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Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Coaster Decaptitates Twenty-Four Passengers; IAAPA Blames Rider Error

A roller coaster running at the new "Old Oklahoma" Theme Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, decapitated twenty-four passengers, its full capacity, on Monday. The coaster, called "The Head Remover," was considered a new breed of thrill ride, most notably due to its eight three-foot razor-sharp blades spinning rapidly approximately one foot above the trains -- or at roughly head level -- at its conclusion. The twenty-four dead were the first to ride the coaster after its opening after being assured by ride operators that the blades were "just for show" and that they would retract well before the train went under them.

Spokesmen for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, or IAAPA, blamed the deaths on rider error. "Upon examining the ride, it appears that any passenger could have easily avoided any injury by either extricating themselves from the restraints and leaping over the side or by merely doing the sensible thing and wearing plate mail armor on the ride. This clearly is purely rider misconduct and should not detract from the amusement park industry's excellent safety record."

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