Thursday, August 18, 2011

Darien Lake Accident Report Released

Democrat and Chronicle: Before Sgt. James Hackemer died in a fall off a ride at Darien Lake Theme Park, he inquired about boarding procedures for disabled riders, according to a state accident report obtained by WGRZ-TV.
Hackemer went to guest services about an hour and a half before he died. The report states that procedures were explained to Hackemer and that he was also given a brochure titled "A Guide to Fun at the Park for Guests with Disabilities." The report states that Hackemer refused the brochure, stating that he already had a copy.

The report also states that during the investigation, the New York State Department of Labor requested copies of the novelty souvenir photos taken during the Ride of Steel roller coaster ride during which Hackemer died but it's unclear whether Hackemer was seen in those photos.

Hackemer, a double amputee injured in Iraq, was thrown from the ride July 8 and killed instantly. He was laid to rest on Monday in Arlington National Cemetery.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office recently confirmed that the Department of Labor is in the final stages of creating an online database that will allow New Yorkers to search inspection violations for amusement rides.

After Hackemer's death, WGRZ sent a Freedom of Information Law request to New York state requesting copies of the state's inspection reports for the ride.

The state responded Tuesday and forwarded inspection records for the past three years as well as the accident report.

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