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Son of Beast to be partly rebuilt

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http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...EWS01/308040024

 

Son of Beast to be partly rebuilt

BY JESSICA BROWN | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

 

MASON – Part of the Son of Beast roller coaster at Paramount’s Kings Island must be taken apart and rebuilt under state supervision, a time-consuming process that raises questions about whether the ride will reopen this season.

 

“If they want to operate it again, that’s what they have to do,” said Melanie Wilt, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the state agency that regulates amusement park rides.

 

The Son of Beast has been closed since July 9 when 27 people were injured after a particularly rough ride. On Friday, Wilt said the problem has been narrowed down to three possible structural issues: wood strength, maintenance or design.

 

Inspectors found a cracked vertical support beam in the double helix part of the coaster the day after the accident. Inspectors say that might have contributed to the big jolt riders described.

 

Kings Island must now take apart a small section of the ride, including pieces surrounding that cracked beam. Those pieces must be turned over to the state for analysis. Meanwhile, the park would have to rebuild that section and test the new portion under the supervision of an independent engineer hired by the state.

 

The park closes for the season on Aug. 23, except for a re-opening during Labor Day weekend. Kings Island officials said it’s too early to tell whether the ride will reopen this season.

 

“We’re in the preliminary stages of what needs to be done,” said Maureen Kaiser, park spokeswoman. “We want to make sure we’re completely satisfied that the ride is safe.”

 

The Son of Beast is the tallest, fastest and only looping wooden roller coaster in the world. It is comprised of 2.5 million feet of lumber.

 

In past years, some people have complained about the roughness of the ride, but the coaster has continued to be popular.

 

Kings Island inspectors walk the tracks of each roller coaster every morning prior to opening them to the public, Kaiser said.

 

The July 9 accident has so far prompted one lawsuit. A Maineville woman who fractured her sternum on the ride that day is suing for negligence.

 

E-mail jlbrown@enquirer.com

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FearFest to me would be the perfect time to unleash sonny. Gives 'em two solid months of working time. I missed it last year during FearFest. Just do what need to be done and make it safe for us again. It justs stings when I come to the reality that I might have to wait till next year to catch a ride on my favorite coaster.

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I would much rather have them take their time with rebuilding than to rush in opening in time for Fear Fest.

 

Too bad we don't know just how much of the rose bowl will need to be rebuilt.

Edited by Geauga Dog

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When they mention a "small" section I think it could just be the lowest parts of them. (The worst part of the ride IMO)

 

You never know, they could rebuild the whole rosebowl!

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http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/15202677.htm

 

Investigators searching for cause of roller coaster accident

LISA CORNWELL

Associated Press

 

CINCINNATI - An independent engineer hired by the state will supervise tests of a roller coaster that malfunctioned last month, injuring 27 riders, as officials try to figure out what caused the problem.

 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, which regulates the state's amusement parks, ordered the Son of Beast ride at Paramount's Kings Island in suburban Mason shut down after passengers were injured in a rough ride July 9.

 

"The engineer had made some recommendations to us about how to proceed, and we have sent a letter to the park laying out the steps they need to take for the investigation to move forward," said Melanie Wilt, department spokeswoman.

 

Most of the passengers injured were treated for bruises, but one woman suffered a broken sternum and was hospitalized for four days. Melissa Eberle, and her husband John Eberle, of Maineville, have sued the park, claiming that a combination of improper maintenance, inspection and operation caused the roller coaster to jolt riders.

 

Investigators have narrowed the problem down to three possible causes - wood strength, maintenance or design - but no final determination has been made, Wilt said Friday.

 

"In order to move forward, we will allow Kings Island to take apart the ride where it was broken and reconstruct it under our engineer's supervision," she said. "That will allow us to maintain custody of any broken parts and timbers and test their strength."

 

The park will then run tests on the design itself, also under state supervision to assure that the tests follow commonly accepted engineering practices, said Wilt, who could not predict how long the process would take or when the investigation would be completed.

 

An initial inspection revealed a cracked timber on the track of the looping wooden roller coaster that the park's Web site says is more than 7,000 feet long and features a 118-foot tall loop. The ride, which can top speeds of 78 mph, was voluntarily closed by the park before the state issued its order.

 

Park spokeswoman Maureen Kaiser would not speculate on when the ride might reopen.

 

"We are in the preliminary stages and doing what the state has requested," she said Friday. "We want to make sure that it is safe."

