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June 2, 2004

Two Roller Coasters Closed For Restraint Modifications

Los Angeles, CA -- California State regulators asked Knott's Berry Farm to close the Xcelerator roller coaster and Six Flags Magic Mountain to close Superman The Escape until modifications to the rides' restraint systems can be made.

The decision to close the roller coasters comes after two accidents this year on rides with similar T-bar style lap bar restraint systems.

In May a man fell to his death from the Superman: Ride of Steel coaster at Six Flags New England. Earlier this year a girl was ejected and died on a "Hydro" water flume ride at Oakwood Pleasure Park in Wales, England.

The accident at Oakwood is similar to one on the same ride at Knott's Berry Farm. A 40-year-old woman was ejected from the Perilous Plunge flume ride and fell to her death in September 2001. Perilous Plunge remains in operation since the restraints have already been modified.

According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health both parks agreed to modify the restraints and voluntarily closed the rides.

Unfortunately, the timing is bad for the parks as they start the busy, summer season.