The 10 Most Dangerous Theme Park Rides
Strider - Howdy. Boe - Howdy. - If you ask theme park attendants across the world, they'll probably tell you that safety is their top priority.
And while millions of people ride roller coasters and other attractions every year without any incidents, just a single bad ride or a bad incident can destroy a theme park's reputation forever. So today we'll be looking at some of the fastest and most dangerous roller coasters in the world as well the tallest and definitely most dangerous waterslide in the world. Let's take a thoughtful and respectful look back over a century of theme park rides and check out the 10 Most Dangerous Theme Park Rides in the world. And to reiterate, my deepest respects go to any people or family members who might have been hurt or affected by these rides. This video means no disrespect to you at all.
If anything, I hope my silly video can encourage people to not make dangerous mistakes like these in the future. And now onto the countdown. So what do you wanna ride first, Boo? - Ice cream. - Fine, fine, ice cream first. You want a chocolate chip again? The Derby Racer, let's step back 111 years to 1911 when safety standards weren't really a thing that existed.
Even the most basic safety precautions seemed like an afterthought. Derby Racer was an ancient wooden roller coaster, with the same name of the one that operated at Revere Beach, Massachusetts. The original coaster was built in 1911 and later demolished in 1936. So they built another Derby Racer in 1937, then demolish that one in 1948. The concept behind the design of this coaster was a pretty fun one. Twin track roller coasters raced each other in a figure eight circuit to try and finish it first at the bottom of the track.
Imagine being on one of these with your friends, falling back and tracking ahead, jumping up and down dips and curves and seeing if you can win the race. That sounds pretty cool. Sadly, though, with an abysmal safety record, excitement and friendly competition often turn to tragedy. The 1911 Derby Racer turned out to be very dangerous, with steep turns and loops often violently jolting the riders around to the point of serious injury or worse. In 1911, not long after the coaster opened, the treasurer of the roller coaster company took a ride on the coaster. When he stood up to lecture passengers on the safety of this coaster, well, what do you think happened? He was tragically but ironically very fatally injured.
Due to this being the second fatality of the year, this required a short closure of the roller coaster. I remind you this is 1911, we were lucky to get anything. During its three week closure, they installed brakes and safety restraints because apparently they didn't have that before. You mean it didn't have brakes or safety restraint? Surely that's just common sense: that shouldn't be like a required safety thing.
I guess in 1911, two deaths was like water cooler conversation. Oh, hey, you hear Bill died on roller coaster last week? Oh, yeah, I miss him. Two people died on this, should we maybe do something about this, maybe install some brakes. I guess in 1911, maybe at five deaths you might have got a slap on the wrist.
But even after the safety precautions, the Derby Racer continued to be a horrifying danger. In 1917, the restraints didn't turn out to be much good when a guy lost his hat on the ride and fell out while trying to recover it. Also, we didn't even know basic first aid back then, what chance did he have? In 1923 another group was severely injured on the coaster and in 1929 another person fell out of the coaster.
And it wasn't until this and a case of negligence against the amusement park that they finally put in some more safety precautions. But even then, that case was dismissed despite someone dying, welcome to 1929. In 1936, the Derby Racer coaster was finally demolished and thank Jeebus for that. But no, no, not because of its poor safety record, no, no, because it had to be replaced by a new Derby Racer for 1937.
It's very hard to track down records back then but this one was also demolished in 1948. Hopefully it was at least a little bit safer. Number nine, Nurburing's Ring Racer.
Formula One races are among the fastest cars in the world. So why not turn that car into a roller coaster? Surely nothing could go wrong with that, right? Well, let's travel to the Grand Prix track at Nuremberg, Germany. This roller coaster was fabled to be the fastest coaster in the world.
