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Boomerang Roller Coaster at Six Flags St. Louis Has Major Malfunction, Injures Several Guests

Earlier this week, the Boomerang roller coaster at Six Flags St. Louis had a significant malfunction, which stranded a train at the bottom of the second lift, with what appeared to be a derailed wheel assembly in car number four. Several passengers were taken to a local area hospital for precautionary reasons. The ride has remained shut down pending an internal and state investigation.

The park not open to the public at the time, but was operating as part of a “School Days” event with local children and their teachers.

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In a statement the park said, “Boomerang did not complete its normal ride cycle causing it to stop at a mid-point location where all guests safely exited the ride. Our First Aid staff responded immediately and four guests were transported to a local medical facility as a precautionary measure. The safety of our guests is our top priority and the ride will be closed for a thorough inspection before re-opening.”

It is not unusual for a Vekoma Boomerang model to make news, sadly. Because of the complexities of it’s dual-lift and shuttle nature, a multitude of issues can come together to cause a stranded (or valleyed) train. This is why the ride has brakes strategically placed on the ride in order to limit the possibility of a stranded train.

That being said, gauging from photos taken at the scene – this is no ordinary Boomerang valley:

Photo credit: Facebook user, Paige Nacol Pancoast

Photo credit: Facebook user, Paige Nacol Pancoast

Back in 2013, I had the luck of being at Six Flags St. Louis when this ride opened and can report it operated fine that day, but was closed that next week due to issues with it’s second lift chain.

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I, along with most who watch or work in the amusement community will look forward to hearing what the investigation comes up with – and will leave the speculation as to what exactly occurred to the “coaster pundits” that seem to thrive on this sort of event.

That all being said, a friendly reminder to anyone who might be dissuaded of going on a coaster after news like this: your odds are better of being struck by lightning or being hurt driving TO your local amusement or theme park than being injured on any ride or coaster.

Please plan accordingly.

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Cool Theme Park Video Contest

Do you enjoy making amusement / theme park videos? Want to win some awesome prizes? Then why not enter the Six Flags St. Louis “I Got Tsunami Soaked” video contest!

Just upload your video on how you’re preparing for the Tsunami Soaker, send the park a Tweet using hashtag: #IGotTsunamiSoaked and that’s it! Whoever receives the most RT’s wins! Deadline is May 20th, but get your entries in early for the best chance of going viral.

I visited the park last summer – and let me tell you, if you’ve never visited – it reminded me of Magic Mountain, if it were more beautiful and much more humid 🙂

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Illegal POV Filming – When Will They Learn?

I hate to be a broken record – but if you’ve been reading my writings on illegal, handheld POV filming on rides – then watching this video should come as no surprise to you.

If you think filming on rides is harmless behavior – how would YOU like to be hit with a GoPro Hero3 at 55mph?

Thankfully, no one was apparently injured in this situation.

Here’s the kicker – while the ride starts well after the train has been dispatched and out of the eyesight of ride employees – the lift has not one, but TWO cameras on it. There’s got to be a better way of preventing this – and there is!


Advertising in an Amusement Park – Practice what you Preach!

This large, banner ad is currently up at Six Flags Over Texas, hanging on the outside of the “La Vibora” bobsled coaster station. It’s promoting MetroPCS – but the cute green Android figures aren’t what caught my eye…it’s the fact that the ad is encouraging people to have their phones out on rides:

Photo (c) 2013 Kris Rowberry and Great American Thrills

It’s okay to film and photograph on rides with your phone, according to this ad – but not according to park rules and announcements.

Don’t believe me? Check out the figure with the “M” on their shirt. Yup. They’re snapping a photo while the ride is going. What’s even more troubling – they’re snapping a photo on what appears to be a swing ride – an attraction that had just debuted when I visited this year (2013); in fact, it’s the tallest in the world at 400 feet.

It also happens to be located next to the main roadway entrance to the park. Boy, that be a heck of a way to start your day when you’re driving into the park and your windshield shatters from a loose cell phone, don’t you think?

