The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigates serious accidents involving non-permanent rides, inflatables, and go-karts. Carnivals, fairs, and other amusement parks that move from location to location are regulated by the CPSC. Fixed-site amusement parks, such as Disney parks and Six Flags are regulated by local and state agencies and are not subject to federal regulation from the CPSC. The frequency of ride inspections, how and who reports on accidents and injuries suffered at fixed ride parks vary depending on the state’s regulations.
Although amusement park accidents are uncommon, they can be devastating. According to data from CPSC, in 2019 there were 1,299 injuries from amusement park accidents in the U.S.
Table of Contents
- Six Flags Accidents
- Accidents and Injuries at Disney Parks
- Roller Coaster Accidents
- Fair and Carnival Ride Injuries
- Amusement Park Accidents in Georgia
- Amusement Park Workplace Accidents and Injuries
Amusement Park Accidents
Which amusement park is known as the most dangerous?
Action Park in New Jersey is known as the most dangerous amusement park in the country, six people passed away from 1980 to 1987. From 1984 to 1985 there were 26 head injuries and 14 broken bones reported. The park closed in 1996 after several personal injury lawsuits were filed against it.
Worst amusement park accidents
- In 2008 a teenager was decapitated by the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia when he jumped the fence to retrieve his hat.
How common are amusement park accidents?
- In 2019, there were an estimated 1,299 ride-related accidents resulting in injuries in amusement parks in the U.S.
- This is about 3.7 injuries per 1 million visitors in 2019.
- In 2016, there were 1,253 injuries among people who went on rides on fixed-ride amusement parks.
- In 2015, there were 1,508 injuries in fixed-ride amusement parks in the U.S.
Amusement park fatalities
- According to CPSC, from 1987 to 2000 there were a total of 63 fatalities in mobile and fixed-site amusement rides combined.
- This is an estimated 4.5 amusement ride-related fatalities per year.
Most common types of injuries
According to a 2013 study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital on child injuries at amusement parks:
- 29% of the injuries were soft-tissue injuries
- 28% of injuries were to the head and neck
- Strains and sprains were also the most common at 21%
- 20% of the injuries were cuts
- 10% of the accidents in children resulted in broken bones
- The areas of the body that suffered the most injuries include arms, face, and legs.
Most common causes of amusement park accidents
- 32% of the accidents children suffered at an amusement park were caused by a fall.
- 18% of them were caused by hitting or being hit by something on a ride.
What are the top 10 amusement parks?
According to review and visitor data from TripAdvisor, the best amusement parks in the U.S. include:
- Disney World
- Universal Studios in Hollywood and Orlando, Florida.
- Disney’s California Adventure Park
- Nickelodeon Universe
- Cedar Point
- Six Flags
- Knotts Berry Farm
- Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Has Six Flags Ever Had an Accident?
Six Flags is one of the world’s largest theme park companies with 27 locations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In the U.S. each park is inspected according to state laws, these inspections help identify risky conditions that could lead to an accident impacting a visitor or an employee.
Types of injuries
Injuries suffered at Six Flags locations across the country include:
- Head, neck, legs, arms, and back injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- In 1978, a 20-year-old man died after falling off the Colossus roller coaster in Six Flags Magic Mountain in California.
- On September 22, 2001, a 16-year-old girl was taken to the hospital and passed away after riding the Batwing ride on Six Flags America in Maryland. The cause of death was a pre-existing heart condition.
- In 2005, a 29-year-old woman fell unconscious after riding the Hurricane Harbor in Six Flags America, she later suffered a heart attack and passed away.
- In 2001, a 28-year-old woman passed away from a brain aneurysm while riding the Goliath roller coaster in Six Flags Magic Mountain in California.
- In 2004, a 21-year-old park employee died after being struck by the Scream roller coaster in Six Flags Magic Mountain. She was underneath the track during a test run prior to the park’s opening. OSHA found no mechanical issues after the incident.
Who died in the superman ride in Six Flags?
On May 1, 2004 in Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, a 55-year-old man was thrown from the Superman Ride of Steel roller coaster, he hit the rail and then fell a few feet to the ground. The man lost his life during this accident.
Accidents in Disneyland
Theme parks in California with permanent rides, such as Disneyland, are required by law to report to state authorities every time a guest seeks medical attention beyond first aid for any injuries or other issues on a ride. The state investigates the most serious reports. Data from 2009 and 2010 show that the state investigated only five medical issues out of every 10 million rides taken at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
Disney World Accidents
Statistics from self-reported data from Disney World to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
- In 2020 there were 8 incidents of people getting injured and/or ill at the theme park.
- In 2019 the data shows that Disney World reported 27 incidents.
- 2018 there were 25 incidents reported of illness and/or injuries
- From 2016-2020 there were a total of 72 injuries and/or illnesses reported by Disney World, (excluding guests with a pre-existing condition who felt ill.)
- The total number of injuries or illnesses suffered by guests at Disney World from 2016-2020 was 122, including guests with pre-existing conditions.
Most Common Injuries Suffered at Disney World
Most of the injuries reported by Disney World involve a guest with a pre-existing condition that lead to the injury. For example, in March 2020 a 9-year-old visitor with a pre-existing medical condition suffered a seizure after riding the Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run. In that same month, a 54-year-old guest suffered a heart attack after riding the Toy Story Mania ride.
