Posted 05 September 2003 - 03:30 PM
The Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A locomotive broke loose on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster Friday, injuring 11 riders, at least one of them critically, police and hospital officials said.
TV helicopters showed a triage unit set up near the ride and one person being taken on a stretcher to an ambulance.
The roller coaster takes amusement park visitors on a twisting, turning ride aboard what is supposed to be a runaway train in the Old West. Riders zoom through mineshafts and caverns, past falling rocks and tumbling waterfalls.
Posted 06 September 2003 - 01:47 PM
September 5th Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Accident
One person died and ten other were injured in an accident on
Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Friday morning. The
deceased is an unidentified man in his 20s or 30s sitting in the
front passenger car. Coroners and investigators are on the scene. One
of the injured is in serious condition. The rest are being treated
for minor injuries - all at UC Irvine Medical Center.
Details of the accident itself are very sketchy. Many agencies are on
scene investigation. It has been confirmed by several news agencies
that it occured in a tunnel and involved a derailment. The locomotive
piece detached from the passanger cars. The locomotive was derailed.
The passenger cars were not. It is unclear if the detachment occured
before the accident or as a result of the accident.
In a televised statement Disneyland Resort President Cynthia Harriss
said "I'd like to share with you that on behalf of the entire cast of
the Disneyland Resort that we are shocked and saddened by this
incident and accident that occurred today that resulted in a death of
one of our guests. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the
victim and all of the individuals that have been injured. Thank you."
A press conference by a City of Anaheim spokesperson was held at
2:30. According to the spokesperson, the victim was not thrown from
the vehicle nor is there an indication of heart attack (both were
previously reported by the media). The male victim did die on the
scene, he was not transported to the hospital.
A 5:15p Press Conference was held with Disney CEO Michael Eisner and
President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Jay Rasulo. Below is a
transcript of their statements and the Question and Answer session
(note: The first couple of words by Eisner were missed):
Michael Eisner: ... are deeply saddened by today's accident. Our
hearts and prayers go out to those injured and the family of the
deceased. Over the last 50 years the safety and well being of our
theme parks guests and employees has been and continues to be our
top priority. We are working very closely with local and state
authorities to gather the facts and determine the cause of this
accident as quickly as possible. I came down to Disneyland
specifically to lend my support to our cast, to express condolences
to those people that are injured, to the family of the deceased, and
commit that this company will continue on its mission of guest safety
and guest satisfaction. And I'd like to introduce Jay Rasulo whom I
just described as the President of our Theme Parks and Resorts who
will fill you in more as to what we now know.
Jay Rasulo: Thank you Michel. The parks and resorts family is deeply
saddened by this tragic event. Obviously our first concern is the
care of everyone whose been affected by this tragedy - Cast Members
as well as guests. As Michel says, our top concern remains the safety
and security of our guests in our theme parks.
Let me tell you that every attraction at Disneyland is inspected
every morning before any guest rides any of the attractions. We take
a systematic approach to maintenance, a systematic approach to the
safety of our guests at any and all times when they're in our parks.
Let me tell you a little bit about what's happening right now.
Firstly, our first priority is the guests who are injured as well as
their families and Cast Members who are also deeply affected by an
occurrence like this. We are providing them and supporting them in
every way. Helping them along with their medical care, counseling,
providing the resources that they need in this very troubled time for
them. There are many many questions coming into the phones at
Disneyland, both Cast Members and guests concerned about family and
friends that were here. Let me give you a 24 hour hotline number that
everyone can call. It's 800-642-5399. And that hotline has all
information about park hours, about what will happen tomorrow, what's
happening right now, all the information that we have available to us.
As far as the accident scene is concerned, state and local
investators have been diligently on this job, on the investigation
since about 11:30 this morning. They of course work in great
cooperation with us. We have not had the opportunity to get in with
our own staff and technical staff to make a full investigation of
what has gone on. Of course we are as anxious as anyone, as anxious
as all of you to understand the details of what happened, the root
causes, and to get to the bottom of what happened this morning. We
will not rest until we have the facts regarding this matter. The
attraction will remain closed indefinitely. And if you wish, at this
point, I'll take your questions.
Question: How thorough was that inspection? Did they walk the track,
Rasulo: As I said our approach to maintenance is quite systematic.
Every attraction including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is inspected
every morning before guests arrive.
Question: What does it mean to inspect? Does it mean the cars are run
through? Exactly what does it mean to inspect?
Rasulo: Yes, we run of course all the cars through and do a
systematic inspection plan according to a schedule, the details of
which - as we get into this investigation I think we need to look at
what exactly the details are of that. But we do do inspections every
day of every attractions.
Question: Can you explain was it one car that derailed in this
accident. Do you know?
Rasulo: You know we don't know exactly what's happened yet.
Obviously, as I mentioned we are in cooperation with the public
authorities in the review of what exactly happened. We don't have all
the details. I think it would be premature and irresponsible to give
you an answer to that question until we know the facts.
Question: Do you have any indication of that last timee that you did
a full inspection of the ride. Where you literally stopped, looked
down, walked every inch, looked everything over?
