Water ride accident: Witnesses describe terror at Cedar Point

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com  |  July 22, 2013 at 9:28 AM
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A water ride at the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, remained closed over the weekend as officials investigated the cause of the boat malfunction that injured seven Friday evening.

A log boat on the Shoot the Rapids ride was sent backwards down a lift hill and overturned in waist-deep water, trapping some of its riders inside.

Bystanders jumped into the water to help pull them out of the water until park staff could arrive. Six people were treated by paramedics at the scene, and one was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center, treated and released, park officials said in a statement.

"There was blood everywhere,” said Heather Brown, who witnessed the accident. “It was so scary.”

“We heard a snap and then a clunk and then it was the loudest noise, like an explosion,” said Emily Capezzuto, another witness. “Then it slid down the hill and flipped on its side.”

Accounts of exactly what happened -- whether the boat overturned at the bottom of the hill, or whether it flipped first to its side -- conflicted. But it was clear that only some of the passengers' lap bars released when the boat flipped, and children would have been submerged underwater without the aid of the bystanders who jumped in to help.

“The safety of our guests is our number one priority,” Cedar Point stated in a release. “Cedar Point officials are currently investigating the incident and have reported it to state of Ohio officials. Shoot the Rapids will remain closed until park officials and inspectors from the state of Ohio complete their review. No further information is available at this time.”

Another passenger has filed Cedar Point for an incident he said happened in June 2012. Benjamin Petrey said he suffered head, neck, back and body injuries when his Shoot the Rapids boat stopped abruptly at the bottom of a hill and was struck by another boat.

Shoot the Rapids opened in 2010 and cost $10.5 million.

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