Amusement park accidents

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Amusement park accidents refer to serious injuries or deaths that occur at amusement parks. Many such accidents are reported to regulatory authorities as usually required by law everywhere. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks statistics for all amusement ride accidents. Accidents listed here are caused by one of the following:

  1. Caused by negligence on the part of the guest. This can be refusal to follow specific ride safety instructions, or deliberate intent to violate park rules.
  2. The result of a guest's known, or unknown, health issues.
  3. Negligence on the part of the park, either by ride operator or maintenance safety instructions, or deliberate intent to violate park rules.
  4. Act of God or a generic accident (e.g., lightning strike, slipping and falling), that is not a direct result of an action on anybody's part

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), a trade association for permanent amusement park facilities, 290 million tickets were sold by US amusement parks in 2010.[1]


The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported the following in 2003:[2]

  • From 1987 to 2000, there were an estimated 4.5 amusement ride-related deaths per year.
  • There were 3 deaths in 2001, 2 deaths in 2002, and 3 deaths in 2003.


According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:[3]

  • There were 52 deaths associated with amusement park rides between 1990 and 2004.[4]


In 2011, 1,204 people were injured at 400 amusement parks, according to the IAAPA.[4]


All of Florida's major parks—which include the Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay—report quarterly details surrounding accidents and other incidents at their parks. A requirement for these reported incidents is that they be fatal incidents, or that the injured person had required an overnight hospital visit. Four examples of the types of incidents that have been reported to Florida's Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection are listed here:[5][not in citation given]

    • a 68-year-old woman fractured both legs and an arm while exiting the ride vehicle of Peter Pan's Flight.
    • a 42-year-old man broke his left ankle while exiting the Kilimanjaro Safari ride vehicle.
    • a 14-year-old girl broke her arm on the Camp Jurassic climbing nets.
    • a 57-year-old man suffered chest pain while riding Revenge of the Mummy.

From 2004 through 2009, the Orlando-area attractions that attracted the most guest lawsuits were:[6]


  • In the second quarter of 2006, there were 12 reported cases of serious injuries or illnesses out of the many people who visited the various parks and resorts.[7]
    • Disney reported nine cases. Among them were: two deaths; a man who swallowed too much water at Typhoon Lagoon; three women who fell and broke their hips or suffered other injuries; two men with chest pains; and a boy who fainted at Blizzard Beach.
    • During that same time period, Universal Orlando reported one case: a woman with chest pain, numbness in an arm, and other symptoms.
    • SeaWorld and Busch Gardens reported no cases during the quarter.
    • Busch Gardens' Adventure Island water park reported two cases of people complaining of injuries.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2006, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Wet ‘n Wild and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay reported no serious injuries or illnesses on rides in their fourth-quarter filings. Disney reported 6 incidents, ranging from a guest's dizziness upon exiting a ride to a broken foot at Typhoon Lagoon.[8]


  • In the first quarter of 2007, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Wet ‘n Wild and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay reported no serious incidents on their rides. Disney reported four.[9]
  • In the 2nd quarter of 2007, only five significant incidents occurred at the major Orlando and Tampa Bay area theme parks. This marked the first time in five quarters that a fatality was not reported by those parks.[10]
  • In the 3rd quarter of 2007, eight serious injuries were reported at the major Orlando and Tampa Bay area theme parks.[5]
  • In the 4th quarter of 2007, three injuries and one death were reported at the major Orlando and Tampa Bay area theme parks.[11]

Injuries to children

Approximately 4,400 children are hurt each year on amusement park rides, but only 1.5% of those injuries are serious enough to require hospitalization.[12] Between 1990 and 2000, around 82,000 children under 18 were taken to emergency rooms after suffering injuries from amusement park rides. An additional 11,000 suffered injuries on rides outside amusement parks, such as those found at local malls, restaurants, or arcades.[13]

Of those reported 82,000 incidents, 34% occurred at locations where the rides were considered permanent, 29% happened on temporary attractions, and 25% were not categorized.

Girls were injured more often than boys. The most frequent injuries were to the head, neck, arms, face, and legs. Most injuries reported appeared to be due to improper restraints or padding, or were caused by the child falling in, on, off, or against the ride.

Notable incidents


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Amusement Ride-Related Injuries and Deaths in the United States:2003 Update" (PDF). US Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2003-11-01. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  3. ^ Heygood, Michael (3 August 2012). "Carnival and amusement park accidents injure thousands each year". Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Retrieved 28 May 2013. There were more than 15,000 amusement ride-related injuries in 2005 in the US. According to the CPSC, […] 
  4. ^ a b Jonel Aleccia (2014-07-08). "Thrills or Chills? Roller Coaster Safety a Mystery". NBC News. Retrieved 2014-07-08. 
  5. ^ a b "Central Florida theme park injuries and illnesses". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-10-25. Archived from the original on 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  6. ^ "Top 5 Central Florida theme park rides that draw lawsuits". Orlando Sentinel. 2009-03-29. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  7. ^ Report on 2Q2006 incidents Archived November 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Quarterly state reports cite "natural" death, injuries". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-01-30. Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  9. ^ "Disney deaths due to natural causes". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-04-18. Archived from the original on 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  10. ^ "Theme park injuries and illnesses". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-07-17. Archived from the original on April 30, 2009. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  11. ^ "4 seriously hurt at Central Florida theme parks at end of '07, records show". Orlando Sentinel. 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  12. ^ JoNel Aleccia (2013-05-01). "Amusement rides hurt 4,400 kids a year, large study finds". NBC News. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  13. ^ Michelle Healy (2013-05-01). "Amusement-ride injuries can happen on 'mall rides' too". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 


  • ASTM F2291, Practice for Design of Amusement Rides and Devices

External links

  • International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
  • Amusement Safety Organization Amusement ride injuries
  • US Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Searchable database of Central Florida amusement park accidents From the Orlando Sentinel, covers the quarterly government reports made by Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Wet 'n Wild and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
  • Amusement park accident information
  • Ride accident news archive from 1998 onward
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