Witnesses quoted in a police report attributed the Mt Olympus roller coaster accident to a lap bar that opened, allowing a 63-year-old man to fall injuring his head and breaking bones.
The official report on the accident from the state’s Department of Safety and Professional Services is not complete. Hannah Zillmer, public information officer for the department, told the Events she had no new information on the accident. “New information will be available when the investigation is concluded.”
Anthony J. Theisen, 63, of Fremont, remains hospitalized and in an induced coma after falling about 17 feet from the Opa Coaster at Mt. Olympus Theme Park, a report by Channel 3000 says in quoting attorney Todd R. Korb of the Milwaukee Law Firm of Hupy and Abraham. Korb was described in the report as the family’s attorney
Korb also said Theisen had a fractured scapula, four fractured vertebrae, fractured toes, a fractured finger and dislocated shoulder, but the head injury was described as life threatening.
The Lake Delton Police report released this week includes statements taken immediately after the accident occurred March 6 from those who saw the accident. One statement is a witness who said she rode the same cart on the Opa Roller Coaster and the lap bar was “loose.” The woman, who contacted police after leaving the scene and returning to her hotel room, also said she told that to her granddaughter. She also told police that she had to hold the lap bar down during the entire ride.
The police report also includes interviews with and statements from the ride attendant, the mechanics, those riding in the same cart as Theisen, a park manager and other park ride attendants who witnessed the accident.
The couple who were riding with Theisen and his wife, said they saw Theisen “flying out of the cart” and that he was flying through the air “like a rag doll.” The man and his wife told police they did not notice if Theisen’s bar was loose or unsecure.
The indoor theme park maintenance person told police that he and other maintenance personnel swapped out three of the Opa twister carts for three others on the track. He said normal checks were performed and test laps run. The switching of the carts was said to be done yearly.
The ride operator told police she had been told not to use a red cart that was having problems. When the group with Theisen arrived, she assigned them to a yellow cart, closed the lap bars and checked to make sure the bars were secure, she said in her statement to police. She said she did not see the accident but heard shouting and then saw only three people were in the cart and Theisen was on the ground. She said she shut down the coaster and two ride attendants went to Theisen’s assistance.
One of the ride attendants told police that he had heard the red coaster car was not being used because of issues with the lap bars not closing properly.
The manufacturer of the ride, Zamperla of Italy, was also reported to have investigated the accident. Zamperla, which has offices in New Jersey, was contacted by the Events but no one from the company’s New Jersey office, returned the call.