Coney Island, NY Amusement Ride Collapses, July 1968


New York (UPI) -- Half a spinning overhead amusement ride at Coney Island collapsed Saturday night, plunging eight persons in four cars to the asphalt pavement 20 feet below. In all, 14 of the 16 riders were hurt.
The accident occurred as "The Orbit" slowed toward the end of its ride. Two parallel overhead crossbars support four cars, two on each end. One of the crossbars collapsed in flight, and a brake snapped and locked the second crossbar, jolting eight other riders and leaving them suspended 20 feet above the ground.
None of those injured apparently was badly hurt, police said.
Firemen using ladder trucks helped the eight suspended riders to safety. Six of them were shaken but not seriously hurt. All wore seatbelts. Police said this probably prevented serious injury.
Police said a rod, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, broke while the ride was in midair and sent the crossbar plunging to the pavement. There were eight cars, two on each end of the two crossbars, and all 16 seats on the ride were filled.
Gerald Simon, one of the many who saw the accident at the world famous bathing resort and amusement area, said the ride was just slowing down when the crossbar collapsed.
"Otherwise it would have flown over the fence," he said.
Mounted police led ambulance litterbearers through the thick Saturday night throng.
Games and rides continued at other amusement areas in the park although police barricaded the area just around the accident to keep away a large crowd that quickly formed to see what happened.

Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa 1968-07-21