This formula one themed roller coaster was designed to accelerate from a launch pad at zero to 217 kilometers per hour in two and a half seconds. To put it in perspective, that's acceleration twice as fast as a form One race car. - [Announcer] Then compete with a Formula One drivers in the fastest amusement ride in the world. - The coaster was placed parallel to the Grand Prix track and set to launch the second the Grand Prix race started. The idea was for the roller coaster to race the racers themselves. And that's a pretty cool idea.
The ride was intended to attract more people, so the F1 Grand Prix track and the ride's testing process on lower power was successful. Unfortunately, when tested on full power, well, the ride exploit, which is never a good thing. This caused big chunks of iron debris to fly off the ride. In 2009, six workers sustained injuries due to the explosion and this delayed the opening of the ride until 2013.
Because why would a ride exploding stop it from opening? Why did it take till 2013 to open? Well, in 2011, it exploded again. Nuts and bolts was sent flying but fortunately this time, no one was hurt. But after repeated tests and upgrading, the ride was finally opened in 2013. Unfortunately, the ride was only open for four days before closing permanently.
The company in charge of Nurburing's Ring announced it was uneconomical to operate the ride. But if that was the case, why didn't they figure that out earlier? You know, maybe before the second explosion. My personal guess is the ride exploded again. Or who knows? Maybe it was something to do with the ride shady history behind the scenes. Originally the Nurburing's Ring used forgeries in order to illegally obtain government subsidies for the building of the complex.
When the courts discovered this, banks withdrew from the project, ministers went to jail and general all hell broke loose. The ride also received next to negative reviews in the four days it was open. Apparently it was too straight and boring. Well better to be boring than exploding. So it's probably a combination of all these things.
But as of 2022, the ride actually hasn't been demolished yet. So who knows if you wanted to, maybe someday you can ride at speeds as though you just jumped free fall out of an airplane. I personally can't understand people who want to do that but hey, I review SpongeBob for a living, what do I know? - Hey Josh (whispering). - No way, I can't ride that, it's too scary. What if I watch you ride it? - Yay! - The Luna Park Ghost Train Fire. This ride is believed to have been first constructed nearly 100 years ago in 1931 in Sydney, Australia.
The Ghost Train is infamous in Australian theme park history. On June 1979, a fire engulf the train, it completely destroyed the ride. This fire killed seven people.
It was a horrible tragedy. The blaze broke out at 10:15 p.m. It was believed at the time about 35 people were on the ride.
The alarm was raised when thick smoke began to escape the tunnel doors. Staff did their best to control the blaze, but because of low staff and the hose not completely reaching all the way through the ride, the train was completely destroyed. As for what caused the fire well, that's where things get very strange.
At first, the park assumed it was because of an electrical fault. However, a full inquest later, it showed that the cause was unknown and for 28 years, we didn't know, that was it. But in 2007, it was discovered it might have been caused by the Sydney mafia. A niece of a Sydney mafia boss was being interviewed and she revealed that her uncle, Abe Saffron, started the fire himself. Apparently it was part of his plan to gain control of the Luna Park lease. As Luna Park is prime real estate in the middle of Sydney Harbor and worth a fortune.
It seems like he wanted to build apartments on Luna Park's ashes. Honestly, it sounds like something out of a crime drama but that seems to be the most likely cause. Even today, Luna Park is seen as a massive noise hazard to all the houses around, so it really detracts some property value. - [Reporter] Last year, Luna Park was on its knees facing a court battle fueled by locals who didn't like the noise and the government who wanted the park to go through a development approvals process every time a new ride came in. - We're very conscious of noise in the area, we are good neighbors like that. - But regardless, the fire escalating is seen as partially Luna Park's fault.
The ride itself didn't have enough firefighting measures. During construction, it was even advised that the ride should have a sprinkler system but it was never installed. For a while, Luna Park was completely closed but in 1982, the park reopened under new management. In 1995, a memorial garden was installed at Luna Park. This was to remember both the ghost train and the people who lost their lives that day.
