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Theme park accidents result in two deaths

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

DENVER -- A man fell to his death Monday after standing up on an attraction at a Six Flags amusement park, authorities said.

The death came one day after a worker at Six Flags Over Georgia was killed when he wandered into the path of an upside-down roller coaster and was struck in the head by a passenger's dangling legs.

The 28-year-old killed in Denver's Six Flags Elitch Gardens, whose name was not released, was transported to Denver Health Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, police spokeswoman Virginia Lopez said. The death was being investigated as accidental, she said.

He was killed on a ride called the "Rainbow" in which passengers sit in bench-like seats on a platform that moves up and down in a circular motion.

Park officials said in a news release that the man was part of a group of "mentally-challenged individuals." They said witnesses reported that the man unlatched his seatbelt and worked his way out of the lap bar restraint.

They did not immediately return calls for comment.

Officials at Six Flags Over Georgia were unsure how or why the 58-year-old foreman walked into the locked, no-access area on "Batman, The Ride" on Sunday.

Police identified the man as Samuel Milton Guyton of Atlanta. He had worked at the park since February.

Six Flags General Manager John Odum said he would not have had any reason to be in the area.

"All no-access areas are clearly marked and all employees are cautioned not to enter these areas at any time," said park spokeswoman Lisa Bigazzi-Tilt. "It was very bad judgment."

Passengers on the 50 mph roller coaster are strapped into seats that are attached to a track above them. Guyton was struck by a 14-year-old girl whose legs were dangling from the front car and he died Sunday in a hospital.

The girl was hospitalized with leg injuries and released, authorities said.

The ride, which is 109 feet tall and has been open since 1997, was shut down Sunday for inspection by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was deemed safe for passengers and reopened Monday.

AUSTELL, Ga. -- An amusement park worker was killed when he wandered into the path of an upside-down roller coaster and was struck in the head by a passenger's dangling legs.

Officials at Six Flags Over Georgia were unsure how or why the 58-year-old foreman walked into the locked, no-access area on "Batman, The Ride" on Sunday. He was not immediately identified.

Six Flags General Manager John Odum said the foreman would not have had any reason to be in the area.

"All no-access areas are clearly marked and all employees are cautioned not to enter these areas at any time," said park spokeswoman Lisa Bigazzi-Tilt. "It was very bad judgment."

Passengers on the 50 mph roller coaster are strapped into seats that are attached to a track above them. The employee was struck by a 14-year-old girl whose legs were dangling from the front car.

She was hospitalized with leg injuries and released, authorities said.

The ride, which is 109 feet tall and has been open since 1997, was shut down Sunday for inspection by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was deemed safe for passengers and reopened Monday.


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