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SANTA CLARA: CAL/OSHA APPROVES RIDE BUT PARK OFFICIALS STILL INVESTIGATING

CBS 5

Original Article »

June 23, 2007

Despite being approved Friday by California Division of Occupational Safety & Health Administration inspectors, the popular Drop Zone ride at Santa Clara's Great America amusement park remains closed today in light of an accident on a similar ride at a Kentucky amusement park that severed a young girl's feet.

"They approved the ride but we continued our own investigation,'' Great America spokesman Gene Fruge said today.

Cedar Fair, the company that owns Great America, voluntarily shut down the ride late Thursday following the accident on the Superman Tower of Power ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

Both rides are manufactured by the same Swiss company, Intamin, and operate in a similar fashion by raising riders to the top of a tall tower and then dropping them at high speed.

"Just as a precautionary measure we've closed the ride,'' Great America spokesman Gene Fruge said.

In August 1999, a 12-year-old boy fell to his death while riding Great America's Drop Zone. An investigation by the Santa Clara Police Department found no mechanical problems with the ride.

Authorities never determined definitively how the boy fell out of the ride but speculated that he may have wriggled out of the safety harness. Neither Great America nor any individual was charged in connection with the death. The park added an additional safety strap to all ride seats following the accident.

Fruge had no estimate for when Drop Zone will re-open.

"That's the thing about investigations. You don't want to rush it," Fruge said. "It's finished when it's done."


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