Funland holds a special place in the hearts of Delaware natives and longtime visitors to the boardwalk’s beloved amusement park.
So when three teenagers were injured there on Sunday night – in the closing hours of the Funland season – the community responded with love, concern and a growing number of questions.
One in particular: how exactly were these teens injured?
Rehoboth Beach Police reported earlier this week that all of the injuries were related to a failure of the air storage tank near the ride known as the Superflip 360. Two girls, 14 and 15, were treated for of injuries to Beebe Healthcare and released. A 16-year-old boy was airlifted to Christiana hospital with a serious head injury, police said.
Funland’s personnel manager Chris Darr confirmed that none of those injured on Sunday were riding the ride, but instead were standing close to it.
Several people who were in the park at the time said they heard a “loud boom” or something that sounded like an “explosion”, but the police only acknowledged that “the flying debris from the failure of the tank d ‘air’ had at least partially caused the boy’s head. injury.
EMS reports:3 people injured at Rehoboth’s Funland, including one to the head
In an updated press release on Tuesday, police attempted to clarify the cause of the injuries.
Both girls, police said, “suffered injuries related to the environmental conditions created by the failure of the air tank,” and the 16-year-old boy’s injury was caused by “environmental conditions,” as well as by flying debris.
Lt. Jaime Riddle, spokesperson for the Rehoboth Beach Police Department, said he couldn’t say more about these environmental conditions without learning more about what specifically caused the injuries.
An example of these conditions, he said, could be noise.
Darr agreed that this explanation seemed to cause some confusion.
“We are not medical professionals,” he said, “but we have internally assessed the” environmental conditions “in question as possibly related to loud noise or air compression.”
Ultimately, however, he referred any clarification back to the police department.
Full details of what happened may not be released until the Office of the State Fire Marshal completes its investigation.
Controls and security
Even though these injuries did not happen on the ride, any mishap at an amusement park could cause someone’s safety to worry or wonder if the park has performed all the necessary inspections.
In Delaware, the Office of the State Fire Marshal is the only government agency with the legal authority to determine whether amusement park rides have been properly inspected.
CONTEXT:Read The Ride, Food Inspection Reports: How Officials Make Sure Delaware State Fair Is Safe
The office collects annual inspection reports prepared for each trip. Delaware law does not specify where and when these inspections should be performed, only that they should be performed by a professional licensed by the salon’s insurer.
The News Journal / Delaware Online requested inspection forms for all rides at Funland. All forms were approved by the Fire Marshal on April 28, 2021 and each ride passed inspection without requiring additional parts or maintenance.
This included the Superflip 360, also known as the MIDI Dance Party 360, which was made by an Italian company called SBF Rides / VISA International. The inspection company was FX Inspection Services, based in Chester Springs, PA.
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Beyond that initial inspection, however, Darr said Funland’s trained maintenance team inspects every ride before daily operation.
“Routine maintenance is part of our day-to-day operation and our staff are quick to close an amusement ride during the operating day if necessary,” he said.
At least one person commented on social media that they noticed the Superflip 360 had been shut down for maintenance on Thursday, September 9 before the incident on Sunday.
Darr confirmed this interview, explaining that the staff used the time to clean and re-grease the center grease wheel “for optimum performance” after heavy rains earlier in the day.
The Superflip 360 was added to Funland in 2017 as a more thrill ride. It was described in a Delaware Online / The News Journal article as “a pendulum partly like a sea dragon, partly inverted with a pause and a drop to mimic the feel of a roller coaster and partly a spinning. “.
The manufacturer’s website says the ride can accommodate 12 people and reaches a maximum height of 12.6 meters or about 41 feet.
While the investigation is ongoing, this would be the first time that an equipment failure has resulted in an injury to Funland, Darr said.
“Over the past 60 years, our commitment to providing a safe and fun experience for all of our guests and employees has resulted in an excellent safety record,” he said. “To our knowledge, Funland has never experienced an equipment failure resulting in injury. “
The Funland family continue to pray for a full recovery of everyone involved, he said.
Emily Lytle covers Sussex County from inland towns to beaches. Got a story to tell? Contact her at [email protected] or 302-332-0370. Follow her on Twitter at @ emily3lytle.