Teen Dies After Wind ‘Flings’ Guests 180 Feet from Theme Park Ride

A teenage boy died and a woman was injured after falling off an amusement park ride in France, authorities said Sunday. 

The death of the 17-year-old occurred in the resort town of Cap d’Agde on France’s southern coast after strong winds rocked the ride at Luna Park, The Sun reported. The victim fell around 180 feet. 

“Two people were victims of an accident while using the Adrenaline attraction. An adolescent aged 17 died of his injuries and a young woman of 19 was taken to hospital at Montpellier as an absolute emergency (case),” local prosecutor Raphael Balland stated.

The amusement park ride reaches speeds of up to 70 mph, according to reports. The 17-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene and the 19-year-old woman was in critical condition in a hospital. 

The accident prompted the park’s closure on Sunday. 

Cap d’Adge mayor Gilles d’Ettore told AFP that Saturday night had been very windy, which is “very rare for Agde.” He said there was no local by-law for halting the ride in the event of wind at the popular seaside resort on France’s Mediterranean coast.

Theme park accidents are incredibly rare. Every day, millions of Guests safely attend theme parks and amusement parks across the world.

Whether it’s a roller coaster or a carousel, the likes of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Six Flags, and beyond follow stringent protocols to ensure the safety of their Guests.

However, sometimes a twist of fate can mean that rare incidents do occur. This year, we’ve seen a Guest killed on a roller coaster that derailed at Sweden’s Grona Lund theme park, as well as the infamous shutdown of Fury 325 at Carowinds after a video exposed a serious crack in its support beam (with a second discovered weeks later).

Last year, a serious incident at Orlando’s ICON Park also saw 14-year-old Tyre Sampson lose his life after falling from the Orlando Free Fall attraction. The ride has since been dismantled and removed from ICON Park.

Now, another incident has occurred – this time on an attraction called Adrenaline at Luna Park in Cap d’Agde in the south of France.

Luna Park at nighttime
Credit: Luna Park

A 17-year-old boy reportedly died after high winds swung an attraction beyond its limits, causing both himself and a female Guest to plummet to the ground, hitting obstacles along the way.

According to the Mirror, local prosecutor Raphael Balland said, “Two people were victims of an accident while using the Adrenaline attraction. An adolescent aged 17 died of his injuries, and a young woman of 19 was taken to hospital at Montpellier as an absolute emergency.”

Adrenaline sees two Guests strapped together in a harness, raised 180 feet into the air, and released to swing through the air at high speeds. Witnesses reportedly told local media outlets that the cable deviated from its usual path, which caused them to hit a metal pylon used to hold up the amusement park ride before then being ejected from their harnesses.

The incident occurred on Saturday (August 5, 2023). France has witnessed a series of severe storms over the past week, which inclement weather shutting down numerous rides at Disneyland Paris.

Prosecutors are currently seeking to determine whether Luna Park should have been operating rides during high winds, as well as investigating the possibility of mechanical failure.

Investigations into the death at the theme park are currently ongoing. Four people – including the manager of Luna Park – have been taken in for questioning by local police. Luna Park was closed on Sunday, with the areas around the ride cordoned off by police.

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