Ride at your own risk


If there’s one thing that’s always freaked me out, it’s the thought of going on a ride in an amusement park, only to have it come loose. From time to time, the news will report on these stories where; potentially due to neglect in maintenance, an amusement park ride has launched its occupants into the air, and sub sequentially, their deaths. While I understand the chances of this are very slim – possibly within the same likelihood of having your chairlift seat fall – it crossed my mind nonetheless.

Well this exact thing has occurred in oddly named Overseas Chinese Town East; an amusement park outside of Shenzen. Six people have died with a further eleven injured, as the “Space Flight” attraction; designed to simulate the thrill of rocket launch, instead, launched its occupants. The ride was divided into eleven, four person cabins, and after a cut in power and a loud explosion, many of these were simply dropped.

Now I could go on (wrongly) to compare the experience to that of the Space Shuttle Challenger, where instead of an accident it was instead a hyper-realistic turn of events, but I won’t. While the cause of accident is being investigated, my money is squarely on maintenance or a lack there-of.
I remember lining up for the chairlift at Xihui Park just outside of Wuxi, and watching the massive wheel which powered the whole thing. It was big and red and dirty and didn’t look like it had been touched within the previous five years. Around it were piles of unopened bottles of water, iced tea and orange juice – a makeshift storage location for a small booth selling beverages. In China, it’s always about making money first, maintenance last.

When I think about the state of many of our own amusement parks – the ones that spring up several times per year, show-casing age-old, lit up to the nines rides, manned and run by filthy looking roadies, I can only wonder as to the state of those rides inside Overseas Chinese Town East. I am sure that on the surface they looked exciting – big, moving, well lit up – though if someone was to inspect the inner workings, I suspect it might be a different story again.

'Overseas Chinese Town East', the winner of the 2010 inaugral most unfun sounding name for an Amusement park.



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One Response to “Ride at your own risk”

  1. Benazir Bhutto Says:

    its good knowledgeable blog.

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