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Disneyland Article
Dangerous Disneyland Mental Fatigue Part 2

Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Cal Jones
February 14, 2016
February 14, 2016
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It wasn't until I was almost finished with the human stupidity portion of this "Dangerous Disney" article that I realized that this should be a two-parter, so that (in addition to keeping it from being too long) some might hopefully regain some faith in humanity. Here is that second part. Again, some of these I've only read about on one site.

I start with the PeopleMover, again. In 1968 a rainstorm caused one car's wheels to slip while at the top of a steep bend. A domino effect occurred, throwing passengers about, into poles, walls and each other. One woman got her cheek cut open on her daughter's hair clip; 23 people were injured and non-skid pneumatic tires were installed. In 1993, an electrical fire broke out as it passed through the Tron Tunnel near America Sings. The fire was extinguished before anyone got hurt, save a few employees with smoke inhalation.

Another fire would happen on Pirates of the Carribean, on Fourth of July, the year it opened. An electrical fire set a pirate leaning against a light post ablaze. Concerned guests mentioned it as it grew when they got off the ride. Because of the realistic fire effects, employees told them that it was supposed to look like that, unaware of the real fire spreading. Eventually, the sprinkler system would extinguish the fire and wader-clad cast members diverted boats and escorted guests to the exits. In 2000, a woman hit her head on a nearby bench when the boat she was in stopped abruptly.

This next fire would be on the Matterhorn. In 1971, a fire started just as a family was going by. The family shot through the five foot blaze, which engulfed both sides of the car. They were doused with a greasy substance that burned them and stung their eyes. Sprinkler systems would put out the fire but officials were unable to determine the cause.

A common practice on the Matterhorn to retrieve wind-blown hats was to use a bent coat hanger. One cast member leaned out too far rounding a corner whilst retrieving a wig and fell out of the back of the sled. She fell 50 feet through the center of the Mountain, managing to not hit track or any support beams and landing on a pile of dirt. She survived, though broke both shoulders, some ribs, and her pelvis.

An elderly gentleman suffered a heart attack while riding with his two granddaughters. Last May, an employee slipped and fell from the loading dock, suffering minor injuries. Operation continued normally a few hours later.

Splash Mountain has had a couple of accidents as well. An 80-year-old woman was exiting her log when she fell into the water from the loading platform and broke her leg. In later years, an overloaded log would become stuck midway through. The log was not tied down while being unloaded and it lurched forward, causing a man to fall and hit his back on the plastic seat. While the log had been overloaded by about 200 pounds, the man was a hefty 400 pounds in addition to having pre-existing back problems, so he was not compensated for his injury.

Monorail orange suffered a power outage and stalled over the Submarine Lagoon falls. The driver knew that another train was coming toward him and he jumped below the rail to the catwalk and ran to the emergency call box, shouting "Monorail orange Emergency Stop!" It stopped the train barreling his way and all others. One man stuck his head out the window and yelled that if he missed the Electrical Parade, there would be hell to pay. After that, all Monorails were equipped with battery-powered radios.

When Fort Wilderness was opened, there were toy guns in the block houses. In 2001 a six-year-old girl was playing with one and slipped and fell. Her left index finger got caught in the trigger, causing her to lose most of it. Doctors were unable to reattach the finger.

America Sings had arguably one of the most gruesome deaths and it was the first employee death. The six theaters circled around a main stage. A hostess for the ride was crushed between the circling theater wall and the stationary stage wall nine days after the attraction opened. Guests in an adjacent theater heard her bloodcurdling screams and alerted other staff members. After her death, safety lights and breakaway walls were installed to prevent it from happening again.

Space Mountain mostly makes people sick, like one woman who became ill in 1979. When her rocket returned to the station, it was to be removed from service and she was told to stay put. One ride operator didn't get the message and sent the rocket on a second, three minute ride. When she returned she was barely hanging on to consciousness. She was removed to a bench where her husband met her. She fell into a coma and passed away a week later.

A year later, a ride attendant in charge of checking safety bars became entangled in one of the rockets and was dragged twenty-five feet, breaking her pelvis and ankle, injuring her back, and getting numerous cuts and bruises.

