Amusement parks are supposed to offer freewheeling fun and diversion, but they do have a dark side. Theme parks can be creepy, and part of their thrill - especially if you're a roller coaster rider - is the fear that something might go wrong at any moment. Though the odds are small that will happen, theme park accidents do occur, whether it's in a roller coaster on tracks or a rubber tube on water. Workers with a firsthand look at amusement park mishaps took to Reddit to share some of the scariest things they've seen on the job.
The stories they shared shouldn't keep you away from theme parks, but might make you listen a little more carefully to the ride safety instructions. Remember: your limbs belong inside whatever ride contraption you're on.
From Redditor /u/JackOhBee:
I was the team leader... for one of those raft water rides that sits 12 people on a giant inner tube. A child that was maybe 12 or 13 years old had a seizure while going down the final drop. Because he wasn't going to be able to get out of the vehicle, we pressed the emergency stop, which drained all of the water, and removed everyone on the ride.
As I was waiting for the EMTs to help with the child I got a call on my radio to report to the top of the lift right away for another emergency. I ran full speed through the ride and up five stories of stairs to the top. The vehicle at the top had gone over the crest, but for some reason did not drop into the water, so the boat was literally teetering on the lift. If it had fallen, it would have been about a 10-foot drop on solid concrete.
I had to lead my team in evacuating the entire section of the park, while EMTs treated the kid with the seizure, and the fire department came to help get these people off the ride safely - all while [I was] rocking the strongest poker face I've ever had to keep.
The conversation with the people on the boat on the lift went something like this:
"Is everything okay?"
"We're just having some technical difficulties. We unfortunately need to remove everyone from the ride. Just please remain seated and we'll get you out in no time."
"Why can't we get off now?"
"Your boat stopped in a weird spot, so we just need to wait for someone to come tie the boat off."
"Are we in danger?"
"No, not at all, but for all that is holy don't bounce around too much, and please ignore the news helicopter in the sky."
From a former Redditor:
[I] spent my high school years working at an amusement park (national chain), and I've seen some interesting things. I was a water ride operator.
A rather gross incident was when we had to shut down half the park due to E. coli. There were at least two solid fecal incidents a day, and I guess some must have slipped by. Water parks are disgusting. I haven't been to one since I've stopped working there.
I also worked as a food employee there, but that's a different level of scary.
From Redditor /u/whosline07:
I worked at a wooden roller coaster with an enclosed double helix at the end (anyone who knows roller coasters probably knows which one I'm talking about). A guy came back with a splinter spearing his hand between his thumb and forefinger. [It] was a good 6 inches long and about an inch across. He calmly walked up to the person on the floor, clutching his hand dripping blood all over, and asked if we could call first aid.
He was a pretty tall guy, and [in] his own words, was "trying to touch the side." Not really scary, but when I saw him walking across the station dripping blood, it was for a second.
From Redditor /u/etherama1:
Working at an amusement park in Canada, I once let the roller coaster go without locking all of the restraints.
Of course, the car won't even go up the first incline unless the restraints are locked. But at the time, I had no idea and thought I'd just sent six kids to their [ends].