A separate Memorial Park was also made by the council in 2007. Here a sculpture stands to remember those lost and my respects go to all the Luna Park staff who've kept the place running and respected those memories. - [Announcer] Get more airtime at Sydney's Luna Park, where the fun just got serious. - And before we continue, I'd like to invite an old friend of mine. He runs his own plus channel but he's also a big fan of theme parks. Hey, Luigifan, you wanna help out? - [Matt] Hey, Josh, great to finally be here.
I've learned a lot about being parks, I'd be glad to help out. - Well, it's great to finally have an excuse to have you here, Matt. Let's continue. (Boo screaming) Yeah, I see a Boo, be careful. The Verruckt in Schlitterbahn Waterpark. - [Matt] Did you know the German word Verruckt means crazy or insane? - It does? Well this monstrosity certainly lived up to that name.
The slide measured at 168 feet which 51 meters. It was in fact the tallest waterslide in the world, surpassing even Kilimanjaro in Aguas Park in Brazil. - [Matt] Schlitterbahn announced plans for the creation of the Verruckt waterslide to open in summer 2013. Their intent was to create a slide with 2 drops. The initial being a 17 storey plunge, leading to a 5 storey climb then a second plunge. - The builder, Henry, had failed to pitch his idea to other vendors, so he said, to hell with it, I'll build it myself..
- Every bit of advice we've been given from the brightest brains and the smartest engineers just have not been correct. - However, this is where the problems begin because during construction, Henry pressed the designers to complete his ride at a faster pace than usual. For calculations that usually took 3 to 5 months, he pushed the team to get it done in 5 weeks. What could possibly go wrong? Many corners were cut and the team was worked to the bone. When the ride finally opened in July 2014, an employee had observed guests going airborne from day one. This did not bond well and was very concerning to him.
- [Matt] Two months after the slide officially opened, Verruckt was voted the worlds best new waterpark ride. However, there had already been at least 13 riders who suffered non-fatal injuries while riding the slide. Yet, for some reason, 13 incidents later, it still continued to operate. - In 2016, the park even attempted to cover up an incident where a man was thrown from the raft and suffered facial injuries. Apparently management had told lifeguards a coverup story for their incident reports. Now surely that is worth closing the ride for.
But nope, the ride stayed open and the problems continued. And worst of all, by 2016, a 10 year old boy tragically lost his life while riding the slide . The boy had been placed at the front of the raft instead of between the two women accompanying him. This uneven distribution caused the raft to go airborne and this sadly ended in tragedy.
3 months after this, following a criminal investigation, it officially announced that the Verruckt slide would be demolished. So this ride lasted 2 years before being destroyed due to outright obvious dangers from the start. - [Matt] As absolutely tragic as this is, there was some silver lining to the slide's issues gaining publicity. Following this incident, the boys father managed to get legislation passed. These law changes were on ride inspection standards.
- Well hopefully, these law changes will assure that future rides will be much safer for any guests. - Aw, come on. - Well, only if it's a gentler roller coaster and you have to ride next to me.
- Yeah! - Okay, okay, let's go. - Yeah! - The Catapult at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park. - [Matt] Mt. Olympus has a reputation of sorts. It's known by many as "an accident waiting to happen." And if you visit this Wisconsin park, you go at your own risk.
- The park is named after the great mountain in Greece where Greek gods are said to live. It features an interesting combination of both indoor and outdoor waterpark and theme park rides. But today, we're looking at Mt Olympus's notorious Catapult. The Catapult is a large slingshot style ride. A bullet shaped capsule houses 2 people and is suspended between 2 tall poles by bungey cables.
Then they're released in the air like a slingshot. (riders shouting) - [Matt] The catapult was loved by many thrill seekers who were looking for an adrenaline rush. That was until July 2015 when a boy and his friend narrowly escaped serious injury or worse. They were being strapped into the catapult then suddenly, the bungey cord just snapped and just missed hitting its occupants. - [Reporter] As soon as they were just getting ready to pull the lever and that line come crashing down and right into the pavement. - [Matt] Luckily, this incident happened before the ride launched.
