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Another Disney Ride Snag

Times Staff Writer

For the second time in five months, state investigators have ordered Disneyland to further train workers because they failed to properly operate Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Tuesday’s action followed Saturday’s minor crash of two unoccupied trains.

The roller coaster had reopened last month, after a September derailment that killed a 22-year-old Gardena man and injured 10 other riders.

After that crash -- caused when two bolts on a guide-wheel assembly fell off -- the state Department of Occupational Safety and Health ordered the park to retrain ride employees.

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Saturday’s accident occurred when one train ran into the back of another as employees were performing a routine “reset” operation, said Disneyland spokesman Bob Tucker. The ride reopened Sunday morning.

“We’ve reviewed our operating procedures,” Tucker said. “Some were not followed and we retrained accordingly. The attraction is now running with one less train and we hope to add the fourth very soon.”

The reset procedure is performed only when no riders are on board, Tucker said.

The park was not required to report the crash to the state because no one was injured. But an undisclosed source complained to DOSH Sunday, sparking its investigation, DOSH spokesman Dean Fryer said.

In their report, state investigators determined that one employee gave a clear sign to start a train without verifying the position of the other train. And a second employee did not fully perform her duties by overseeing the procedures, the report said.

Wylie Aitken, attorney for the family of the rider killed in September, said, “It raises questions about how well they were retrained.”


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