Rasulo: A question like that and the answer to it are really part of
a holistic overall investigation and I won't answer the detail to
that right now.
Question: Do you how many times the attraction ran this morning prior
to the accident?
Rasulo: No I do not.
Question: Does the ride have a mechanism so that it will stop if it
is having problems?
Rasulo: You know, all of the attractions of course have very
technical and scientific braking systems and stopping systems. Part
of our ongoing investigation of this situation, of course, and how
that played into the today's accident will unfold as we get into the
Question: But is there an automatic stop for this ride that triggers
when there is a malfunction or it senses there is a problem?
Rasulo: All of our attractions have triggers that sense things that
are not proper as the ride progresses through its cycle. Again, I'll
just come back and say relative to this situation, I think we'll
understand that better when we actually get in and start looking at
Question: We know there have been prior accidents on this ride. It
has malfunctioned before...
Rasulo: I think comparing the incident of this morning which we don't
really know all the details of to anything else that's happened in
the past is probably premature. So I won't get into that.
Question: Can you describe for us if you have seen the ride today.
Where the locomotive is at this moment and where the other cars are.
Rasulo: I have personally not seen that. The scene of the accident
was secured for investigation purposes by our colleagues and friends
at the Anaheim Police Department as well as the Fire Department. And
as we get into the investigation we'll understand that better. I
don't want to answer that question because it's premature and I don't
know the exact answer.
Question: Do you now where the accident happened on this ride. We
were told a tunnel. Was at the beginning of the ride, the end of the
Rasulo: It did not happen in the load area. It happened somewhere
along the track. I can only repeat that we have not been inside the
attraction to see exactly where this occurred. So let's let the
investigation unfold so we can answer that question correctly.
Question: Can you tell us anymore about the victim? Was he here with
his family, etc...
Rasulo: We don't have too many details. As you know, we are not at
liberty to discuss that. That's a better question for the city of
Anaheim and the Police Department. At the appropriate time I'm sure
they will make all that information available.
Question: What are the speeds that this railroad reaches?
Rasulo: Well there are various speeds within the attraction as you
can imagine. I believe the top speed of this attraction is about 28
mph, but that's a detail we can get further information on.
Question: What is the actual sequence of the investiation? When you
say it has been shut down while officials are looking at it, when
they finish up are your people literrally going to work hand-in-hand
with Anaheim, Cal-OSHA and say 'let's go over it step-by-step' and
when do you expect to be able to have access to it? The next 24
hours? 36 hours?
Rasulo: I think your question details the process quite well. We work
in close cooperation with the California Dept of Safety and Health as
well as the authorities here in Anaheim in any investigation, this
one included, and progressively that core team of people from inside
of our organization as well as the city and OSHA will conduct that
investigation. I don't want to give you the details and timeline of
that because they're not completely evident to me at this moment.
Question: Can you tell us about the safety record of that attraction?
Rasulo: As I said, we have a very systematic approach to our
maintenance and safety. We entertain millions of guests every year
here and around the world in a very safe environment. And as I said
any comparison to the history for this attraction really is premature
and, I think, a little irresponsible at this point.
Question: In light of what happened here, has this triggered you to
take a closer look at some of the other rides, similar rides,
couplings of passenger cars, and the like?
Rasulo: Premature to answer that question. We're just in the middle
of investigation of what, in fact, happened here. So to answer about
any detail of what we will invest or what will be the outcome of this
investigation, I don't think, is responsible at this point.
Question: Is this a ride that little children can ride on also? Or is
this one of those that has a certain type of restriction on it?
Rasulo: There is a height restriction on this attraction. I'm going
to guess it's 42 inches? (looks to an assistant) 40 inches. So that
means that children can ride the attraction, not very small children
under the height of 40 inches.
Question: Based on past history, do you believe that the Railroad
will be shut down for weeks or perhaps for months?
Rasulo: Too early to speculate on that. I don't know how long the
investigation will take.
Question: When was the last time that you and Mr. Eisner rode on this
Rasulo: Personally - I don't want to speak for Michael - I would say
that sometime within the last 3 months. I don't know precisely when,
but you know I travel around our parks all over the world and ride
the attractions all the time.
Question: Do you know how many people were on the ride at the time of
Rasulo: No, we don't. I don't have that information available. I can
tell you that the maximum capacity of such a train is 32 guests.
Don't have the detail on how many were on at that moment.
So let me turn over at this point...
Question: You mentioned earlier that you were here to express
condolenses to the family of the deceased. Have you been able to make
Eisner: No, actually the name of the deceased has not been released
by Anaheim yet due to the process that they undertake notifying the
family. So we are in the exact same position you are as far as that
Posted 06 September 2003 - 01:59 PM
Like, from the time I heard about it till I went to bed, I was flipping back and forth between the local channels, CNN, FNC, and MSNBC to see if anyone had anything besides the fact that the 22 y/o man was killed.
It almost makes me kinda scared to go on BTMRR tmw when I go to MK...
Posted 06 September 2003 - 03:47 PM