If you’ve read my previous post on this topic, this epidemic of cell phone filming is only going to become worse as the Millennial generation becomes of the age to own a cell phone. Showing ads like this, then telling them to not have loose articles aboard the ride? It just wreaks of, “What were they thinking?!?” and it’s just plain DUMB in my opinion.

Seriously – how did this ad proof get by both the corporate offices AND the local marketing officials?!?

“But loose cell phones never hit people or fall out of hands! They’re not as big of a threat as you make them out to be!”

I probably would have confided to you that I’ve never seen an injury as a result of a phone getting loose and hitting someone…though I do have proof that phones are coming loose:

Cell Phone carnage at Six Flags St. Louis. Photo (c) 2013 Great American Thrills and Kris Rowberry

Cell phone carnage under Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast at Six Flags St. Louis.

That was before this past weekend, however. That’s when I DID witness several people get injured by a loose cell phone at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The guest whipped out their cell phone after concealing it on the “Double Shot” freefall tower attraction just as it launched – and wouldn’t you know it – the phone got loose, fell 125 feet and promptly smashed into guests waiting in line.

This madness simply has to stop – before someone else is either injured or outright KILLED by a flying, loose article. Ads like this aren’t doing the parks any favors. They’re literally shooting themselves in the proverbial foot.

“I think you’re reading into this ad a little too much – people don’t get encouraged by ads or do what they say…”

You sure about that? Because I’m lovin’ it.

You thought of McDonald’s just now, didn’t you? Feeling a bit hungry all of a sudden? As much as we don’ t like to think it, advertising is a very powerful tool to control behavior – so to encourage the very behavior you’re trying to eliminate in your safety spiels and park map rules is well – not the smartest move in my book.

My point is this – advertise all you want to your guests, but at the very least, practice what you preach!

Review my prior posts about “Social Media and the Amusement Park” here.

About the Author:

Kris Rowberry has been following the amusement industry for over 15 years. He is the creator and host of both “The Lost Parks of Northern California” and “Great American Thrills®


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Photo of the Day: Boomerang at Six Flags St. Louis

Boomerang at Six Flags St. Louis. Photo (c) 2013 Kris Rowberry and Great American Thrills

Yesterday, Six Flags St. Louis unveiled their latest coaster in their collection and Great American Thrills was there on OPENING DAY to see what the venerable Vekoma design had in store for guests.

Amazingly, the ride is SMOOTH for a Vekoma – and the park is working diligently to improve the catch on the second hill to eliminate that traditional “thud” that’s so common on this model. The ride sits between the Tidal Wave flume, Sky Screamer and venerable Screamin’ Eagle wooden coaster at the top of the park.

Boomerang at Six Flags St. Louis. Photo (c) 2013 Kris Rowberry and Great American Thrills

Big thanks goes out to my friends at BorrowLenses for allowing me to capture such beautiful photos with their gear.

Interested in purchasing / using some of my photos? Check out my 500px: http://500px.com/GreatAmericanThrills

View my videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/GreatAmericanThrills

Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreatAmericanThrills

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Photo of the Day: Loose Articles under Mr. Freeze

Cell Phone carnage at Six Flags St. Louis. Photo (c) 2013 Great American Thrills and Kris Rowberry

This is the reason that parks don’t want you to have loose articles onboard roller coasters – because this is almost ALWAYS their fate!

Cell Phone carnage at Six Flags St. Louis. Photo (c) 2013 Great American Thrills and Kris Rowberry

Big thanks goes out to my friends at BorrowLenses for allowing me to capture such beautiful photos with their gear.

Interested in purchasing / using some of my photos? Check out my 500px: http://500px.com/GreatAmericanThrills

View my videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/GreatAmericanThrills

Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreatAmericanThrills

Tweet me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/krowberry

+1 me on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/1/115502587437263155125/posts

Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/krowberry