in May, but the issues were resolved before the incident. In fact, the ride had been tested the morning of the accident and passed the inspection.

  • Death By Raptor

    Reason number one why you should always respect those "Restricted Area" signs at an amusement park: Cedar Point park-goer James Young, 45, died when he sneaked past a fenced-off area near the Raptor roller coaster at the Ohio theme park. He was hit by a speeding car on the ride while trying to retrieve his cell phone

  • A Ride Severs A Girl's Feet

    A Ride Severs A Girl's Feet
    Video: YouTube

    A young girl went to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and took a ride on the Superman Tower of Pride with some friends. Before the ride got to the top, they heard a cable snap, looked up, and saw cables coming from all parts of the ride, whipping around and injuring their faces. This was only 20 feet off the ground. 

    As the ride started to take them higher, they started seeing black smoke and smelling burned rubber. The girls all yelled, "Stop the ride!" repeatedly, cables all over them, even around their necks. When the girls landed on the ground, one of them smelled burning flesh. It was her severed feet. Her right foot was able to be reattached; however, her left leg had to be amputated. 

    Skip to 00:50 for the news report and the girl describing exactly what she saw and what happened as the accident went down, which is much more disturbing than any live video footage could be.