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Last time I went to KD I rode this with my friends four times in a row, we wanted the final "Hoo-rah" before we went home so we decided to ride it thinking we would just ride it once. The guy at the entrance of the ride asked if we wanted to ride again and we said sure because there was no line. We ended up riding it two times after that. We were DRENCHED!
 

Mushroom

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Matthew said:
I'm almost positive a girl drowned when a boat flipped on White Water Canyon.

Looks like you were close...

Theme Park Insider said:
three people were injured when knocked out of a raft on the ride. One was critically injured.

Follow-up:
i was employed by the park at the time, and was aware of the incident..it is a matter of public record and i have provided a link to a brief description of it. the passengers in question were standing, and not following any of the "pre-ride" rules...and the response of the park safety teams as well as the ride operators were to say the least, exceptional. [For more information about this incident, visit http://www2.richmond.com/localguide/themeparks/kd_safety.cfm] -- Submitted by Name Withheld on 4/20/2002

I remember the incident well, as I happen to be one of the passengers in the raft. There was no one standing in the raft. I was seatbelted in when the raft flipped. We caught up with the raft in front of us in a tight turn and got wedged in. When the waves started to push the first raft through, our raft rode up on the edge and flipped over. It was a freak accident, but we were following the rules. The only thing true in the other follow up is the response. The response time was exceptional. The park had divers in the water before we reached the next gate. Things could have been a lot worse. I was in ICU at MCV for 5 days, but the KD staff was beyond helpful. They even brought real food to the hospital for me. -- Submitted by beardednewt on 6/8/2007

I worked at Kings Dominion from 1990-1994; 1990 -1993 at the White Water Canyon and 1994 at the Water Park. I was working the day the incident took place working in the main station loading passengers onto the ride. All stations on the ride are connected by headphone communications, and when the tower one operator radioed in that we had a boat flip over, the shift supervisor yelled at me that we had a boat flip over, at which point I took off in a dead sprint for the second tower/gate to get to the people and boat. The supervisor hit the kill switch which currents the current to the ride which brings the boats to a stand still. When I reached the 2nd gate a guest from the flipped over boat yelled to me that he thought his sister was still trapped under the boat; at which time I entered the water. I am the one in the water that the other member of this forum is referring to. I dove under the overturned boat (very dark) and felt around for someone, but there was no one there. When I resurfaced for air some other guests yelled to me that the girl had gotten out. At this time there were other employees in the water and some emergency personnel were beginning to arrive. I then went over to the opposite side of the trough and rendered first aid to 2 guests, one with internal injuries and the other with a deep cut to his arm (I took my shirt off to help control the bleeding). By this time EMS was on the scene and they began to take over control of the situation. The quick actions of the supervisor to send me to the 2nd gate and to shut down the power helped prevent further injuries. This was a random accident that had nothing to do with the guests ‘behavior on the raft. Two rafts did catch up to each other which caused them to wedge a narrow point in the ride, and the force of the water flipped over one of the boats. King’s Dominion does and did have in place safety procedures for the ride, but since the boats are not a track, but rather free floating 1:1,000,000 accidents can happen. I mentioned earlier that I used my shirt to stop the bleeding of a guest. This is only relevant because since I did not have on my uniform top EMS personnel thought I was a guest in shock that was claiming to be an employee so I got herded with the injured guests instead of the employees as the situation began to resolve itself. This is how the incident happened as I was directly involved in not only the incident, but all the debriefing and counseling for the whole White Water Canyon Team that the park did after the incident. After that incident we even went and got tee-shirts made that we wore around the park, depicting a Raft, our names (on shark fins), with the Logo “White Water Canyon Crew…Tried and True”. Hope this adds some clarification to this incident. Thanks Will -- Submitted by WTJ06 on 8/19/2007

