September 6th, 2003, 19:39
Join Date: Feb 2002
10th death at disneyland
ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 6) - An accident on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster left a 22-year-old man dead and 10 other riders injured.
The ride's locomotive separated Friday morning from its train inside a tunnel and was slightly derailed, but officials did not know whether that caused the accident or was the result of it.
''Our hearts and prayers go out to those injured and to the family of the deceased,'' said Michael Eisner, chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., who came to the park and spoke to reporters.
Marcello Torres, of Gardena, who was in the first car behind the locomotive, died inside the ride and his body had to be extricated by paramedics, said John Nicoletti, a city spokesman.
One of the other victims had moderate injuries and the other cases were considered minor. Six were taken to the University of California Irvine Medical Center, two were taken to Western Medical Center and two were treated at the scene and released.
The injured included two boys ages 9 and 15, two men ages 20 and 47, and four women ages 19, 21, 37 and 47. The ages of the two people treated at the scene were not available.
''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,'' Eisner said.
Some passengers were able to evacuate the ride on their own, so the total number of riders was not immediately known, Nicoletti said.
Nicoletti said it was not known how the locomotive became disconnected. The train cars behind the locomotive remained on the track.
Jay Rasulo, president of Disney's theme parks and resorts division, said state and local authorities were investigating. He said Disney's own technical staff had not yet been in to examine the ride.
''We don't know exactly what's happened yet,'' Rasulo said. He stressed that every ride is inspected every morning before Disneyland opens.
Tokyo Disneyland, which has a similar Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster, shut down its ride until the cause of the Disneyland accident is determined, said Misato Kawabata of the park's information center. Kawabata added there have been no problems with the Tokyo ride.
The ride is designed to look like an old fashioned locomotive pulling cars, which can hold as many as 32 people. Rasulo said he believed the top speed of the ride was 28 mph.
The death was the 10th at the park since it opened in 1955, said police Sgt. Rick Martinez. Not all the deaths have been ride-related.
The computer operated roller coaster takes 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.
I thought the magic kingdom(florida) had a similar ride.