A year after a flying metal bracket critically injured a Michigan woman on the Top Thrill Dragster, the world’s second tallest roller coaster, the Sandusky, Ohio amusement park that manages the ride is shutting it down permanently.
Cedar Point Park announced their decision on Tuesday on Facebook.
‘After 19 seasons in operation with 18 million riders experiencing the world’s first strata coaster, Top Thrill Dragster, as you know it, is being retired,’ the amusement park said. ‘However, Cedar Point’s legacy of ride innovation continues. Our team is hard at work, creating a new and reimagined ride experience.’
The Dragster is one of the most popular rides at the park. It first opened in 2003, stands 420ft. tall and goes from zero to 120mph in less than 4 seconds.
The ride has remained closed since August 15, 2021 when an the L-shaped bracket smacked Schwartz Creek, Michigan woman Rachel Hawes, 45, in the head, landing her in the hospital fighting for her life.
The rollercoaster is 420ft. tall and was last inspected in May, with a following inspection due in September. Ohio law requires rollercoasters to be inspected twice a year
The metal object fell off the popular Top Thrill Dragster ride in Cedar Point amusement park
First responders hurried to get the woman on the stretcher and transported her to Fireland Hospital, where she was later transported to a trauma center
The victim was crying and screaming in agony after a metal object fell from the rollercoaster
EMS personnel arrived at the scene within seconds to help the woman, who was bleeding
This metal bracket flew off the Top Thrill Dragster last August and struck passenger Rachel Hawes of Schwartz Creek, Michigan in the head, critically wounding her
‘We are devastated by last weekend’s accident at Cedar Point,’ Hawes family said in a statement issued shortly after the accident. ‘We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time. Rachel is fighting for her life, and we would ask for privacy in this difficult time.’
A relative of Hawes declined to comment to the MailOnline when reached by phone. He would not say if the family was considering litigation or if Hawes has recovered from her injuries.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture conducted an investigation and issued a 620-page report that found no wrong-doing on the part of Cedar Point and nothing unsafe about the ride.
The Department of Agriculture did not force the closure of the ride, according to the agency spokesman Bryan Levin.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture conducted an investigation and issued a 620-page report that found no wrong-doing on the part of Cedar Point and nothing unsafe about the ride
Death-defying: Top Thrill Dragster riders are launched to 120mph in under four seconds and propelled vertically to a 426-foot peak before racing down again
The track on Top Thrill Dragster twists deviously for added excitement
Twist and scream: Cedar Point theme park has a grand total of 72 rides, including the third fastest in the world
‘The Department of Agriculture was not in communications with the park over the decision to close the ride,’ he said.
Park officials did not say if the accident influenced their decision and Hawes could not be reached immediately for comment.
Video of the aftermath of the accident recorded the painful shrieks of Hawes as she lay on the ground and emergency medical technicians provided her with first aid.
John McDermott, 27, said he was waiting in line with his girlfriend and son when he saw the object fall from the 420-foot-tall structure right in front of him.
‘I saw the thing hit the crowd, the lady fell, I heard it bounce off the concrete. It was something metal. It wasn’t a small object. It was pretty big – bigger than the palm of my hand. It looked like a metal disc flying through the air,’ McDermott told Cleveland.com.
McDermott said several people called 911 and rushed to the woman’s aid. Some took of their shirts to stop the bleeding until Sandusky EMS arrived.
‘You need to send someone to Cedar Point,’ one guest said in a 911 call, Newsweek reported. ‘There’s someone who’s in bad shape … Something flew off of a ride and hit them and they’re bleeding from the head.’
The Department of Agriculture included a photo of the metal bracket in their report. It appears to be solid steal and measure about three inches long and two inches wide.
Nurse David Vallo said EMS was at the scene in the first seconds of the incident, and transported the woman to Firelands Hospital with help from the Sandusky Fire Department, The News Messenger reported.
A statement from Cedar Point said that a small metal object had become disengaged from a train on the rollercoaster as it was ending its run.
Ohio law requires roller coasters to be inspected once a year and the Dragster was looked at in May 2021, four months before the accident.
The Kingda Ka roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, is considered the world’s tallest with a 456-foot elevation.
Add a Comment