Busch Gardens closes Congo River Rapids after 4 killed on similar ride in Australia

Congo River

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Busch Gardens closed the Congo River Rapids ride Tuesday after four people were killed on a similar ride in Australia.

Two men and two women were killed after the river rapids ride malfunctioned at a popular theme park on Australia’s east coast, officials said.

Tampa Busch Gardens officials confirmed to News Channel 8 they closed the Congo River ride after the Australia deaths.

“Out of an abundance of caution we have made the decision to close our Congo River Rapids ride while we work with other park operators and ride manufacturers to understand what happened in Australia,” a Busch Gardens spokeswoman said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved in the tragic incident at the Dreamworld park. The safety of guests and team members continues to be Busch Gardens’ number one priority. All ride attractions are inspected daily by trained technicians to ensure they are operating properly and meet all safety guidelines set forth by state agencies and well as the ride manufacturers,” the spokeswoman added.

Fans of Busch Gardens talked with News Channel 8 about the news. “They should take extra precautions to recheck their ride so it won’t happen again,” Marilyn Wilson said.

Alex Cross was visiting from the United Kingdom. “They’re just playing it safe, ya know. It’s been open for 10-15 year plus without any issues that we’re aware of so, it just seems a bit (too) precautious,” Cross said.

In Australia, the Thunder River Rapids ride whisked people in circular rafts along a fast-moving, man-made river. A malfunction caused two people to be ejected from their raft, while two others were caught inside the ride, said Gavin Fuller, an officer with the Queensland Ambulance Service. He did not know whether the two victims who were caught in the ride were trapped under water, or caught up in the machinery.

Park staffers administered first aid to the victims, but their injuries proved fatal, Fuller told reporters.

The victims were in their 30s and early 40s, he said.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s