The love affair with amusement parks began in Coney Island, New York. In 1884, thousands of people flocked here to ride on La Marcus A. Thompson’s Switchback Gravity Pleasure Railway. This Pleasure Railway offered the chance to speed along its 450-foot track at 6 mph. By 1927, the Coney Island Cyclone, which travelled at 60 mph, ushered in a new area of roller coasters. With it came real dangers. While the risk is small, the odds of dying at an amusement park are 1 in 300 million. Here is our list of 14 crazy amusement park accidents that resulted in death.
14. Coaster Accidentally Switches Tracks at Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City, located in Missouri, is one of America’s most successful amusement parks. Fire in The Hole, a three-story steel enclosed roller coaster, is a favorite amongst amusement park enthusiasts for its dated production values and the peculiar concept of the ride. It’s also the ride responsible for the only fatality at Silver Dollar City since it’s doors opened in 1960.
On July 9, 1980, 23-year-old James Frederick Polley was one of several passengers riding a train on Fire in the Hole, which was mistakenly thought to be empty. The train was switched from the main tracks onto a maintenance track heading towards a storage area with a low hanging door. Maintenance workers shouted at the passengers to duck. Polley failed to react and smashed his head on the door. The accident was ruled a case of human error and the ride re-opened two days later.