Firehawk roller coaster reopen after man's death

Posted by Trina Edwards - email

MASON, OH (FOX19) - A popular roller coaster at Kings Island is open again after a man's death over the weekend.

Park spokesman Don Helbig says officials closed Firehawk Saturday afternoon after a visitor died at the hospital shortly after riding it.

The victim has been identified as Homer Shields III, 38, of Toledo.

Riders and park workers noticed the man was having difficulty breathing when the roller coaster pulled into the station. Shields was taken to Bethesda North Hospital, where he later died.

The Hamilton County coroner's office has not released the cause of death. An inspection by the state of Ohio found the ride was operating normally when the man was riding it.

"We have no reason to believe the guest's ride on Firehawk caused his unfortunate passing," Helbig said in a statement.

The ride reopened Sunday afternoon.

Firehawk opened at Kings Island in 2007. It reaches speeds of 51 miles per hour and a height of 115 feet. Passengers lay down to begin the ride, and then the ride turns over, giving passengers the feeling of flying.

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