 

Sandusky-based Cedar Fair LP paid CBS Corp. $1.24 billion for Paramount's Kings Island and four other theme parks in June.

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they can take as long as they want, I just want them to make sonny a solid coaster, so we dont have to deal with "injuries" every now and then, but hopefully they dont take away all of the turbulense.

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At first I didn't think it would be a good idea to redo the sob, but after going there today and seeing that goliath not running, I think maybe they should give it another shot. The helix was rough-I was on it a week before the accident, and I thought the thing was gonna jump the tracks. I don't think maintenance was ever the issue, I think design is the problem in this case. Maybe one calculation was wrong, and could have thrown the whole coaster off? Who knows, but I would rather they leave it closed for the season, take the time needed to study it in depth, repair or rebuild whatever is wrong, and bring it back next year. I think it is fixable. I did notice today there were some new boards in some of the higher areas-looks to me as if they have started the restructuring already. Only time will tell if it will work, but I hope they can bring it back. It would be a great coaster if they can get rid of the problems. I will keep watching, that's for sure.......

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A lot of people seem to think that Cedar Fair will not even bother with fixing the giant. I just pray for this thought to not come true! Although I once hoped that everything was fixed quickly and I would be back on my number one ride I have changed my opinion. I wish for Cedar Fair to do whatever it takes to completely fix this ride.

 

I just can't think to imagine how it would be if I never got to go on this ride again. To some it is just a rough piece of crap. Sob to me it is a large memory. It was my first looping coaster, my first coaster over 100 and 200 feet. It also knocked the fear of coasters right out of me. My whole entire family enjoyed the ride. I've got numerous pictures on it. Each one a different memory. I even bought my family of five season passes so I could get down to ride it. A trip to PKI just isn't the same without getting on that ride. Being there while it was down made me depressed. I will wait as long as I have to to ride it again... even if it is next season. I waited every since it closed season. I can wait again. :( I just hope they give the ride another chance.

Edited by AgentSoB

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The best thing they could do with SOB is hold a huge end-of-the-year bonfire. I would be first in line to roast a marshmellow over the smoldering piece of crap.

Edited by shnave

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I have a feeling that Cedar Fair knows all too well what they are doing.

When I came to visit the park last week for the first and due to WinterFest's cancellation ( now my only time ) this season, I could not help but to notice an all too familiar site. The Son of Beast stuck up on a lifthill. I've got pictures of this thing being stuck up there before.

 

And despite the fact that Cedar Fair knows better than most, my opinion still differs from their current actions taken. Let's assume that this ride IS actually fixed in the immediate area involving the incident with the ride this year. If the coasters history says anything, it is very simply put "history repeats itself"

The ride will faulter again. Maybe not in the same area. But next year, by this point in the year, the ride will most likely ( for some reason or another ) be sitting on that lifthill, AGAIN, like it has a long sad history of doing each and every year.

 

I hate deforestation. After all, I am a naturalist. And I know that this is virtually impossible, but tear the thing down, and use the salvagable wood to construct a slightly smaller ( but more dependable ) wooden coaster that would not necessarily be shooting for records, but be aiming instead at being both safe and fun.

 

Or more realistically, just tear the thing down, and let it join beetle, bat, scooby's ghoster coaster, King Cobra, and demon in the parks hall of shame. :lol:

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A lot of people seem to think that Cedar Fair will not even bother with fixing the giant. I just pray for this thought to not come true! Although I once hoped that everything was fixed quickly and I would be back on my number one ride I have changed my opinion. I wish for Cedar Fair to do whatever it takes to completely fix this ride.

 

I just can't think to imagine how it would be if I never got to go on this ride again. To some it is just a rough piece of crap. Sob to me it is a large memory. It was my first looping coaster, my first coaster over 100 and 200 feet. It also knocked the fear of coasters right out of me. My whole entire family enjoyed the ride. I've got numerous pictures on it. Each one a different memory. I even bought my family of five season passes so I could get down to ride it. A trip to PKI just isn't the same without getting on that ride. Being there while it was down made me depressed. I will wait as long as I have to to ride it again... even if it is next season. I waited every since it closed season. I can wait again. :( I just hope they give the ride another chance.

Thank You!!! Son of Beast is by far my favortie coaster at Kings Island sure it has its problems but dont they all its still fun as the rest I love riding it at night.

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They should take as long as they want to rebuild this ride, hope the layout changes for the better, such a waste of speed, needs to have lots of "Airtime". :huh:

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