Otherwise this could've been much more tragic. - When this happened, the catapult was immediately closed for inspections. They found that the ride had passed it's most recent inspection.
However, they never actually inspected the wire or hoist that held the bullet capsule which is like catastrophically stupid because that wire is literally holding 2 people's lives in the balance. To inspectors even found that the operators of the catapult didn't even know basic CPR or first aid. And that's really basic stuff, it's like a weekend course. I mean, I've known First Aid since I was 16.
It can literally save a life, so why wouldn't you. - [Matt] Yeah in many theme parks, it's mandatory that staff know CPR and first aid. - Due to such a close incident and the massive safety risk of the Catapult, the ride was permanently closed and removed from the park. The park was also cited to have had many other safety incidents including a lap bar malfunction on the indoor rollercoaster in the theme park as well as a near drowning in the indoor waterpark. But most sadly, a fatal accident happened in the Water Kingdom section.
Tragically a 16 year old fell 35 feet from the Dragons Tail water slide. Despite these incidents, the park is still in operation today hopefully with some serious upgrades to the safety of the Dragons Tail waterslide if not just demolishing it altogether. Hopefully their new rides have much higher safety standards because the true beauty of barreling down that waterslide or roller coaster is knowing that you are completely safe. - [Dru] Thinking all kinds of things, what could have happened. - Here we go, here we go, roll.
The Shotgun Amazon half slide. - [Matt] Hey, wasn't the shotgun slide from your country, Strider? - Yeah, it sure was. Good ole Amazon aquatic adventure land was a water park in my home country Australia. While originally it was a massive tourist destination, a dangerous ride caused its attendance to decline until it closed.
And in some ways, it's a shame because this park did give a lot of people a lot of fun and it had all sorts of cool rides like this flying fox and this super awesome four storey jumping deck. However, one of the rides should never have opened because it was not only scary, but very dangerous. The Shotgun, it was quite a unique design for a waterslide. Think of a sawn off shotgun except humans are used as live bullets. You can probably see where I'm going with this: the ride would send people hurtling down a steep decline at breakneck pace before the slides suddenly ended midair leaving you to free fall plummet into the pool below. I know it sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately, the ride wasn't safe and this led to a completely unnecessary tragedy.
On October 1999, a child was left unattended on the slide and tragically they were later found drowned. After this incident, there was an inquest in the park safety and wouldn't you know it? Two years later, the park had to close. However, it's only fair that I mentioned the other notorious massive problem with this slide.
I could be wrong the reports have been given, it gives a massive wedgie, I mean really bad. All genders did not appreciate this slide. I in fact did recently interview a female victim of this dangerous slide and they had this to say. - [Victim] Right off the back and front, it freaking hurt. - [Boo] You're okay? - Yeah, I'm okay, thanks Boo. Number four, The Disney World Monorail.
- [Matt] Oh yeah, here we go, my favorite theme park. Let's chat about a familiar place to me and many other people, Disney World. But with all of their more dangerous looking rides, I didn't expect their most tragic ride accident to be with their monorail. The monorail system has been used for over 50 years now to shuttle thousands of visitors around the sprawling resort each day. But back in 2009 at 2:00 a.m. on the Disney monorail,
a really important track switch was never activated. - This caused the train to reverse down the wrong line and two Disney monorails collided. In this horrible event, a driver was killed but fortunately the other driver and the passengers were uninjured.
Though the other driver did go to hospital because obviously, he was very shaken up. The reverse crash did 24 million dollars worth property damage too. When Disney was interviewed, they said it was the first fatal crash in the 38 years the monorail had been operating, which is a long time but obviously any casualty rate higher than zero is an outright tragedy.
- [Matt] Strangely, in this case, not even Disney could figure out what caused the crash. Obviously the monorail was shut down after the incident. The US Safety Commission said they cited Disney for four safety violations and fined 35 grand but that's broken chump change to Disney.
