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Poor safety led to roller coaster accident

By WANG XU in Shenzhen, Guangdong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-09 09:35
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The roller coaster accident that sent 28 people to hospital in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in October was caused by systemic safety failures, according to an investigation report on the incident released Monday.

The report suggested three individuals who worked at the Happy Valley amusement park be referred to judicial authorities.

The report pinpointed inadequate safety at Happy Valley, citing insufficient implementation of safety measures by park management.

Among the key revelations, the report disclosed that Happy Valley exhibited a lack of safety awareness, and failed to implement primary safety responsibilities and oversee potential hazards. It also highlighted the park's allowance for the operation of malfunctioning equipment and the inadequate skills of maintenance personnel.

The report found that a fatigue fracture in a bolt on the Snow Eagle roller coaster caused a brake plate to shift, preventing the lead car from stopping. When it was unable to traverse the highest point of the track, it slid backward causing subsequent collisions.

The incident led to 28 people being sent to hospital, with three sustaining serious injuries, seven with minor injuries, 11 with slight injuries, and seven were assessed to have escaped without injury.

The investigation team proposed comprehensive measures, including stringent rectification of safety hazards, enhanced equipment management, intensified early-warning awareness and a thorough overhaul of the amusement park's safety culture.

It also proposed that Luo Hongjun, the deputy general manager of Happy Valley Shenzhen, Liu Langchao, the manager of the equipment maintenance department, and Zhou Weijiang, the technical leader of Run Chang Amusement Culture Group be referred to judicial authorities.

Three government bodies and nine officials also bore the brunt of the investigation's ire, and the Shenzhen Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision on Monday took measures against them, including written inspections, warnings and government affairs disciplinary notes.

Happy Valley responded on Monday with a public statement on its WeChat account, acknowledging the safety concerns highlighted by the investigation and outlining a comprehensive four-point plan for rectification including a commitment to reshape the safety system, embedding safety development principles and ensuring effective implementation of safety responsibilities.

The amusement park concluded its statement with a sincere apology for the accident and an assurance of prioritizing safety.

The incident has caused a direct economic loss to Happy Valley estimated at 3,975,000 yuan ($560,000).

Yi Yang contributed to this story.

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