Horror deaths of six theme park goers after slide ‘ripped people’s skin off’ and three teens drowned in ‘Grave Pool’


THRILLSEEKERS flock to theme parks in their droves to have a day of fun while facing their fears.

More than 20,000 adrenalin junkies visited New Jersey’s Action Park daily during the 1980s – a tourist attraction that contained at least 75 rides.

Riders were in control of their speed as they hurtled down the toboggan-like Alpine Slide


Riders were in control of their speed as they hurtled down the toboggan-like Alpine SlideCredit: HBO
Action Park became notorious for a string of tragedies


Action Park became notorious for a string of tragediesCredit: Warner Media
Some riders drowned while others had to be rescued after using the park's water-themed attractions


Some riders drowned while others had to be rescued after using the park’s water-themed attractionsCredit: HBO

But, a string of tragedies unfolded in the years after the park opened its doors in 1978.

Punters were left bleeding after suffering devastating injuries, while others lost teeth and broke bones.

The park gained infamy after three teens were killed in the wave pool, which was later dubbed “The Grave Pool”.

A harrowing streak of lethal incidents began in 1980 when an employee’s sled derailed while riding the Alpine Slide.

Alpine Slide consisted of riding down a winding concrete path on a cart; visitors were not given helmets.

The 19-year-old was killed after being thrown his car, hurling down an embankment.

He suffered a fatal injury when his head struck a rock.

In a documentary, one person, who visited the theme park regularly, described the Alpine Slide as “essentially a giant track to rip people’s skin off that was disguised as a kid’s ride.”

Blogger Matthew Callan revealed he fell off the Alpine Slide when he was 10 years old.

He said that he had decided to go on the ride “shirtless”.

Callan posted on FreezerBox: “I slid down the concrete on my shoulder until my scraped-up skin stopped my momentum. And you know what?

“I got up, dusted myself off, and picked up my sled so I could ride the rest of the way down.

“That four-inch-diameter open wound on my shoulder? Just a scratch. I walked it off like a kid.”

Just a scratch. I walked it off like a kid.”

Matthew Callan

Action Park founder Gene Mulvihill wanted thrill-seekers to be in control of their experiences.

Riders on the Alpine Slide could control how fast they were going as they hurtled down the winding path of the toboggan-like attraction.

Some carts reportedly couldn’t slow down meaning there were often incidents of one rider crashing into the back of another.

Shocking data revealed at least 14 fractures and 26 injuries were caused by the slide between 1984 and 1985.

Thrillseekers were reportedly fortunate to escape with burns and scrapes after going on the ride.

But, despite this, a park official described the attraction as the “safest ride there is”, according to an article from the New Jersey Herald in 1986.

The ride was apparently responsible for the majority of the lawsuits that were filed against the amusement park.


But, The Tidal Wave Pool became one of the most notorious and infamous attractions at Action Park.

Swimmers were left flailing as waves could reach more than a meter high.

Lifeguards risked their lives as they rescued around 30 people daily.

But, three people tragically drowned on the ride.

In 1982, George Lopez, 15, died before Donald DePass was also killed years later.

And, the attraction claimed the life of Gregory Grandchamps, who drowned in July 1987.


Meanwhile, Jeffery Nathan, 27, was killed after stepping on a live wire when his kayak flipped.

He suffered an electric shock before being rushed to the hospital where he died.

Nathan’s death sparked a probe and coroners revealed that the electrocutions didn’t lead to burns, according to The Cinemaholic.

The ride had previously caused a number of bruises, broken bones, and other injuries.

It was never re-opened following Nathan’s death.

Daredevils that used the park’s Tarzan Swing were hurled into freezing water.

It’s thought that the temperature ranged between 10-16C.

One customer suffered a lethal heart attack in 1984.

The park’s Cannonball Slide propelled riders vertically around a massive loop.

Adrenaline junkies brave enough to enter often ended up with their teeth embedded in the walls of the slide.

The park offered employees $100 to test ride the Cannonball slide, and crash dummies reportedly were mutilated.

Riders were left bloody-nosed and disorientated after going on the attraction, according to Decider.

The ride was closed by the Advisory Board on Carnival Amusement Ride Safety after one month.

A string of tragedies rocked the park as six people died within seven years.

Action Park was sold in 1996 to Intrawest and the new owners changed its name.

They also scaled back the more dangerous rides and developed a ski park.

Callan claimed that Action Park was “done in by its own love of danger”.

Meanwhile, The Sun recalled how a catastrophic fire in 1984 at The Six Flags Great Adventure saw eight teens killed.

The tragedy unfolded when the blaze in the Haunted Castle erupted.

Five of those killed — Jose Carrion Jr., Eric Rodriguez, Lenny Ruiz, Samuel Valentin Jr., and Christopher Harrison, had been students at Franklin K. Lane High School.

Nicola Caiazza, Suzette Elliott, and Tina Genovese from Victory Christian School also died, according to The Queens Chronicle.

The blaze left the victims’ charred bodies so badly burned that initially they were believed to be mannequins when found by firefighters sifting through the wreckage.

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Fire chiefs told news outlets at the time: “The fire spread so quickly because of the wind that apparently the victims had no time to escape.”

The park was cleared of wrongdoing but the tragedy led to the introduction of new fire safety procedures.

Thrillseekers plunged into chilly waters after using the Tarzan Swing


Thrillseekers plunged into chilly waters after using the Tarzan SwingCredit: Action Park
Riders suffered facial injuries after using the Cannonball Loop


Riders suffered facial injuries after using the Cannonball LoopCredit: Action Park

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