An amusement ride accident in Shenzhen killed 6 and injured another 10, several of them in serious condition.
The umbrella-shaped ride spins at high speed to simulate zero gravity in space flight. Little did the riders know it would also simulate a space disaster. During spinning, several of the 11 4-person cabins broke loose and plunged 50 feet to the ground. I’ll leave you to imagine what happened to those inside.
The news brought back memory of an incident many years ago.
I was at a theme park in southern China with my parents. I boarded one of those spinning swing rides. My parents watched from outside the fence.
Everything seemed fine until my mother shouted, “YOU HAVEN’T CLOSED THE SAFETY BAR!”
Like any overconfident, thrill-obessed, reckless boy, I rebutted, “YES I HAVE!” Of course she was just too far away to see clearly.
She screamed again, “NO YOU HAVEN”T!”
Then the machine started. It was too late to do anything. But nothing happened. It was a smooth ride, and felt really good.
When it stopped, mom ran to me. “Relax, mom,” I said. I couldn’t wait to prove her wrong.
But she proved me wrong by showing me a loose bolt. There were two safety devices. I secured only one.
Within seconds, I was drenched in sweat.
Can you imagine how she must have felt, fearing her son might be catapulted to death but could do nothing to intervene?
How could the crew have missed that during safety check? I could have been killed!
That was when I decided never to go on any ride in China again.
Many Chinese theme parks advertise that their rides are “imported from the US and Europe”, but that’s hardly reassuring. If the people who man and maintain the equipment don’t do their job properly, things can still go horribly wrong.
The space ride that killed 6, however, was a Chinese design. The park boasted it is “the first of its kind in the world” and “self-developed by China”.
Sounds to me like a warning to stay away.