But hey, it led to new safety precautions being added. - Got any examples of safety precautions? - [Matt] Well there was a fun rule before this accident. Four passengers could sit up front with the driver in the Disney co-pilot program and honestly, a lot of kids leapt at the idea of getting to sit with the train driver at Disney World. I know I did when I was a kid but understandably, after this incident, passengers are always kept safely in the carriage. - Hey, Boo, how about a carnival game? - Yeah. - All right.
The Thunder River Rapids ride. This was in Dreamworld, Australia my home country. This ride was actually around for about 30 years. In fact, I still remember riding it in 2001 on a school excursion with my classmates. Originally it was located in the town of Gold Rush section of Dreamworld.
However, this incident combined with a pandemic has turned Dreamworld into a mostly abandoned ghost town. - [Matt] The entire park? Geez, that must have been serious. What happened on the ride? - Well, there was a tragic incident on this ride in 2016. One day a water pump on the ride failed and this caused the raft to flip. And in a horrible accident, four people were killed.
- [Matt] That's horrible. - Yeah it was a tragedy known throughout all of my country. Our Prime Minister at the time, Malcolm Turnbull, even went on air to express his condolences to the families. - All of our colleagues' thoughts and prayers and all Australian thoughts and prayers are with the families at this very sad time.
- Understandably, Dreamworld was fined $3.6 million for the incidents, and this was deemed the worst Australian theme park accidents since the 1979 Ghost Train incident at Luna Park. Both are remembered for being absolutely terrible and once a professional stepped into investigate, we learned just how dangerous this ride had been the whole time. The ride operator admitted to breaching safety standards.
Upon investigating they said it was only a matter of time before this happened. Why? Well, the ride's safety risk had not been assessed in over 30 years. That is just appalling. The silver lining to this incident is that this caused a massive overhaul of theme parks safety in my country. These new theme parks safety regulations, well, maybe they've saved a few lives.
The accident also prompted my country to introduce industrial manslaughter as an offense. Needless to say, this shaped up the safety standards of my country rides something fierce. - [Matt] I can imagine being charged for accidental murder over theme park ride fails, that's gonna leave operators a little more careful. And I hope a horrible accident like that never happens in a theme park again. - I hope so too. After the incidents, Dreamworld shut the park down for six weeks, and as you might guess, they completely demolished the ride in that time.
And every year since the accident, the company has reported massive operating losses. In 2021 I revisited the theme park with my girlfriend Nin and the theme park was practically deserted. As you might have seen from my community posts, I mostly go there now to hang out with the kangaroos. This one incident has caused the theme park to become a shell of its former self.
It has seen at least $260 million in losses so far. On top of this, the park's also fighting class action lawsuits against shareholders who were told the park was much safer than it was. And with not checking the ride's safety and over 30 years, I can't say I blame the shareholders.
I don't know how much longer the theme park will be open so I'm personally trying to spend as much time with the kangaroos there as they can. I love kangaroos. Hopefully I'll get to hang out with them a few more times before it closes after which well, at least I can always find Skippy in the forest. - [Matt] Don't worry, I won't bother you buddy. Number, blah. (Boo screaming) Sorry.
The Son of the Beast in Kings Island Mason, Ohio. Hey Matt, isn't this one located in the USA? - [Matt] It sure is. Son of Beast is the ride sequel to The Beast. These beasts were both located at Kings Island in Ohio, USA. While its dad currently holds many records being the fastest and tallest wooden rollercoaster, the Son of Beast holds it's own records but not the kind of records anyone should want. - Opening to the public in the year 2000, the ride stood at 218 feet tall.
It was a fateful day because the Son of the Beast became the first wooden hyper coaster. It was the first in the modern era to feature a vertical loop and it also reached a max speed of 78 miles per hour, which is 128 kilometers per hour. It also features a double helix following the drop from its top height of 218 feet. - [Matt] A complete circuit of the rides are two minutes and 20 seconds. It may not sound like much but on a roller coaster, that's an eternity. Second only to its dad, Son of Beast held the record for the second longest roller coaster in the world.
