A two-count complaint was issued against the owner and the operator of the "Skyride" at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas in connection with a fatal accident which occurred on October 21, 1979. The second complaint was issued against the Marriott Corporation which owns and operates "Willard's Whizzer" roller coasters at its Great America amusement parks located in Santa Clara, California (near San Jose), A fatal accident occurred on March 29, 1980, at the Great America park in Santa Clara.
Both complaints charge that the corporations failed to report to CPSC in a timely fashion -- as is required by law -- potentially hazardous defects in the rides and previous accidents which have caused injuries to consumers. The law permits the Commission to seek civil penalties of as much as $500,000 from a company which fails to report to CPSC a defect that could create a substantial product hazard. The complaint against the State Fair of Texas also seeks c
Amusement ride accidents
At the State Fair of Texas last October a Skyride accident resulted in the death of one man and injuries to 17 other persons when two of the Skyride's gondolas fell approximately 70 feet onto the midway area of the state fair.
The Commission complaint charges that the State Fair of Texas and the operator of the Skyride, Steck and Stapf Attractions, exposed consumers to a "substantial product hazard" through their operation of the Skyride. The staff is seeking to require the owner and the operator promptly to correct defects in the ride. (CPSC is informed that the Skyride has not been in operation since it was shut down after the fatal accident last October.) In the second count of the complaint, the Commission is charging that the State Fair and Steck and Stapf Attractions also violated the law by failing to report information to CPSC from which the State Fair and the operator could conclude that the Skyride contained a defect which could create a substantial product hazard.
Amusement ride accidents
The complaint against the Marriott Corporation follows an accident on March 29, 1980, in which a 14-year-old boy was killed and eight other persons injured when two cars of the Willard's Whizzer collided at the Great America park in Santa Clara. In the complaint the Commission charges that Marriott violated the law by not reporting a potential defect in the roller coaster's braking system of which Marriott was aware, according to the Commission, by September, 1979, at the latest.
In addition, CPSC staff is charging that Marriott was aware of at least 11 other instances in the Santa Clara park which occurred between 1976 and 1979 involving collisions in the station area of the roller coaster. A substantial number of injuries occurred in these accidents, although the exact number and severity of injuries remains unknown to the agency; there are believed to have been no fatalities involved in the earlier accidents at Santa Clara.
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