May 7, 2004
Agawam, MA -- Six Flags New England announced today that changes will be made to the restraint system on the Superman roller coaster to enhance the safety of the ride.
"A thorough investigation of this ride has been collectively conducted by park staff, Six Flags safety engineers and safety experts, independent safety engineers, the ride manufacturer as well as the Department of Public Safety and the Agawam Police Department," Ron Sevart, general manager and vice president, Six Flags New England explained.
"We have decided to modify the restraint system on this coaster to address concerns identified by the Department of Public Safety," said Sevart. The two similar coasters in Six Flags parks in Largo, Maryland and Buffalo, New York will also receive these enhancements.
"We believe that the current restraint configuration was the primary factor in Saturday's tragic accident," Sevart said. "We are making several modifications to address those concerns including:
The length of the ride-manufacturer-supplied seatbelts in the first row of each coach will be shortened to conform with all other seatbelts in the coaster. By shortening these seatbelts, those guests who may be too large to be safely accommodated by the restraint system will not be able to ride.
We are also continuing to examine other modifications to the primary restraint system to further increase guest safety. We are currently conducting the engineering to modify the lapbar to fit more securely and restrict those individuals who may be too large to be safely accommodated by the existing restraint system. We also are looking into extending the seat bottoms forward to improve rider position and further enhance the effectiveness of the restraints. By extending the seat bottom, we will help ensure riders maintain the proper position for the duration of the ride cycle."
In addition to the modifications to the restraint system described above, Six Flags is also in the process of reviewing all operating procedures for this ride.
"The thoughts and prayers of everyone here at Six Flags New England continue to be with the Modarsky family," Sevart said.
"Six Flags theme parks entertain more than 37 million guests annually," Sevart said. "We want to assure our guests that nothing is more important to us than their safety. We are committed to making all necessary modifications to our Superman coaster to continue our pledge to delivering a safe and fun experience for all of our guests.