This ride was of course an eye catcher to the thrill seeker, but as I mentioned, it also became infamous for accidents. - Yep, in 2006, a crack in a wooden beam resulted in a slight dip, which jolted many riders severely. Once back at the station, many riders complained of injury to the head or neck. They were sent to hospital for treatment. Following this, the ride was shut down for repairs and didn't reopen for a year. - [Matt] Unfortunately, in 2009, there was another controversial incident that occurred.
Allegedly a woman rode the coaster and sustained a head injury which caused a blood vessel to burst, back when the injury occurred however, there was no record of the woman reporting to the first aid professional, not till a month later anyway. Nevertheless, the ride was shut down as a precaution. - Well, at least the crew was safe rather than sorry, and that's always good to see.
During the investigation, it was voiced that at this point it would be inappropriate to speculate on the exact date when the ride may reopen. We're going to do a thorough maintenance review. - On track a rock, I hate rocks. - Although there were no irregularities found in the ride, the ride never reopened. And once again, hats off to the crew here for doing a thorough maintenance and safety review.
Sadly, some slides before this were not nearly this thorough. - [Matt] Wooden roller coasters have a long colorful history and many people were sad to see the Junior beast go. As long as they're kept safe and well-run, it's a shame to see traditional roller coasters like this disappear. - And before we get to number one, just one quick honorable mention, the Orlando free fall. The free fall Drop Tower in Orlando is a 430 foot tower that obviously drops the guests safely to the ground.
For the first three months, it appeared to operate safely. But recently in 2022, a teenager tragically fell out of the ride from a fatally high distance. At first, investigations thought it was because his seatbelt wasn't fastened, but it was later discovered that his safety harness was attached the entire time.
As of me making this video, the investigations are still ongoing on this one. But more importantly, my deepest respects go to the family that lost their boy, Tyre. When you go to a theme park, you should never have to feel unsafe on the rides. That's the whole point of it being a thrill ride, you feel completely safe while being scared. With that acknowledged, let's move on to number one. - [Luigifan] And don't ever come back.
- Well how was I to know the carnival boss had a bullseye on his shirt! Number one, Action Park in New Jersey. - [Matt] Oh Geez, we're talking about this park? - Oh, you bet we are. Action Park aka Action Lawsuit Park aka Accident Park. - They call the traction park, class action park.
- [Reporter] Class action park, the lawyers called it. - Almost unanimously, Action Park was known as the most dangerous theme park ever and it's no surprise, ever since its opening in 1978, this park has had constant lawsuits, accidents and safety violations. Let's start with their rides at motor world such as the Super Go Karts. Here guests were supposed to drive around at around 32 kilometers an hour. However, wouldn't you know it? Employees would often break the set speed limit allowing customers to play bumper cars at speeds of 80 freaking kilometers an hour.
As you could probably guess, this resulted in many many customers going to hospital with head injuries. And just to make it even worse, many guests passed out from gasoline fumes as they drove, Jeebus. - [Matt] Another one was lola cars.
These were miniature race cars on a longer track and wouldn't you know it? They could also have their speed limit broken, resulting in yet more injuries for guests and apparently at night, when these cars weren't injuring guests, employees were breaking to the nearby brewery, steal the beer, and take these lola cars out for a spin on the nearby highway. - Battle Action Tanks was the next public menace where guests could ride around in a caged area with tanks. They had tennis ball cannons and could shoot other tanks. Guests who didn't wanna participate could also operate cannons from the outside of the cage. Maintenance and staff never wanted to work here because when they were fixing up tanks, guests would fire at from the outside.
Then there were the water rides such as the super speedboats. These speedboats were of course in a snake-infested pond. And surprising no one, guests would often use these speedboats to play bumper boat in a snake-infested pond.