That's wild. I actually got chills reading your account, Will. No complaints whatsoever. I just wanted to Thank You for your response here and your response time at the park. My brother was the one with the deep cut on his arm. I was in MCV for drowning (more or less). The guy with internal injuries suffered a ruptured pancreas, spleen, and kidney. We owe you and the EMT's a lot more than a thank you. -- Submitted by beardednewt on 8/29/2007

I was also employed at Kings Dominion during this time. I first worked on the Grizzly coaster and later moved to a position as Foreman of Rides Department Training, where I was responsible for the hiring, initial training, and placement of seasonal staff on each ride in the department. I offer my input here to also verify Will's comments (he and I became very close friends while working at the park) and to point out the park's efforts to provide the safest experience for their guests. I am confident they continue to maintain high standards for safety. The park has always taken the safety of its guests most seriously and specific training is provided to those people who work each ride to make sure they are prepared to handle every situation. Everyone should feel very safe at Kings Dominion knowing that the employees on those rides, while they are mostly young people, are trained, tested, and (in the case of water rides or the water park) certified to perform their jobs. The crew of White Water Canyon that summer did an outstanding job and I am sure the current staff at the park is equal in their ability and dedication to guest safety. While park ownership has changed over the years, many of the park's full-time managers have been there a long time, some since the early 70's. These are the key people who have continued to instill the policies, procedures and standards that make the park such a great place to take our families. DR -- Submitted by CDR93 on 8/13/2008

its nice to know that the park operators are getting the well training for if the needs should arise and make the parks safer for the guest -- Submitted by banditt on 6/23/2009

Link to article

I'm not sure if this officially qualifies as "confirmed," but take that for what you will. Yikes.
 
Feb 9, 2013
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Maybe the parks maintenance team is doing rounds around the park fixing old effects that had been left to be forgotten. Maybe Backlot really did get fixed permanently. It goes along with Anaconda's splash effect also. I'm just really glad to hear that there's one park out there who listens to the people who truly care and love it.
 

wombat96

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Oh what about volcano? Sorry but it bugs me when I see videos from 2000 and see this awesome explosion. Back on topic but does anyone hope for a refurb in the saw mill?
 

Mushroom

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A few months back, Kings Dominion promised exciting enhancements to White Water Canyon's "iconic" sawmill as part of the KD40 revitalization of Old Virginia.

Though the ride wasn't supposed to open until May 3, it opened early while I was there yesterday. Curious about these exciting thematic enhancements, I went against all better judgement and decided to ride. Apparently everyone else was wiser than I was and had decided not to ride on this chilly Sunday, leaving me the sole person in line and the only person on my lonely raft, embarking down the rampaging river. Although my raft bucked and bounced through ice cold water, I shivered triumphantly as my boat slowly floated towards the sawmill and its fabled changes. Finally, alas, I had arrived!

So, Joe, was it worth getting soaked to the bone to see these changes?

The answer: absolutely not. Not in the slightest. The park did next to nothing in the sawmill. As my raft drifted into the dank sawmill, my heart sank upon seeing that the same two ancient, static lumberjack figures still stood eerily upon a pile of filth, just as they had in previous years. Literally the only difference in the entire sawmill was that there was a soundtrack of buzz saw sound effects blaring out from hidden speakers, but that was it. My blood was steaming in frustration as my boat lazed out of the sawmill, but fortunately, the freezing water of the gushing waterfalls quickly put that to a stop.

Now, the park did say that the theming enhancements wouldn't debut until May 3. That's still a week away. However, unless they do something completely amazing in the meager span of one week, I don't see how any major improvements could possibly occur. I did notice that the large saw blade in the middle of the room was missing, so perhaps it will return and finally regain its spinning effect.

Now, I know I shouldn't have expected much, but braving the freezing water to hear a recording of saw noises didn't exactly put me in the best mood. I mean, Knott's Berry Farm has tons of old lumber jack animatronics that they retired with the refurbishments of the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Ride in 2013 and 2014. Couldn't Cedar Fair have just shipped a few of their old, unused logger robotics over to Virginia?

