Somehow, a roller coaster in Japan known for accelerating more quickly than any other in the world and operating at what’s dubbed “super death” speed has started to cause injuries. Now, it’s been shut down as investigators try to determine why the previously safe death-contraption has begun to break its riders’ bones.
In a report from Vice, we learn that Fuji-Q Highland Park’s Do-Dodonpa roller coaster was built in 2001 and has spent the last 20 years safely flinging people around at what its operators call “super death” speed until it suddenly started badly injuring people late last year. “Since December, at least six riders sustained bone fractures” from the ride, the article says, including four who “said they broke their neck or back.”
Even though the Do-dodonpa is the world’s fastest-accelerating roller coaster (it tops out at between 172-180 kilometers per hour) and puts riders through motions “comparable to the G-force experienced by astronauts during a rocket launch,” it’s been safely used for decades. Its manufacturer and government officials haven’t been able to figure out why the ride has decided now is the time to start breaking bones, but an architecture professor believes the park’s failure to correct riders’ seating positions and Do-dodonpa’s intense acceleration might be responsible.
Between the risk of broken bones and the constant possibility of getting smacked in the face by a passing bird, the world’s thrill rides seem to have become far too dangerous for those of us who aren’t readily prepared to snap our necks or eat feathers in exchange for a chance to experience a sick loop-the-loop. Truly, it’s a sad day when we can no longer count on total safely from taking a ride on a contraption designed to put us through “super death” speeds.
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