Marine World fatality after ride

The Associated Press
Friday August 17, 2001

VALLEJO — The death of a woman who suffered bleeding in the brain after riding a spinning teacup-style ride at Six Flags Marine World has officials wondering if such rides should be more closely studied. 

Authorities are now investigating the death of the 42-year-old, who last month was this summer’s second fatality involving a brain injury at a Six Flags theme park in the state. 

“In a matter of weeks, we have seen two of them,” said Dean Fryer, spokesman for the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “That raises the question, ’Has this been going on and nobody’s known or tracked it?’ I don’t have an answer.” 

Fryer said he has no evidence that the woman had a pre-existing medical condition or that the bleeding that occurred on her brain resulted from riding the Monkey Business ride. The attraction was reopened after it was found to have no mechanical problems. 

“We don’t have jurisdiction to investigate anything other than mechanical operations,” Fryer said. “Our jurisdiction is to look at the operations of the ride to ensure it is safe and operated in a safe manner and according to the manufacturer’s specifications.” 

Jeff Jouett, park spokesman, said he doesn’t believe the death was ride-related. 

On July 21, the woman said her head hurt and she was lightheaded and numb on her left side after riding the attraction twice. Park medical officials treated her on site, and she was transported to an area hospital where she died after two days. 

The park and the state did not know of the woman’s death until this month. 

No autopsy was performed on the woman’s body. 

In June, a woman died from heart disease related to hypertension after riding a roller coaster. Pearl Santos, 28, had a ruptured brain aneurysm. An autopsy showed that the stress of riding the Goliath roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita was the probable culprit. 

More study into brain-related injuries associated with theme-park rides has been requested by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.