Knott’s officials said on Friday that the ride has been inspected by Cal-OSHA, but will remain shut down indefinitely while an investigation determines what caused the cable’s failure.
Orange County Fire Authority paramedics arrived at the scene minutes after the accident, which happened around 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Knott’s spokeswoman Jennifer Blazey said a 12-year-old boy was treated for a laceration on his leg caused by cable after it came loose. One man complained of back pain.
Both were transported to area hospitals, OCFA Capt. George Cassario said. There were no other injuries. Nine people were on the ride at the time.
Blazey said the ride’s cars had just left the boarding station when the cable broke free. The train rolled backward toward the station.
A 34-second video posted on the Web site amusementsafety.org shows the train leaving the station. A few seconds later, some particles go flying up into the faces of some bewildered riders. The train stops, before rolling backward. Once the train stops, the riders signal for help while trying frantically to get out of the lock lap rests as smoke rises from beneath the train. The video has since been removed from its original site on YouTube.
The cable in question was last replaced in December.
“We were using the proper cables” recommended by the ride’s manufacturer, Blazey said. “They’re good for a year.”
The Xcelerator and all other rides are inspected daily before the park opens, Blazey said.
According to the online catalogue, ultimaterollercoaster.com, Xcelerator has a drop of 205 feet, and reaches a top speed of 82 mph. It was completed in 2002.
Irvine resident Kevin King and his son Keoni, 14, were disappointed on Friday to find out that the ride was closed.
“You look at all the attractions, and this one looked like one of the best,” the elder King said, looking up at the ride’s towering horseshoe loop. “But if it’s not safe, it’s not safe. We’ll find enough rides to get sick on.”
Editor’s note: The owner of the YouTube video showing the Xcelerator accident has removed it from the site for unknown reasons.
- John Dunphy, Team Leader, The Orange County Register, firstname.lastname@example.org