Deadly amusement ride designed without shoulder restraints: Problem Solvers investigation

Problem Solvers

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — The Haunted Mine Drop park ride where a 6-yearold girl died Sunday night, was intentionally designed without shoulder restraints.

While the investigation into how the girl from Colorado Springs died has just barely begun, there’s one common concern fellow riders have pointed out on FOX31’s Facebook page. One recent rider Sarah Akard wrote, “I rode that ride in June and the young girl running the ride didn’t seem to know what she was doing. My safety belt wasn’t tight and I felt like I was coming out of the ride. I tried to tell her but they started the ride. I’m thankful I was able to hold myself in. Prayers to the family and those on the ride.”

Who designed the ride?

The adventure park ride was designed by Stan Checketts in Logan, Utah who has designed numerous amusement park rides and was at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on July 31, 2017 when Haunted Mine Drop made its debut. On that day he told FOX31 reporter Kevin Torres, “We don’t put shoulder restraints on the side of your head which makes it a little bit more scary, a little bit more exciting.”

Checketts designed the Stratosphere Big Shot ride in Las Vegas, Nevada which is the opposite of the Haunted Mine Drop, because it shoots riders upward at a rapid speed before lowering them back down but it’s designed with shoulder restraints.

The Haunted Mine Drop shoots passengers 110 feet downward into a dark mine shaft in three seconds or less.

Haunted Mine Drop ride Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (SkyFOX)

“Usually as a rule every ride that I’ve ever designed with my team and built with my team, I’m the first one to ride it. In this particular case that’s not true. It’s very unusual for me to be here and not even ridden it yet and everybody’s getting to ride it ahead of me,” Checketts said back on the day the ride opened in 2017.

Regulations/waiver for the Haunted Mine Drop ride

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety, which regulates amusement park rides told the Problem Solvers a state inspector would likely visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on Tuesday. According to the state website, all Colorado amusement parks are required to undergo “annual third-party inspections and obtained adequate insurance coverage in the event that an accident occurs.”

The Problem Solvers discovered that a promotional video of the Haunted Mine Drop uploaded by Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park had been taken down Monday morning.

In addition, the adventure park removed a section from its website for the Haunted Mine Drop.

The Problem Solvers were able to obtain a copy of the waiver which states “INJURIES/AND OR DEATH may result” and “THE UNDERSIGNED hereby ASSUME ALL RISKS,” plus another sentence that reads, “THE UNDERSIGNED understand and agree that a seat belt IS IN NO WAY A GUARANTEE OF SAFETY.”

Riders younger than 18 are supposed to have their parent or guardian sign the waiver on their behalf.

The Problem Solvers reached out to a spokeswoman for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park to ask why certain items had been removed from the park’s website and YouTube, but have yet to receive a response.

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