A terrible malfunction closed Space Mountain for about two years. In 2000, a wheel-arm assembly had come loose, which brought one of the rockets to a violent halt. The floor of the rocket buckled, spraining one woman's ankle. Altogether, nine were injured. A few years later, a rocket blew through a brake zone, into the back of a stopped rocket, injuring four. The ride was closed to rebuild the track from scratch from 2003 to 2005.

Even Dumbo isn't entirely safe. On three separate occasions part of a support arm broke. In 1989, the bracket that connected the arm to the elephant broke, tipping the elephant to a forty-five degree angle. It's passengers spilled put and were dragged on the walkway. The following year, it happened again to a thirteen-year-old girl. It was torn down and rebuilt, but the elephant would break loose again.

The lap bar on Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin wasn't properly lowered and a four-year-old fell through the opening of his car and was pinned under an oncoming car. He was rendered brain-damaged and passed nine years later. Before then, children were to be seated on the opposite side of the opening. The ride was closed until all cars had doors and sensors that detected obstructions installed on each underside.

An overzealous deckhand hitched the Columbia to Mark Twain Landing before the ship had come to a complete stop, causing the cleat that the still-moving Ship was tied to to tear from it's mooring post. The foot long cleat flung through the crowd, removing part of the cast member's foot, and into the head and the face of a husband and wife, respectively. The husband was removed from life support two days later.

Exactly thirty-three years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Submarine Voyage got it's to speak. A trainer was bringing a submarine online while another filled with Japanese tourists prepared to shove off. The trainer's sub caught the second as the first was coming out of the water, breaking out two portholes. The passengers scrambled to escape the sinking submarine, some jumping into the water and swimming to safety, while others walked back to the dock in the three-foot-deep canal.

In 2003, Big Thunder Mountain would have its own deadly crash. Locomotive number two, I.M. Brave, lost its bogie, the rear wheel assembly. The engine decoupled and derailed as it went through a tunnel, colliding with the roof. The train had gone around the track twelve times when cast members noticed a noise coming from it. They decided to inspect it after its thirteenth cycle. About a third of the way through, disaster struck. Some time during one of those cycles, likely the twelfth, a bolt from the train's left floating axle up-stop and guide-wheel assembly (what a mouthful) became detached. Before the train got back to the station, the other bolt became detached, causing the up-stop and guide-wheel assembly to fall into the track. When the train went on the curve after the drop with the hanging possums, the axle disengaged and hit the brake in brake zone one, approximately a third of the way through the ride. The brake, its lining, and sensor were damaged and when the sensor was damaged, the ride performed what is called an automatic dispatch inhibit, preventing any more trains from leaving the station.

The axle then wedged itself among a track tie, part of the locomotive, and a fixed brake, causing the train's rear axle assembly to detach from the track. This happened as it was going up a hill, so the rear was pushed upward, in the first of three impacts. The low nose position of the engine caused it to crash into the last brake in the aforementioned zone, shearing the brake from its mounts and getting car one farther underneath the train, and the train wedged between the roof of the tunnel and the car.

The impact severely damaged the first car, killing the passenger in the right front seat. The second car's rear axle also derailed, causing it to jackknife upward in the rear. This was impact number two. Car two hit another track brake - impact three. The train was still on the hill when all of this happened, so when the kinetic energy was expended, the train rolled backward, leaving the engine at the top. Car two's rear axle was further damaged by track and equipment as the rest of the cars coasted back. Another sensor issued an "automatic emergency stop," halting the backward coast. Altogether, around 11 people were hurt.

A one or two month investigation discovered that the train wasn't maintained properly, in part because there was consistent misunderstanding between park and outside machinists about Green and Yellow Tag procedure which goes thusly: Green Tags are used when all preventative maintenance work is complete and the passenger carrying device is ready to do so. Green Tag is good for 72 hours. If the 72 hours pass before being put back in service, it must be re-inspected. Yellow Tags are used to show that the device needs maintenance and the Tag is left on until all preventative maintenance is done. This a bit of a sampling of the "Acts of God" that happen at "The Happiest Place on Earth," so there might be more articles about them in the future. Stay safe, folks.
Attractions Referenced

America Sings

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Disneyland Monorail

Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Fort Wilderness

Mark Twain Riverboat

Matterhorn Bobsleds


Pirates Of The Caribbean

Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

Sailing Ship Columbia

Space Mountain

Splash Mountain

Submarine Voyage

Parades Referenced

Main Street Electrical Light Parade

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