Kentucky Local News, Weather, Sports | Lexington, KY | WKYT

Faulty Cable, Operator Blamed For Thrill Ride Accident

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A teenager whose feet were severed in an
accident at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom last summer likely would
have suffered only cuts and scrapes with swifter action from the
ride's operators, according to an investigation report released
Friday.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture report blamed a faulty
cable and slow response by the amusement park ride operator as the
largest factors in the accident last June. A loud noise and screams
from passengers to stop the ride gave the operator enough time to
halt it and avoid serious injuries, the report said.

"In the KDA's opinion, the injuries to the ride patrons probably would have been limited to cuts and scrapes had the emergency stop button been pressed, in accordance with training," the report said.

Kaitlyn Lasitter's legs were severed when cables snapped on the Superman Tower of Power ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in
Louisville. Doctors were able to reattach her right foot, but not
her left.

Kentucky Kingdom spokesman Carolyn McLean said the park takes
the matter seriously and has audited maintenance, training and
safety procedures. She says Kentucky Kingdom is committed to the
safety of its guests and is working with the Lasitter family to ensure is taken care of.

The ride, which was closed for good after the accident, lifted passengers 177 feet, then dropped them at speeds of more than 50
mph.

State officials released their report following months of investigation.
Lasitter's family is suing Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, claiming
the park failed to maintain the ride and equipment and ensure
riders' safety. The amusement park has denied liability in court filings.

Speaking in Washington in mid-May, Lasitter called her ordeal "horrific" and said "nobody should ever have to go through what
I've been through."

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is sponsoring legislation that would place amusement park rides under the jurisdiction of the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer told Kentucky lawmakers earlier this year that more money was needed for amusement park ride inspections throughout the state. The ride Lasitter was on, however, had received its annual inspection, Farmer said.

Earlier this year, the Kentucky General Assembly responded to the accident by passing a state law that prevents most high schoolers from operating amusement park thrill rides. The ride Lasitter was on was being operated by a 16 year old at the time of the incident.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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