SANDUSKY, Ohio (WJW) – The family of a woman who was severely injured when a metal bracket broke off a ride at an Ohio amusement park released a statement on her condition Monday.
The incident occurred at Cedar Point in Sandusky on Aug. 15. The part had flown off the Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster as the ride was ending a run, striking the 44-year-old woman in the head while she was standing in line.
The woman, from Swartz Creek, Michigan, was taken to St. Vincent Medical Center, a Level One trauma center in Toledo. Hospital officials would not reveal her condition. Her family, however, told a Michigan television station the injured woman is “fighting for her life.”
Through a statement, her family said they “are devastated by last weekend’s incident at Cedar Point and they want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Top Thrill Dragster, which goes from 0 to 120 mph in less than 4 seconds, will remain closed through the end of the season. The Ohio Department of Agriculture last inspected it on May 14, although the amusement park does daily inspectors before opening.
“We are terribly sorry for the woman and her family who endured this tragic event,” said David Miran, chief of the amusement ride safety division.
The department said the L-shaped bracket dislodged from the left side of the ride’s green train car. Inspectors also found half the bolts that secured the plate to the train body had dislodged. The bracket, called a flash plate, is used to communicate to the ride’s operating system that the car passed a portion of the track. The part is about the size of a man’s hand.
“I don’t believe that this issue was missed during the initial inspection… This ride is a popular one and operates and has operated several cycles since the May 14 inspection,” Miran said.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture said inspectors discovered a brake bracket area of the track, which slows cars at the end of each ride, showed signs of impact and deformation. Several horizontal track beams also showed evidence of impact.
The department sent the green train car to a laboratory for further investigation.