It once held the record for the world’s tallest roller coaster. The renowned Top Thrill Dragster is being retired at Cedar Point after 19 years and a tumultuous past. Since a sad accident last August left a park visitor seriously injured, the ride that dominates Sandusky park’s skyline has been abandoned. A loosened component of the attraction struck a woman waiting in line in the head. State investigators investigated the accident’s cause for five months.
On train cars and track portions near the location where a metal plate split from the ride and dropped, they discovered loose bolts, wear indicators, deformation, and impact marks. On August 15, 2021, the woman was struck by a piece of metal compared to “a man’s hand” in size. According to a statement from the family following the accident, Michigan resident Rachel Hawes, 44, suffered brain damage and is currently receiving medical care.
Top Thrill Dragster Investigation
In its study from February, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of inspecting amusement attractions, concluded that Cedar Point was unaware that the ride was dangerous on the day of the tragedy.
State probe: Top Thrill accident investigation clears Cedar Point. The plate that came loose was fastened with bolts and intended to hover just above the track and a network of sensors monitored the roller coaster as it sped through a 420-foot-tall hill in 17 seconds.
Before the accident, about 18 million visitors experienced the rollercoaster, which launched passengers into the air in 3.8 seconds at a speed of 120 mph.
Top Thrill Dragster was the tallest and fastest coaster in the world when it first launched in 2003, but the Kingda Ka coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, broke those records in 2005. When it originally opened, it also boasted imitation Goodyear tires.
Past Top Thrill Dragster Incidents
The coaster was troubled from the beginning, which resulted in many closures as the park struggled with its intricate and unpredictable hydraulic system. Two previous incidents on the coaster resulted in injuries to riders. In July 2004, a frayed metal cable caused four people to be struck by flying debris, and two riders were hurt in 2016 when a launch cable came loose from the coaster. Since the ride’s debut in 2003, it has drawn lengthy lineups and curious onlookers. Even spectators could watch it run from a set of bleachers.
Cedar Point’s Future
The rollercoaster “as you know it is being discontinued,” Cedar Point stated in a social media post on Monday morning.
— Tony Clark (@TonyClarkCP) September 6, 2022
The theme park stated that a later announcement regarding a fresh and “reimagined” ride experience would be made. There will be a new coaster at the park next summer, even if the Top Thrill will be gone at the start of the 2023 season and its potential replacement is still up in the air. And it is entirely different in every way, even size. A Wild Mouse coaster will return to Cedar Point’s newly redesigned Boardwalk area on the park’s eastern beachside.
In time for the 2023 season, Cedar Point will welcome a brand-new Wild Mouse roller coaster. Six of the cars on the brand-new Wild Mouse roller coaster will be decorated with mice, and one will be decorated with cheese. It will stand 52 feet tall. The new coaster will have cars that can rotate 360 degrees as it travels down 1,312 feet of orange track that dips and twists. To make room for an outdoor stage close to the Valravn roller coaster, the park’s previous Wild Mouse coaster, the Wildcat, was taken out of service in 2011.
Cedar Point’s summer 2023 plans include a brand-new Wild Mouse coaster and a lakeside restaurant. As the park approaches its well-liked fall HalloWeekends season, the number of functioning roller coasters has decreased to only 16 from 18 last season. The Wicked Twister, Mean Streak, Mantis, and Disaster Transport were recently eliminated or redesigned, and the Top Thrill Dragster joined their ranks.
The Top Thrill Dragster’s heritage and its significance to the history of roller coasters will never be forgotten, according to Elizabeth Ringas, communications director for the American Coaster Enthusiasts organization. Simply said, Cedar Point has a long history of constructing the biggest and best roller coasters, earning it the title of “America’s Roller Coast,” according to Ringas. Ringas said that Cedar Point’s portfolio of 16 roller coasters is still noteworthy, considering that many so-called large parks only have less than 10.
This summer, 860 ACE members from near and far gathered in Sandusky for a club gathering to ride the park’s roller coasters. Ringas, who formerly resided close to Cincinnati but now calls Virginia home, expressed her regret at not riding the Dragster more often. She recalls waiting for the first time to ride it for three hours and forty-five minutes due to some mechanical difficulties that day.
The sensation of having your cheeks caught by the wind, she said. “On Earth, there was just nothing like that.” Ringas noted that Cedar Point seldom completes a significant ride in half, leading her to believe that whatever happens to the redesigned Dragster will also be remarkable. She said, “I’m waiting with bated breath to see what happens. “I hope this goes somewhere fantastic.”
For more information like this, do visit lakecountyfloridanews.com.