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Witness: Ride That Severed Girl's Feet Had No Auto Shut-Off

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - An amusement park ride where a girl's lower legs were severed by a broken cable was not designed to stop automatically in case the cable snapped, the park's maintenance chief said in a deposition.

Kaitlyn Lasitter, 14, and her family are suing Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom over the June 21 accident on the Superman Tower of Power. One of Kaitlyn's feet was reattached but the other could not be saved. She has begun walking with a prosthetic leg.

John Schmidt, ride maintenance manager for Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, said the ride should have been designed differently.

"So if a cable breaks the ride will keep operating as if nothing happened?" attorney Larry Franklin asked Schmidt in the Nov. 30 deposition that was released Tuesday.

"Yes," Schmidt answered.

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

The cause of the break has not been determined. Lawyers for both sides have not agreed on a laboratory to conduct tests.

Carolyn McLean, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Kingdom, said she could not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Schmidt said the ride's cables were visually examined twice a week, measured by inspectors once year, and changed every three to four years, if not sooner.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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