Ohio amusement park ride cable snaps, injures two people

Two people were injured at Ohio's Cedar Point amusement park after a cable snapped on a large swing ride, just three weeks after a fallen tree stranded roller coaster riders at a California Six Flags.

John Seewer/AP
Matt Ouimet, chief executive of Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., greets a guest at Cedar Point amusement park,in Sandusky, Ohio, July 2. Two Cedar Point visitors were injured Saturday when a cable snapped on a large swing ride.

A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion, injuring them, a park spokesman said on Sunday.

The incident on the Skyhawk, which reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour, occurred late on Saturday at the Cedar Point amusement park, 50 miles west of Cleveland, park spokesman Bryan Edwards said by email.

One of those injured was sent to a nearby hospital for evaluation and has since been released, while the other was treated at the scene, Edwards said.

The ride, which Cedar Point boasts on its website as being the world's largest swing ride at 125 feet tall, swings two arms, each with a carriage carrying up to 20 people, in a scissor motion.

"Safety is our top priority at Cedar Point," Edwards said in a statement. "Skyhawk will remain closed until our investigation is complete and the ride can safely reopen."

This is not the first time that Skyhawk, new in 2006, has been shuttered. The ride was closed for several weeks last year as the park dealt with repeated mechanical problems and waited for replacement parts, according to news reports.

The incident occurred less than three weeks after a tree fell on a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., dislodging the front car of the Ninja coaster. No one was seriously injured during that accident but it took rescue crews three hours to evacuate the 22 riders, one at a time, from the dangling coaster.

Accidents at amusement parks are actually relatively rare, the Monitor's Noelle Swan reported earlier this month. 

Nationally, the number of injuries per million attendees has been steadily dropping since 2001, according to a survey of fixed-site ride injuries across the United States between 2001 and 2011, conducted by the National Safety Council's Research & Statistical Services Group in Itasca, Ill. The survey found that in 2011, about 4.3 people per million park visitors received injuries, compared with an average of 8.2 per million visitors in 2001.

While amusement park injuries are relatively rare, in some cases they have been deadly. In the most recent US incident, a woman died after falling out of a Six Flags roller coaster in Arlington, Texas, in July 2013, according to USA Today.

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