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July 13, 1999

Thunderbolt Reopens, Mechanical Failure Ruled Out

West Mifflin, PA -- Kennywood Park reopened the Thunderbolt roller coaster Sunday, after inspectors officially ruled out mechanical failure as a possible cause of last Thursday's accident which injured 30-passengers.

Park and state inspectors completed their inspection of the Thunderbolt's automatic and manual breaking systems, finding nothing wrong with the operation of either. The state and park also conducted a through review of the track and trains, again finding no clues.

With state inspectors and park officials ruling out mechanical failure, inspectors will now look into other scenarios, including operator error.

Park officials declined to comment on the possibility of operator error, but did not rule it out.

"We always emphasize safety," said Pete McAneny, general manager of Kennywood Park. "These kind of things are unfortunate and are not supposed to happen."

The Thunderbolt uses two sets of breaks to come to a stop prior to entering the station. Computers apply the automatic breaks and the manual breaks are operated by one of six ride operators.

According to McAneny, both sets of breaks must be applied to stop an incoming train.

The park and state plan to continue their investigation until they determine the cause of the train collision.

On Sunday, the Thunderbolt reopened to the public with one-train in operation. According to a source, the second train will remain out of service until the park finishes some necessary repairs.

Related Stories:
Coaster Train Collision Injures 30 at Kennywood July 11, 1999
Operator Error May Have Caused Thunderbolt Collision July 12, 1999