Amusement Park Ride Malfunction Kills Young Woman


Metallurgy ExpertThis case involves the death of a 25-year-old female amusement park patron. The patron was riding one of the most popular rides roller coasters in the park along with 29 other amusement park patrons when suddenly the ride malfunctioned. The gondola filled with passengers was sent into the air and the 25-year-old woman was ejected from her harness. Several other passengers were injured in the incident. It was alleged that the metal components of the ride had corroded due to lack of maintenance, causing the fatal accident. An expert metallurgist was sought to opine on whether or not the metals used for the ride were adequately maintained for the ride to perform safely.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your familiarity with metallurgical analysis for amusement rides or similar machines.
  • 2. How would you address any potential corrosion of the materials involved?

Expert Witness Response E-009211

Expert-ID: E-009211

I have studied and reported on hundreds of corrosion-related metallic component damage issues over the last 30+ years. I was intimately involved as a metallurgical expert in the corrosion and failure analysis of an antique but functioning steam tractor explosion event at a county fair. The explosion caused many injuries and 5 fatalities. My analysis determined that the steam tractor explosion failure stemmed from long-term corrosion and metal damage. I would be able to examine the amusement ride’s materials and adequately address the potential corrosion issues, and/or any other probable causes of the catastrophic section failure that might be determined. These could include material defects, manufacturing and/or assembly defects, fatigue isues, etc.

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