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Inspectors say L-shaped bracket from Top Thrill Dragster dislodged near end of ride, struck woman

Top Thrill Dragster
Posted at 3:02 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 18:04:16-04

SANDUSKY, Ohio — State officials provided details on Monday regarding the incident in which a woman was struck by a piece of metal that dislodged from the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point on Aug. 15.

That Sunday afternoon, a 44-year-old woman from Michigan was waiting in line to ride the Top Thrill Dragster when a metal object became dislodged from a train at the top of the 420-foot-tall ride. The park said the falling object then struck the woman as she stood in line. She was struck in the head, according to an accident report from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

David Miran, Chief of the Amusement Ride Safety Division of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), said the piece that became dislodged from the ride was an L-shaped bracket the size of an adult male's hand. The piece is used to communicate to the ride's operating system where a particular train is on the track.

Preliminary information indicates the incident happened near what would be the train’s max velocity at the bottom of the ride, but it is unclear how far away the woman was from the ride when she was struck.

Miran said during an inspection after the incident, the green train of the ride was missing the metal plate on its left side with half of the bolts that hold it on still in place. The track of the ride showed signed of impact and deformation, as did several of the horizontal track beams, from when the bracket became dislodged.

The state is currently investigating how and why the piece became dislodged from the ride.

Watch Miran speak to the press here:

Update on Top Thrill Dragster incident at Cedar Point

ODA last inspected the ride on May 14, Miran said, and Cedar Point does daily inspections before opening.

Miran and the state don’t believe the inspection in May missed anything, but, rather, the popularity and use of the ride brought about an issue between the May inspection and the incident.

"This ride is a popular one and has operated several cycles since the May 14 inspection, and so I don't believe this was missed during the original inspection," Miran said.

Miran said the state does not have the authority to order the dismantling and removal of a ride but is required to license and inspect, so if a ride does not meet regulations the state would not permit the ride.

Cedar Point has possession of the bracket and is continuing to investigate the situation.

After the incident, the woman was transported to Firelands Regional Medical Center and later transferred to St. Vincent's Hospital in Toledo.

Miran said they did not have an update on the condition of the woman but has been in contact with her family, updating them on the status of their investigation.

“We are devastated by last weekend’s accident at Cedar Point,” the woman's family said in a statement provided to ABC 12. “We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time. [She] is fighting for her life, and we would ask for privacy in this difficult time.”

ODA has been collecting inspection records, witness statements and other pertinent documents and are using them in the investigation.

The Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point has been shut down since. Aug. 15 as a result of the incident.

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