Archive for Sunday, June 29, 2008

Teenager decapitated by Six Flags coaster

June 29, 2008

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— A teenager was decapitated by a roller coaster after he hopped a pair of fences and entered a restricted area Saturday at Six Flags Over Georgia, authorities said.

Six Flags officials are uncertain why the unidentified 17-year-old from Columbia, S.C., scaled two six-foot fences and passed signs that said the restricted area was both off-limits and dangerous to visitors, spokeswoman Hela Sheth said in a news release.

Authorities were investigating reports from witnesses who said the teenager jumped the fences to retrieve a hat he lost while riding the Batman roller coaster, said Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce. Police have declined to release the teenager's name until an autopsy is completed.

Six Flags said it closed the roller coaster after the Saturday afternoon accident out of respect for the teen's family. The ride was expected to reopen Monday, according to a Six Flags spokeswoman.

Police said the ride was going full-speed when the teen was struck. The ride's top speed is 50 mph, according to the park's Web site.

No one riding on the roller coaster was injured, Sheth said. The teen was with another boy who also entered the restricted area but was not injured, Pierce said.

The teen and his parents were at the park with a group from the Oakey Spring Baptist Church near Springfield, S.C., police said.

In May 2002, 58-year-old groundskeeper Samuel Milton Guyton of Atlanta was killed after he wandered in a restricted area under the Batman roller coaster's path and was struck in the head by the dangling leg of one of the ride's passengers.

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