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Published: Sunday, 7/21/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

REVIEW UNDER WAY

Answers still sought after Cedar Point ride mishap

News of Shoot the Rapids injuries shocks visitors

BY SAM GANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Park officials said a boat on Shoot the Rapids rolled back down the lift hill, while witnesses said the boat capsized with the riders in it. Park officials said a boat on Shoot the Rapids rolled back down the lift hill, while witnesses said the boat capsized with the riders in it.
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SANDUSKY — A day after a patron was hospitalized after a boat on the Shoot the Rapids ride capsized, it was mostly business as usual at Cedar Point on Saturday.

Park-goers, many of whom were oblivious to Friday evening’s incident, continued to ride favorite attractions such as the Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force as the water-rapids ride remain closed. The park’s Web site describes Shoot the Rapids as an aggressive thrill ride that “takes you up and splashes you down” and “feels like a real wild river adventure.”

A statement from Cedar Point said park officials are investigating Friday’s incident and the ride will be closed until park officials and state inspectors complete a review.

Operators stopped the ride at 6:42 p.m. Friday, Cedar Point said, after the boat rolled back down the lift hill. The park’s statement made no mention of the boat overturning, but witnesses told the Sandusky Register that the boat capsized and park guests had to rush to the ride area to turn the boat upright as some riders remained trapped in their seats under water when lap bars wouldn’t release.

All seven riders were evaluated and treated by Cedar Point EMS at the park’s first aid station. One person was transported to Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky for further treatment and was later released.

Park officials declined to comment beyond the news release issued on Friday night.

The entrance to Shoot the Rapids was blocked by barricades and a trash can on Saturday. There was no indication the ride was being tested.

Some passers-by on Saturday pointed to the ride as they walked through the Frontier Trail section of the park to show friends or family the site of the closure they already knew about.

But other patrons had no idea what had happened.

A woman named Peggy, who declined to give her last name, from Lapeer, Mich., said the ride used to be her favorite at the park, and she wanted to ride it Saturday. She was unaware about the incident the night before.

“Are you serious?” she replied when told why the ride was closed.

Blake Mueller of Belleville, Mich., and Allison Yount of Lansing arrived at the on-site Sandcastle Suites hotel Friday for the weekend but did not go to the park until Saturday. They said neither of them had heard about the incident the day before.

“I’m surprised they didn’t get more seriously injured, honestly, because it’s heavy,” Miss Yount said after she was informed of the closure.

Mr. Mueller, 23, said he was asked before their trip by Miss Yount, 18, how dangerous attractions at Cedar Point are.

“She was telling me, ‘How many people do you think get hurt at Cedar Point?’ And I was like, ‘I doubt anyone ever gets hurt. It’s really rare.’ Now ... I’m just like, ‘Oh, no,’ ” he said with a laugh.

The Shoot the Rapids incident occurred the same day a woman died after she fell off a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.

Mr. Mueller said neither the incident in Texas nor the one at Cedar Point would affect his roller coaster thrill-seeking.

“I don’t care. I’ll still ride them,” Mr. Mueller said.

The latest incident involving Shoot the Rapids, which opened in 2010, isn’t the first problem that has occurred with the ride.

According to the Sandusky Register, Benjamin Petrey, 35, of Elyria filed a lawsuit against the park three months ago.

The lawsuit claims that he suffered multiple injuries in June, 2012, when his boat was struck by another at the bottom of a hill on the ride after his boat came to an abrupt halt.

Contact Sam Gans at: sgans@theblade.com or 419-724-6516.



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