July 11, 1999
West Mifflin, PA -- Thirty passengers on the Thunderbolt roller coaster at Kennywood Park were injured last Thursday when one train collided with another inside the loading station.
The accident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. when the train returning to the station failed to stop, hitting the opposite train. The collision occurred while passengers were still in the process of boarding the train in the station.
Park officials confirmed that 30 individuals were taken to local hospitals to be treated for various injuries. Fortunately there were no deaths in this accident.
Among the most seriously injured was a 13-year-old youngster who was taken to Children's Hospital after complaining of stomach pains. According to a hospital official she is expected to make a fully recovery.
Immediately following the accident the Thunderbolt was closed indefinitely pending an investigation by the park and the state.
The Thunderbolt roller coaster uses both a manual and automatic breaking system to stop the two trains. Six-trained ride operators operate the attraction.
The Thunderbolt roller coaster is a classic wooden roller coaster designed by John Miller and Andy Vettel. The Thunderbolt was built in 1924 and originally was named the Pippin.
In 1968 Kennywood reconfigured the layout of the coaster by moving the station and renamed it the Thunderbolt.
Today the Thunderbolt remains a favorite among coaster enthusiasts and was recently featured on the Discovery Channel television special "Top 10 Coasters."
Operator Error May Have Caused Thunderbolt Collision July 12, 1999
Thunderbolt Reopens, Mechanical Failure Ruled Out July 13, 1999