The State Labor Department is slapping Darien Lake with two violations following the death earlier this month of a man on a rollercoaster.
Sgt. James Hackemer, an Iraq War veteran, was killed July 8th at the popular theme park while on the "Ride of Steel."
An investigation by the Labor Department finds his death was the result of operator error. It found the ride is mechanically sound and all safety devices work properly. However, "the Park's safety and operational requirements, which were visibly posted at the entrance to the Ride of Steel, were not followed by the ride operators," the Labor Department found.
The rules require riders to have both legs, because the safety devices restrain the legs, shins, and lap to hold the rider safely in the ride's car.
Sergeant Hackemer lost both his legs in combat while serving in Iraq.
Based on their investigation, the Department of Labor issued two violations to the Park:
- Operators were not properly trained on the safety and operations restrictions of the Ride of Steel- Operators were unfamiliar with the safety requirements of the Ride of Steel
The ride has remained closed pending the completion of this investigation.
Employees at Darien Lake say they offered Hackemer a pamphlet with details on each ride's regulations, but Hackemer refused, saying he already had a copy.
Police decided not to press any charges, saying Darien Lake did not commit any criminal acts, but instead violated its own policy.
Darien Lake must now abide by several orders from the Labor Department:
-All employees who operate the Ride of Steel have been retrained in safety procedures- New, clearer signage has been posted in the Park that describes ride safety regulations- Park management must now review all safety restrictions on every ride prior to the start of each ride operator's shift
Since the Park complied with these orders, the ride will reopen today.
The Department of Labor reminds riders to follow basic safety guidelines on rides at amusement parks and traveling carnivals. These include:
- Listen to the ride operator's instructions- Read and follow posted warnings and instructions- Keep hands and feet inside the ride while it is moving- Don't reach toward fences or barriers- Secure loose clothing and long hair- Don't drink and ride- Don't stand or attempt to leave a ride until it comes to a complete stop- Check restraining devices to make sure they are properly latched- Avoid horseplay- Never attempt to unlock or loosen a restraining device until instructed by the operator
Read more about ride safety.
Do you agree with the violations issued by the Labor Department? Do you think criminal charges should have been filed? Will you go on the "Ride of Steel?" Leave your thoughts below.