Injuries in Disney World in 2020
- 86 year old guest tripped exiting a ride and injured her head arm and leg.
- A 74-year-old guest fractured her leg stepping into a boat on the Jungle Cruise ride.
Deaths at Disney World
- From 2006 to 2020 there were a total of 22 deaths reported by Disney World.
(It’s important to note that most of the guests that passed away had a pre-existing condition that lead them to get sick at the park and consequently pass away.)
Disney Skyliner Accident
Reports show that the Skyliner gondolas at Disney World have crashed into each other in 2019 and 2021, no injuries were reported.
How Many Roller Coaster Accidents Happen?
How common are roller coaster accidents?
According to data from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the chance of suffering a serious injury on a ride in an amusement park in the U.S. is 1 in 15.5 million rides taken.
How many roller coaster accidents happen annually?
In 2019, data from the IAAPA show that there were an estimated 449 injuries in a roller coaster. That is about 1.3 injuries per 1 million patron rides. Of these 449 injuries, 82 were reported to be serious.
Has anyone ever fallen out of a roller coaster?
- In 2016, a 3-year old boy died when he hell off from the Rollo Coaster in Idlewild and Soak Zone near Pittsburgh.
- In 2013, a woman died when she fell from the Texas Giant roller coaster in Six Flags Over Texas.
- In 2004, a man was thrown from the Superman: Ride of Steel roller coaster in Six Flags New England.
Can a roller coaster derail?
Although unlikely, roller coasters can derail, in 2014 the Ninja ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles derailed when a tree branch fell on the tracks. Four people were injured.
Deadly Water Park Accidents
- In 2016 a 10-year-old boy suffered a fatal neck injury at a water slide in Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City.
- On July 2021, an 11-year-old-boy died and three were injured at Adventureland Park in Iowa after a raft from the Raging River ride overturned.
Inflatable Amusement Park Accidents
- From 2003-2013, an estimated 113,272 injuries were treated in the emergency department associated with inflatable amusements.,
- From 2011 to 2013, 61% of the injuries were reported in children 4 to 15 years old.
- The most common injuries were to the legs and arms with 66%.
- There were 12 deaths reported to CPSC involving inflatable amusements that occurred in
the years 2003-2013.
Fair and Carnival Rides Accidents
- In 2019 a girl was thrown from the Xtreme Super Sizzler ride at the Harvest Festival in New Jersey, she suffered fatal head and brain injuries.
- In July 2017 a person died when the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair malfunctioned, seven people were also injured.
- In 2008, two nine-year-old boys were injured on a motorcycle kiddie ride at the Carroll County Fair Grounds.
- In 2016 in Greenville, Mississippi a 6-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury when a Ferris wheel at the Greene County Fair malfunctioned.
- An 11-year-old fell out of her seat at a ride at Omaha, Nebraska’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, her hair for caught in the ride’s mechanism, and was seriously injured.
- In 2016 at the Frederick County Fairgrounds in Virginia, a woman fell 40 feet when the cables at the Super Shot ride snapped.
- In 2016, a kiddie roller coaster at the Bartow County Fair in Cartersville, Georgia collapsed. No injuries were reported.
Amusement Park Safety Tips
- Always follow the required height, weight, age, and health restrictions for each ride.
- Follow instructions from ride operators.
- Keep your hands, arms, legs, and feet inside the ride at all times.
- Always use safety equipment such as seatbelts and safety bars and make sure they fit right.
- If you are worried about the ride or see something that doesn’t look right, inform the operator or get off the ride.
Amusement Park Accidents in Georgia
- In 2005, a 58-year-old foreman from Six Flags Over Georgia walked into a restricted area of the Batman: The Ride roller coaster and was killed after a rider’s dangling legs struck him in the head.
- In 2006 a 45-year-old man died of a heart attack after riding the Goliath roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia.
- In 2008, a teenager was decapitated by the Batman: The Ride roller coaster after he jumped the fence and accessed a restricted area to retrieve a hat he lost while riding the roller coaster.
- In 2014, a 14-year-old girl fell ill and developed lung problems after playing in the Hurricane Harbor’s wave pool.
Disney World Employee Accidents and Injuries
Accident data from 2015 to 2020, includes workplace accidents and injuries sustained at properties owned by The Walt Disney Company in Florida.
- There were 149 workplace accidents at Disney World from 2015-2020.
- 141 employees were hospitalized due to their injuries.
- Workplace accidents at Disney World from 2015 to 2020 resulted in a total of 13 amputations.
- The most common workplace injuries include fractures, amputations, soreness, and pain.
- 80 employees suffered fractures, 14 amputations, and 13 reported soreness and/or pain.
- The most common accidents suffered by employees at Disney World are falling and being struck by an object.
- Falls accounted for 90 of the 149 total accidents.
Six Flags Workplace Accidents and Injuries
Accident data from 2014 to 2019 for workplace accidents and injuries suffered at Six Flags properties in Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Missouri.
- During the data’s period, 15 accidents were reported from these Six Flags locations.
- From 2014 to 2019 there were a total of 13 hospitalizations due to workplace accidents at Six Flags.
- 3 employees suffered amputations to their fingers and toes.