I recently went on vacation with my family and one of the highlights of my trip was visiting an amusement park. I found myself a little nervous to go on the rides, not because I was afraid they were unsafe, but because I was afraid I would throw up and/or cry in front of people. I stuck to coasters that didn't go upside down, and I had a great time.

I did get to thinking- are amusement parks more dangerous than we think? After doing some research, it turns out that fatal incidents at Texas amusement parks are extremely rare, and almost always happen to employees.

There is easily accessible recent data about amusement park injuries, and most of those injuries are minor but make me wince nonetheless- lots of small cuts, head bumps, chipped teeth, and a couple of lost toenails. Yikes.


Sadly, there have been some deadly incidents at Texas theme parks. We will take a look at some of the most terrifying, including one fatal accident that made headlines across the world. But again, remember, these incidents are incredibly rare. 

Astroworld Employee Deaths 

Astroworld opened in 1968 and closed permanently in 2005. A few worker deaths happened there, including before the park was even opened.


In 1968, two Astroworld employees we crushed to death during a boat installation after an equipment failure. There is archival footage of a news report from the time that shows the covered bodies of the two brothers, and a very sad shot of one of their hands exposed from under the sheet.

In 1991, another employee was killed on the Excaliber roller coaster. A signal malfunctioned, causing a car to come down the tracks while he was performing maintenance, which caused the man to die from blunt force trauma.

Hurricane Harbor Splashtown Employee Death

In 2019, an employee fell from an "unnamed structure" while performing a job-related task, resulting in their death.


Six Flags Over Texas Deaths 

In 1968, an employee at the El Sombero ride suffered a fatal accident. While attempting to help a patron off of the ride, he lost his footing and fell into, "a three-foot deep machinery pit, where he suffered deadly face and head wounds." There is still an El Sombero ride at Six Flags Over Texas, surely completely redesigned with employee safety in mind.

In 1999, a woman drowned to death on Roaring Rapids and 10 others were injured when their raft deflated and overturned. 

The air chambers keeping the vessel afloat abruptly deflated and the raft then caught on an underwater pipe, which flipped the boat over.

Six Flags paid out a settlement to the family but went on to sue the manufacturer of the raft.

In 2011, a woman was found unresponsive in the Lazy River. CPR was attempted but the woman died. The family sued claiming inadequate response and the use of a faulty defibrillator.

In 2013 a shocking accident occurred on the New Texas Giant when a woman fell 75 feet to her death, hitting a support beam on the way down. Her body was, "found partially severed and strewn across a roof." She had expressed concern that she had not been properly restrained, but employees assured her she would be okay. This terrible accident made headlines around the world.

Even though these deaths are frightening and gruesome, they are exceedingly rare. So enjoy your next trip to the amusement park- you are probably safer there than in many other places, including the car ride to the park.


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