Oh well. Perhaps I'm just bitter because, a day later, I'm still shivering. Still, with the sad "enhancement" of White Water Canyon, I have now encountered my first disappointment of the KD40 celebration.
 

horsesboy

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WasabiDragon said:
Since today is the 40th birthday celebration in the park, has anyone seen any improvements to White Water Canyon's theming?

They did a nice job new dummies and a moving saw with sound effects as well as some other small changes. I would say if you're not OK with getting soaked on a water ride then it's not worth it but if you enjoy those rides it worth it.
 
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Mushroom

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Would you mind elaborating, horsesboy? Sounds like they did indeed change some things since I took my voyage of the damned ride.
 

horsesboy

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They added a few more dummies. Still just one at the entrance but as you round the bended there is a working lumberer mill set up with a long and large SPINNING saw. There is sawing sound effects playing in the area of the saw. And I think about three dummies set up around the log and saw so that they appear to be working. They also have a fake flicking fire setup as like a camp fire for the workers. that should give you a pretty good idea of the setup. As I said before a nice improvement over the previous setup but nothing shockingly different. It has nice feel to but not really nice enough to justify someone who does not really enjoy water rides and getting wet to go on it. Also last week they had ALL of the geysers and water effects going so you WILL GET SOAKED!!
 

Lord Robert

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Is there video somewhere showing the changes they made to the end of the ride? Or pictures would do.
 

horsesboy

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I doubt it KD has a pretty strict no camera policy on their rides.
 

Mushroom

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An interesting news report about White Water Canyon from a 1983 article in the Washington Post:

The Washington Post said:
The new attraction at KINGS DOMINION is White Water Canyon, a float ride along a foaming cataract with bumps and whirls and surprise geysers.

YOU WILL GET WET ON THIS RIDE, the signs promise. And they deliver, by the quart, by the gallon and occasionally by the head-to-toe torrent. Indeed, the chill is the main thrill of the 1,800-foot man- made river, which is less fearsome than it looks.

"We could have made it hairier, but we were looking for something that would be fun for grandchildren and grandparents alike," said park manager T. Lewis Hooper. They found it: The mother of my children, who will not even look at a roller coaster, happily rode White Water Canyon several times; yet it was exciting enough to keep the kids riding it a dozen times before we could tear them away.

The ride lasts four to five minutes, depending on how many times your free-floating boat bumps the walls and pauses in the backflow of the three-foot rapids. The downriver side of the six-seat craft, which is essentially a giant innertube, is the one that gets wettest, and one of the virtues of the bumping and spinning is that the rider who laughed at you last time is likely the one to get deluged next time. If anyone gets through the rapids dry, there are 30-foot geysers strategically stationed to correct that.

There are plastic capes available for the chicken-hearted, but they cost a dollar(!) and anyway you'd need at least two of them, so what the hell. You can always dry out on the park's three roller coasters.

White Water Canyon is said to have cost $3 million -- another sign that Kings Dominion isn't willing to concede first place to Busch Gardens. Much of the money went into landscaping with giant boulders, which has transformed the 10-acre site into a very fair approximation of a rockbound river.

The ride is said to be capable of handling 2,880 people per hour, which one hopes may reduce the waiting time at some of the other attractions. But people who can't stand waiting in lines shouldn't go to amusement parks anyway.

The park now offers 39 major rides, 10 of them child- sized, plus a safari section with a hundred species. In an effort to be all things to all people, the management this year is also offering seven new shows, led by a half-hour musical about -- what else? -- amusement parks. There will also be a number of rock, pop and country concerts, with dates and entertainers to be announced.

And hey, beer lovers, it's all Coors on tap at Kings Dominion now. Take that, Augie Busch.
 

horsesboy

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Still waiting for some parts to come in. I'd go into detail if I could but can only confirm that the closure isn't permanent. For context, Canyon hasn't opened since an e-stop that took place opening weekend.
Where have I head this waiting for parts line before?
 
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