The 7 Scariest Theme Park Accidents

A trip to the local theme park is all fun and games… until someone dies. Here’s a list of the 7 Scariest Theme Park Accidents!

7. Scad Dives


Although not technically a theme park – SCAD Dives (otherwise known as Suspended Catch Air Device Dives) are extreme attractions that suspend a person over 150 feet in the air and releases them, without a tether, into a safety net suspended 50 feet above the ground. The attraction can be difficult to control (as one would imagine with no tethering or harnessing involved), and although no deaths have been reported as of yet, the injury list is long and storied. From safety net mishaps to people missing the target completely, SCAD Divers risk a lot more than just their lunch with every dive.

6. Perilous Plunge


Located in Buena Park, California – the Knott’s Berry Farm Perilous Plunge operated from September 2000 to September 2012. As a “shoot-the-Chutes” style attraction, the ride opened as the tallest and steepest water-based ride in the world. Offering a terrifying drop of over 115 feet, the apparatus used an adjustable electromagnetic brake to control the volume of the splash. However, in 2001, a malfunction caused 40 year old Lori Mason-Laurez to unfortunately slip out of her safety harness near the top of the crest, plummeting her over 100 feet to her death. Despite the incident, the ride operated for 11 more years before eventually being dismantled.

5. Banzai Pipeline


The Banzai Pipeline was situated within Waterworld California – a large (and notably famous) water park, located in the San Fransisco Bay area. Standing at 6 stories high, the slide was accessible by a wooden tower climb. In summer of 1997, a large group of about 33 students on a class outing ignored the posted warnings – and attempts by lifeguards to stop them – from overcrowding the ride (the students were aiming to break the world record for most riders on a waterslide). While the riders piled down, the tube burst open from the bottom (due to the excess pressure) and sent all of the students plummeting down 40 feet to the concrete below. Every student broke bones and was severely injured – including one 17 year old girl who fell out head-first, tragically dying on her way to the hospital.

4. Derby Racer Roller Coaster


Opening in 1911, this wooden racing-style roller coaster operated at the Revere Beach in Revere, Massachusetts with an incredibly sordid run. The design of the tracks featured steeply-banked turns and figure-8 type loops that often jolted riders in intensely violent ways. Throughout the course of its thirty year operation, three people were killed and countless others were severely injured. Due to antiquated safety regulations, lax standards and insufficient maintenance, this notoriously dangerous coaster was eventually ordered by the Massachusetts State Supreme Court to be demolished in 1936.

Battersea Fun Fair


London’s Battersea Fun Fair was one of Europe’s most successful and revered amusement parks, opening the wildly popular “Big Dipper” in 1951 as the main attraction of the fun fair (and in turn, the Festival of Britain). The rope lift launch system caught fire in 1970 but fortunately, no one was injured. However, two years later – a much worse incident would strike the ride. In May of 1972, a train hoisting up toward the top of the ride broke free from its haulage rope – shooting the car backward into the station. The collision that occurred at the waiting station resulted in the death of five children, while thirteen others were injured to varying degrees. The Big Dipper was shut down and dismantled, eventually leading the entire fair grounds to close two years later in 1974.

2. Human Trebuchet


Located in Somerset, United Kingdom – deep in the heart of the Middlemoor Water Park, the Human Trebuchet did exactly what its name implied – riders would be hurled (unsecured) over 75 feet through the air into a freestanding net positioned above the ground. Much like the trebuchets of medieval times, willing participants would be catapulted like artillery for the price of $70 per go. Although many injuries like broken pelvises were reported during its run – inevitably, tragedy struck from this outlandish attraction. In 2002, 19 year old Kostydin Yankov missed the return net and sadly didn’t live to tell the tale. The trebuchet was closed shortly thereafter.

1. Action Park


Located in Vernon, New Jersey on the grounds of the Mountain Creek ski resort – has built up quite a notoriously dangerous reputation for itself, if not the worst ever. Open to the public from 1978 to 1996, Action Park’s list of horrific safety offenses and accidents caused such a stir it eventually led to the park’s closure due to the outlandish number of personal-injury lawsuits. Among the seemingly never-ending list of dangerous rides and accidents, few areas of the park were quite as horrifying as their house wave pool. Not-So-Affectionally known as “The Grave Pool” to locals, the Tidal Wave Pool was a sprawling swimming facility measuring 100 by 250 feet long with depths reaching 8 feet in areas – and also responsible for three separate drowning deaths between 1982 and 1987.