Inspector says ‘seat belt issue’ believed to be cause of Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster incident

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster injury

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A rider was thrown from a rollercoaster in Gatlinburg on March 29, prompting a state investigation.

According to officials, the rider was ejected approximately 10 feet from a cart at the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster as the cart entered a curve. The rider landed on the track.

A third-party inspector who performed an investigation following the incident said he believed the incident was caused by a lap seat belt issue that could not be replicated.

The coaster was shut down while officials reviewed the accident. It resumed operation after it was deemed safe by an inspector, according to state officials. The cart involved in the incident has since been taken out of service.

According to officials, the rider suffered serious physical injuries to the wrist, head and ankle. Officials said it is unknown if the victim was wearing a seat belt at the time of the incident.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said state statutes require an annual inspection of amusement devices for operating permit renewals. The inspections are conducted by a third-party inspector. The last inspection of the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster was recorded on July 23, 2020.

Since the coaster location opened, records show three reported incidents. The incidents happened on July 3, 2016, September 5, 2017, and the incident on March 29, 2021.

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