Did the company behind the viral coaster with a cracked support beam build any in the Ozarks?

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – A North Carolina Amusement Park has announced plans to repair the roller coaster that went viral for having a cracked support beam. In this Fact Finders, we’re digging into this question; Did the company that built the Fury 325 roller coaster build any coasters here in the Ozarks?

Carowinds just announced plans to repair the Fury 325 roller coaster. The theme park consulted with the maker of the coaster, Bolliger & Mabillard. B&M determined the crack formed along a weld line in the steel column of the support beam. Carowinds tells us, “The new support column is being fabricated by B&M, and it’s expected to be delivered to the park next week.” See Carowinds full statement at the end of this story.

Franceen Gonzales is the chair of an international committee that looks at safety standards for amusement rides.

“I think it’s a message to everyone to go take a look at their rides,” explained Gonzales.

Again, B&M built the Fury 325. And it is the same company that built Wildfire at Silver Dollar City in Branson.

So, we asked for the latest state inspection report for Wildfire. In the report from May of this year, the inspector gave the ride Satisfactory or Passing grades. Gonzales explained that rides get either a pass or fail grade. There is no in-between. The inspector noted, “A visual and hands-on inspection of the ride found it to be in substantial compliance with safety standards.”

Gonzales tells us even though the two coasters share a designer and builder, it’s not a cookie-cutter situation.

“They’re all curated and custom-built for each site,” said Gonzales. “So, their inspection points might be different. For instance, the ride at Carowinds is a very different ride from what you might see at Silver Dollar City. They’re two completely different rides. So, although they’re the same manufacturer, the inspection points might be different. The forces on the ride might be different, the structural design might be different.”

Gonzalez also says there are layers of inspections, including those at the amusement park.

Silver Dollar City told us: Guest and host safety is our number one priority at Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City’s ride inspection practices meet ASTM F24 (American Society for Testing Material) standards and follow manufacturer inspection requirements. This practice includes daily inspections of ride components before the park opens. Silver Dollar City conducts additional supplementary inspections based on each ride’s manufacturer requirements and internal operational standards.

“The people that have built these rides and have invested in these rides are high-quality organizations,” explained Gonzales. “Now this situation, while it has come up, we don’t necessarily know what the cause was. And I think that in time, we will find that out. But all of us in this industry should be looking at this as a lesson to say, how do we prevent this from happening again in the future?”

Returning to the question, Did the company that built the Fury 325 roller coaster build any coasters here in the Ozarks? Yes. The company — built Wildfire in 2001. Based on our review of inspection records, there’s no current concern with the ride.

One more note, the safety expert we interviewed said if you see something wrong or what appears to be something wrong, say something to workers at the park you’re visiting. That happened in North Carolina, and it may have saved lives.

If you have something you want us to investigate, email us at [email protected]

Carowinds statement: “Since July 1, the park’s maintenance team and representatives from the ride’s manufacturer, Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers Inc. (B&M), have conducted a thorough inspection of the entire track, support columns, and foundation. In addition, and in partnership with B&M, we have performed a battery of tests to identify the cause of the fracture, which appears to have formed along a weld line in the steel column.

“Working in close coordination with B&M, we are planning to remove and replace the existing support column. The new support column, which is being fabricated by B&M, is expected to be delivered to the park next week.

“Following the installation of the new column, and as part of our normal protocol for rides such as Fury 325, we will conduct an extensive series of tests to ensure the safety and integrity of the coaster. These will include an accelerometer test that uses sensors to measure any variation in the ride experience. After that, we plan to operate the ride for 500 full cycles, performing tests and inspections of the entire ride throughout that period. Once this phase is completed, we will ask B&M and the third-party testing firm to perform a final inspection to ensure the ride exceeds all required specifications.

“B&M is regarded as one of the premier ride manufacturers in the world, with an impeccable reputation for quality and engineering. It’s important to understand that rides like Fury 325 are designed with redundancies in place to ensure the safety of guests in the event of an issue such as this.

“While we regularly inspect the coaster, we are planning to implement additional inspection procedures to ensure we are making every effort to promptly identify and address future potential issues. These new measures will include the regular use of drones outfitted with cameras to access and inspect hard-to-reach areas.

“The safety of our guests and associates will always be Carowinds’ top priority. Once the new support column is in place and all testing and inspections have been completed, we will work with the North Carolina Department of Labor’s Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau to prepare Fury 325 for reopening. We will share an update on the reopening of the ride when a date has been finalized.”

The Missouri Department of Public Safety supplied this information to us regarding roller coaster and amusement ride safety inspections; If you go to this link: https://s1.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/adrules/csr/current/11csr/11c40-6.pdf and go to page 4, 11 CSR 40-6.031 Amusement Ride Inspections, you’ll see that it explains that any amusement ride (including rollercoasters must have a Missouri operating permit). These must be renewed every year. How to get a permit is explained, but the most important part is that there has to be an inspection by an approved qualified inspector. It then spells out (5) that any renovations of a ride “that change the dynamics or control system shall require a re-inspection. The key here is that the inspector is working from the manufacturer’s specifications and follows the applicable standards. The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) sets standards, testing standards, and guides used within the industry.

To report a correction or typo, please email [email protected]

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