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The Edge, a 131-foot-high thrill ride that injured three...

GURNEE, Ill. -- The Edge, a 131-foot-high thrill ride that injured three teenagers two years ago, is being dismantled because of public distrust, Six Flags Great America amusement park says.

Marketing surveys showed 'our guests did not feel completely confident about the safety of the ride,' park spokeswoman, Margie Moss, said Tuesday.

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Construction crews started dismantling the ride last week. Moss said it would be completely dismantled by the time the park opens its 1986 season April 26.

Similar rides will continue operating at five other parks operated by Six Flags, a subsidiary of Bally Corp, she said. Two theme parks in Texas and one each in Georgia, New Jersey and California operate the Edge.

The accident at Great America in northeast Illinois and accidents on other amusement rides in Illinois and elsewhere in 1984 led to new state and federal inspections of thrill rides.

Moss said park officials were satisfied with improvements made in the ride after the accident.

'We were satisfied that the safety improvement which we added to the Edge after the incident in 1984 made the ride operationally safe,' she said. 'But we were not satisfied that these improvements were sufficiently visible and obvious to completely reassure our patrons.'

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On the ride, cars carrying patrons were pulled up a 131-foot tower by a mechanical chain device. From the top, the car then traveled down a vertical track for 60 feet in free fall before entering a curve for 39 more feet as the track became horizontal. The car reached a top speed of about 55 mph.

There have been no major accidents on the ride since the one on May 22, 1984, when a car carrying three southern Illinois teenagers fell nearly 60 feet to the ground as it was being raised to the tower's top. The teenagers were not seriously injured.

The Edge, which opened at Great America in May 1983, will be replaced by a boat ride.

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