Teen Lost Both Of Her Feet On Ride At Kentucky Kingdom

Published: Jun. 22, 2007 at 1:20 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 25, 2007 at 12:08 PM CDT
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A 13-year-old girl visiting Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom lost both of her feet when a ride malfunctioned Thursday afternoon. It happened about 4:45 p.m. on the Superman Tower of Power, formerly known as the Hell-a-Vator.

According to Six Flags officials no one else was hurt.

The injured teen was rushed to University Hospital after the accident, and we learned around 8 p.m. Thursday that the teen was in surgery. Park officials tell us they're trying to figure out what exactly went wrong.

We did talk to one eyewitness, Chris Stinnett, who told us "it went up and the cable or something snapped." He says he was one ride over from the Superman Tower drop when he saw the malfunction that sliced off the victim's feet.

"At first I thought people were screaming because they were scared," Stinnett said. It came back down and I seen the cable come back and hit a lot of people and I heard a lot of crying."

Here's how the Superman Tower of Power works: riders are strapped in and slowly taken up to 177 feet before a free-fall of 154 feet, reaching a speed of 54 miles-per-hour before easing to a stop about 20 feet above the ground.

That's what happened Thursday at Kentucky Kingdom except for one major mishap.

"It went up and then the cable snapped," Stinnett said. "It was all the same. It went up, the cable snapped and it fell down and cable hit 'em. It was the same thing, just the cable broke."

Soon after the accident theme park crews converged at the base of the ride to begin their investigation. The ride once known as the hell-a-vator is shut down indefinitely.

Other visitors to the park were understandably shaken up. "We were about to ride that ride before it happened," said Megan Watham. But a friend talked her out of it. "She said 'let's not ride it, let's go ride something else.' That could have been all of us."

A Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom spokesperson told us they inspect each ride every day before the park opens, and officials released the following statement late Thursday afternoon.

At approximately 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, 6-21-07, the Superman Tower of Power ride at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Park in Louisville, Ky. malfunctioned and injured a 13-year-old female, whose legs were severed above the ankle. The EMTs at the park were on the scene immediately and the girl was transported to UL hospital, where she is currently being treated.

We have been in contact with both the hospital and her family.

The ride has been shut down and will remain so until a full investigation has been completed.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide whatever assistance we can.

Online Reporter: Mark Schnyder

Online Producer: Michael Dever

Story and pictures provided by WAVE3 Raycom Media.