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Apr 29, 2011
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Anybody remember this incident from opening year?

This article is from WAVY.

September 8, 2007 -

The posting of video shot by a cell phone has irked Busch Garden Officials.

The grainy video shows Matthew Sassone, an ODU student, stuck on the new Griffon roller coaster ride unable to get out of the seat because the safety harness wouldn't release.

Sassone told Wavy.Com, "I started panicking. My legs were shaking, and it was so tight it cut my circulation turning my legs purple."

The video was shot by Sassone's friend Clayton Mercurio of Virginia Beach and posted on YouTube's Website.

Cindy Sarko Director of Communications for Busch Gardens Europe responds, "We also believe they were trying to get their 5 minutes of fame because they found it necessary to video tape our trying to get Matthew out of the seat."

But Sarko goes further blaming Sassone for tampering with the ride, "He poked some kind of a metal object whether it be a screwdriver or something to bend the harness to allow that harness to open properly as it should have done."

Untrue says Sassone, "I was sitting in the seat when it happened. I did not damage the ride. I did not."

Sarko claims that out of the 1.5 million Griffon riders since May, only twice has the harness refused to lift at rides end and both times on two different days involved Matthew Sassone.

Sarko says, "Our experts have concluded: Operations, maintenance engineers and safety experts with more than 30 years of experience in this business have concluded, there was a deliberate act done by these two gentlemen."

Clayton Mercurio, offended by Sarko's accusation responds, "the fact it happened twice shows there's a problem with the ride. The fact it happened twice shows that they need to look into why Matthew got stuck on it two times in the same seat in the same row."

Busch Gardens slapped both men with No Trespassing orders, took away their season passes with no refund ordering Mercurio to stay away for a year, and Sassone for two years.

I still can remember Cindy Sarko talking about this on the news.  I'd never heard her so pissed off! LOL
 
Apr 29, 2011
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Shane said:
Wow, this is fishy, I think they are guilty!!

Definitely!

B&M harnesses just don't stay locked or get jammed like that.

1.5 million riders in that amount of time and it happens twice to the same person!?!? Yeah, whatever!!!
 

b.mac

Indiana Beach Vibe
May 14, 2011
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Unagi said:
Shane said:
Wow, this is fishy, I think they are guilty!!

Definitely!

B&M harnesses just don't stay locked or get jammed like that.

1.5 million riders in that amount of time and it happens twice to the same person!?!?  Yeah, whatever!!!

You actually can jam the ratchets on B&M trains but it takes quite a bit of effort to do so for more than a few seconds. It seems this guy used the same method I'm aware of and judging by the video and the article he was fully aware of this little "trick."

Note: on most B&Ms the issue could've been fixed by pushing down on the restraint really hard, I've had to do it to a few people this year already.
 
Jul 10, 2014
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I'd LOVE to get evacuated from a roller coaster. I actually remember this story. These dudes are guilty as hell, though. B&M has an amazing safety/accident record, and you'd actually have to really try in order to cause a malfunction in those restraints.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
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What is it with all of you people wanting to be evacuated from a roller coaster. I'm looking at you too, Evan.
 

Shane

ParkFans Founder
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Jun 2, 2011
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Perhaps. I've never been evac-ed and don't really have a desire to. While the actual evac process might be interesting, the thought of being "stuck" for any amount of time while you wait to get evac-ed is not my idea of fun. Who wants to be stuck out in the heat on a break run for any amount of time?
 
May 3, 2011
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Hey, being evacuated is fun! I haven't been evacuated from high up though. Just from Volcano's launch after it rolled back.

I wouldn't mine being evacuated on Griffon, I'm actually going on the roller coaster tour in a week and a half.
 

b.mac

Indiana Beach Vibe
May 14, 2011
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I had to do a mock evac from the lift before. Just a heads up it is not a fun process for anyone involved, and you'll be sitting there for a solid 25-30 minutes before anyone even talks to you.

In terms of severity of the evacs here's my list from best to worst:
Drop Tower - manual release after about 5 minutes
Waiting brake - fast 10-15 minute evac since it's right next to the station.
Service brake - 20 minute evac depending on how far the brake is from the station. Traditional evacs require all guests evac'd to go back through the station.
Block Brake/MCBR - 30 minute evac minimum pending on where the block is and how high it is. Nitro requires an actual mode of transportation to get to its MCBR in a respectable amount of time.
Lift - pending on where you are it could be either a 10-15 minute evac or upwards of 30-45 minutes. Evac'ing from 125 feet up sucks, and it's especially bad if it's a steep lift.
Floorless Waiting - You have to manually install floors to get people off, adds a few more minutes to get evac'd.
Floorless Service/MCBR - Same thing with a hike.
Floorless Lift - Hell incarnate, climb stairs, move 40 pound floors and install them, and walk guests down the stairs. It'll take a while to complete this evac.
Flying Coaster anywhere - Sit in the flying position for about 20 minutes, worse than all the previous ones combined. Don't get me started on a lift evac, either.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
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b.mac, do you know how they evacuate inverted coaster like those from Vekoma where there is no catwalk next to the cars? Seems like somebody wasn't thinking when those kinds of rides were designed.
 
Jul 22, 2010
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Nicole said:
What is it with all of you people wanting to be evacuated from a roller coaster.  I'm looking at you too, Evan.

It is not being evacuated that the rider would be thrilled with but the experience of something new. The subconscious is bored of just the ride and is craving a new experience outside of the stale same ole same old.
 
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