Looking forward to the future of journalism

Internal memos: Fiesta Texas struggled to control the Rattler’s ‘excessive speeds’

After 20 years, a fearsome monster called the Rattler is closing down at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It’s a good time to reflect on the park’s flagship roller coaster — and how it suffered from excessive speeds when it opened in 1992. These internal memos and letters were uncovered in lawsuits filed against Fiesta Texas … Read more

After mishaps, Kiddie Park opens for business

Kiddie Park, the troubled children’s attraction that I wrote about in June, is under new ownership. Reporter Elizabeth Allen covered the reopening yesterday of the remodeled park. There’s also a neat slideshow by photographer Lisa Krantz of kids having a blast. The decades-old rollercoaster, which suffered structural failures on at least two occasions and knocked … Read more

KTSA’s Paul Alexander discusses thrill-ride injuries

Here’s a recording of my radio interview last week with KTSA’s Paul Alexander. We talked about a San Antonio Express-News investigation of the thrill ride industry, and how the public can check a little-known government database that tracks amusement ride injuries in Texas. The Express-News posted the injury data online for anyone interested in checking … Read more

Tracking the safety history of the Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas

Nice to see Brooks Egerton at the Dallas Morning News used our new database of amusement ride injuries to check the safety record of the Texas Giant rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Texas. In his blog post today, Egerton discussed how the Texas Giant is closed and he was quickly able to check whether people … Read more

Mishaps mar Kiddie Park memories

Our second story in our series about the safety record of amusement parks in Texas focused on Kiddie Park, a San Antonio landmark that opened in 1925 but has fallen on tough times. In at least three incidents, the park’s aging rides malfunctioned or broke with scared children on board. One 6-year-old boy knocked his … Read more

Theme park injuries go unreported in Texas

Ten years ago (wow, I’m getting old) I wrote a series of stories about the safety record of San Antonio’s major theme parks — Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld San Antonio, and Splashtown. I learned state officials keep a little-known database that tracks amusement-ride injuries in Texas. The database isn’t perfect. The injuries are self-reported … Read more

Texas database tracks theme park injuries

You can check the safety record of Texas theme parks and carnivals by searching a unique database of 1,800 reports detailing broken bones, chipped teeth and other injuries. Officials at the Texas Department of Insurance collect injury reports from amusement ride owners and type the information into a database. We obtained a copy of the … Read more