I mean, what'd guests think would happen if they did that? Were they all drunk? (bell chiming) No, I guess they weren't. Still that's a really stupid thing to do. - [Matt] And yet there was still more accident prone death traps because then there was the bumper boats which apparently leaked gasoline! One rider apparently got too much of it on his skin and required medical aid. - Also, the boats were too small for tall people like me, so we had to stick our legs out on the side which of course, resulted in some terrible bone fractures.
Moving onto yet more dangerous rides, there was waterworld which sadly, was responsible for the most deaths in the entire park history. To start with in Waterworld, there was the cannonball loop slide notorious for bloody noses, lacerations and back injuries. What a winning combination that is possibly due to having a complete vertical loop on a waterslide tube. - [Reporter] The first couple people that came in and came out and their mouths were all bloody and that was before they had put sufficient padding in the top there was a little bit, so they sent a couple other people down and when those people came down they came down with lacerations. - [Strider] What construction worker build something like that and says well yeah, this seems perfectly so.
In fact, when the ride was closed, fallen out teeth were found in the rides interior walls. A former Navy physician said riders were experiencing up to nine Gs of force going through the ride. One rider even got stuck at the top of the loop due to insufficient water pressure.
And I don't even wanna picture that one, they got out safe, that's enough. And the stupid slide only stayed open for one month anyway before being closed down, thank jeebus. - [Matt] There was also the tidal wave pool, also known as the Grave Pool. The one meter high waves here went on for about 20 minutes at a time with 10 minute breaks. Patrons who couldn't swim could sometimes be subject to rising water levels and even the patrons that could swim might tire up quickly and risk drowning. - This thing had 12 lifeguards on duty at all times and on busy weekends, they might have to rescue 30 people.
To put it in perspective, your average pool might get one to two rescues every few months. Tragically in the time it was opened, two drownings occurred here. It likely would have been more if not for the hard working lifeguards. Fortunately, they were able to revive many guests. There were still many other cases of injuries such as the Alpine slide, the Tarzan swing or the roaring rapids. But if I went through every single injury, this one segment would be as long as Defunctland's entire video on this park.
But I've linked their video in the description if you'd like to learn more about this park. Overall, there were so many reasons Action Park's rides were dangerous it'll make your hat spin. - [Matt] One reason was Action Park was one of the first water parks in America and many of its ride designs were not yet tested.
Certainly not tested by any other parks. Rides built would also often cut corners to maximize profits. Rides were rarely maintained or updated for safety either. - Another issue and it seems like a kind of obvious one was the employees were mostly teenagers.
And nothing against teenagers but if I'm putting someone in charge of large, dangerous piece of equipment, it's generally gonna be an adult with a bit more experience. And unfortunately, these staff were often indifferent to the park's own rules. This led to breeding a lawless, chaotic culture among guests. - [Reporter] Like you had 16 yeah old, 17 year old kids with no prior in management experience whatsoever literally managing a third of the park. - And at kiosks, the guests were also frequently offered alcohol, because when you've got a bunch of massively dangerous rides, why not also make your guests drunk while using them? I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that? - [Matt] Another possible factor was many of the guests couldn't swim. This was probably because many were low income areas and many had never had the opportunity to learn how to swim.
And encouraging a bunch of people who can't swim into a waterpark, well that's practically begging for disaster. - In 1996 with personal injury lawsuits piling up, Action Park finally closed its doors after 18 years. And as much as it was a good memory for some teenagers of the 80s and 90s, I'm glad to know this park will never hurt another person again. And with that, we've reached the end of our journey through dangerous theme park rides. And I was kicked out of the park but regardless, thanks, man, I appreciate your time.
- [Matt] No problem, Josh. I'm always around if you need a hand or just a friend to chat with you know. - Likewise, my friend.
I've linked Luigifan's channel in the description if you're curious and if you have your own experience with these theme parks or there's a video you'd like to suggest, feel free with your thoughts in the comments. And as always, thanks for watching and I'll see you next time. - Bye bye. (bright music)