An Accident on a Log Flume Ride at a Fairground

Joint instructions to investigate the likely circumstances of an accident on a log flume fairground ride were received from solicitors acting for a young girl who sustained injuries and from the insurer of the ride operator. It was claimed that the girl injured her neck as a result of being thrown forwards forcefully when the boat in which she was travelling ran into the water at the bottom of a drop.

In order to assess the forces to which the riders could have been subjected, acceleration (g-force) measurements were made using accelerometers. This involved riding the log flume a number of times with instruments in the boat connected to a laptop computer.

Analysis of the acceleration data indicated that there was a slight tendency for the riders to be 'pushed' forwards when the boat decelerated as it ran into the water. The level of the water in the channel had a bearing on the forces that were applied to the riders, because it affected when the 'forwards' force was applied in relation to the 'downwards' force that resulted from the boat levelling out at the bottom of the drop (if the two forces were applied at the same time, the rider was pressed into the seat and was not pushed forwards).

The case was settled following the production of our report.

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