“Three Knott’s Berry Farm visitors sustained minor injuries on Sunday, Dec. 30, when a stagecoach they were riding in tipped over after one of its wheels detached,” according to ABC News.
Knott’s issued a press statement about the incident, where they disclosed that: “At approximately 1:25 pm on December 30 the left rear wheel detached from one of Knott’s Berry Farm’s stagecoaches with 14 passengers on board, causing the coach to tip to its side. Three guests were transported to a local hospital for minor injuries. The ride will be closed until further notice. Guest safety is Knott’s number one priority.”
“The park was the focus of scrutiny in September when a brake froze on a thrill ride called WindSeeker. The malfunction prompted the temporary closure of the ride at six Knott’s Berry Farms across the country. It was the Southern California amusement park’s second such incident in as many weeks and the latest in a string of international malfunctions on the Dutch-made ride,” according to NBC News.
The obvious question when something like this happens is whether or not Knott’s was inspecting and maintaining their stagecoaches on a timely basis. That will come out in the subsequent Cal/OSHA investigation. Cal/OSHA has a Amusement Ride and Tramway (ART) Unit that is is responsible for conducting inspections of portable or temporary amusement rides (TAR), permanent amusement rides (PAR), and aerial passenger tramways or ski lifts.
Companies are expected to inspect and maintain amusement park attractions and they must keep accurate written records.
From an insurance perspective the main question will be whether or not the manufacturer of the stagecoach is liable for this accident – the question being, was the wheel of the stagecoach somehow defective?
You can review Knott’s record of Cal/OSHA investigations here, however that website only notes those investigations related to employee safety. Knott’s was issued three serious violations in a case opened on August 17, 2010. The violations were related to Guardrails at Elevated Locations; Rolling Scaffolds; and Portable Ladders.
You can read about more amusement park accidents here.