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Like every amusement park, Hersheypark has had it's own bad days. The following is a list of all the incidents, accidents, and bad days I was able to find.

- 2003 -

Six people were injured while riding the Tidal Force on Saturday, June 29th. Because of low water levels the ride didn't slow down as much as usual causing it to hit a protective guardrail, and jostle the 19 people on board. The 6 were taken to Hershey Medical Center, treated, then returned to the park. The ride remained closed through the week of the 4th of July. There was no discussion or statement from the park, sparking this article on Hersheypark provoking the Rumour Mill.


- 2002 -

the Roller Soaker malfunctioned and a ride car stopped two thirds into the track. After about 15 minutes, they decided to let the car roll into the station manually. It travelled at a low speed until the brake stop hit the car at the station at full force rocking the car having one passenger (a 39-year old woman) hit her head and go unconscious, and two other passengers a 6-year old & a 7-year old boy both suffered neck trauma.


Numerous complaints of headaches after riding the Sidewinder, particularly this year. Has something changed?


The following account is told by a guest who was riding the Wild Mouse ride.

"The Mouse's bash bar hurt me so bad that I feared an internal injury. First Aid was called and they took me to the infirmary for examination. When they reported my blood pressure, it was the highest reading I'd ever seen. Of course my first thought was that I'd been eating too much grease but my pulse was also very high at least twenty minutes after the incident during which I'd mostly just stood or sat around. One of the examiners noticed that there was some redness where I had indicated the injury was to which I said "I'm glad. Now you know I ain't jivin'". They "suggested" that I lie down for a while. After ten minutes or so, they remeasured my blood pressure and pulse, each of which had returned to normal. Hell, they didn't need a red mark to know I wasn't jivin'. My internal systems proved it! There was no bruise or lasting injury but it sure hurt when it happened."


Supposedly the Harrisburg Patriot-News ran this article.

"A Hersheypark stadium concert turned disorderly Friday night when nearly 500 people stormed through a cut security fence at the Phil Lesh concert, Derry Twp. police reported.

As police tried to stop the crowd, a woman was charged with inciting a riot when she screamed "Attica, Attica," a reference to the 1997 New York state prison riot that left 39 inmates and hostages dead after state police and the National Guard stormed the institution four days later.

"She was trying to work the crowd into a frenzy," said township Sgt. Dan Kelly. The woman was identified as Robin Mary Zukowski, 23, of Eureka, Calif. She was released yesterday after posting $25,000 bail.

During the arrests, one man jumped onto the back of an officer. At least three people were charged with interfering with police as they tried to quell the turmoil.

The near riot conditions did not stop the show. The band played for nearly four hours, until 11:00 p.m., Kelly said.

During the concert, police conducted an enforcement detail with officers from state police, the county sheriff's department, the county drug task force, and the attorney general's office.

The detail turned up 80 arrests from counts ranging from drug possession to underage drinking. Most of the poeple arrested were issued summons.

Nineteen people were arraigned on drug charges and six people were arraigned on disorderly conduct and riot charges.

During the detail, police noticed the crowd moving up to the security fence, Kelly said. Up to that time, plice did not know somebody had cut the fence, he said.

"We didn't know until the crowd tried to rush through," he said.

No one was hurt."


- 2001 -

A large storm hits Hershey Park on July 1st. A park employee recalls...

"I was working at Hersheypark yesterday when we closed the Sooperdooperlooper due to some storms in the area. The sky was cloudy, but it didn't look like any storms were imminent. I explained to people that there were storms in the area, and that the rides would reopen once the storms were out of the area. If only I knew what was going to happen.

Eventually, and slowly, the wind did start to pick up. The sky was darkening in the northwest, but it appeared to moving to the east and slightly to the south. At this point, the following rides were closed (these were the ones that I could see): Giant Wheel, Comet, Skyview, Paddleboats (taken out of the creek), Sooperdooperlooper, Coal Cracker, Great Bear, and the Kissing Tower. They made an announcement at Whack A Mole that the current game would be the last game, as a storm was coming. After that, they pulled down the steel shutters and got out of there. That is the first time I have seen a game close due to oncoming weather, although the Whack A Mole in Comet Hollow is pretty exposed (open on all four sides).

I was at the front of the Looper, and I went up into the station when I was relieved at the ride entrance. The girl who replaced me was afraid to be down there by herself, and she was concerned about lightning. It was not raining when I got up into the station, but it started shortly thereafter. I was going to be at the Skyview ride during the nighttime, and I had to go from the Looper to the Skyview during heavy rains. I had my raincoat on and my backpack tucked underneath, but I still got wet from the waist down (it was impossible to keep anything dry). I got to Skyview via way of the Paddleboat Cafe (where a lot of people took shelter), and three other employees were huddled there. They were trying to keep out of the rain, but it wasn't very successful. At one point, the wind and rain were so bad that I could barely see a car just outside the station. Right after this moment, I heard what sounded like a tree groaning and creaking. This didn't sound good, and I was glad to hear someone from Comet calling us to come over there. It was still pouring rain, and the top of the stairs next to Skyview was a lake. Water was cascading down the stairs, and it was like a waterfall. The ramp coming down towards the Comet entrance was like a river, and water was pouring off of the top of the building. I have never seen a storm that bad while I have been working at Hersheypark. I have seen pretty bad storms during my lifetime, but never ones that I have actually been out in.

After the rain subsided, some of the damage was pretty obvious. The top of the Wave Swinger ride (the canvas) was partially pulled off of the supports for the canvas. Tree leaves and branches were everywhere, and trashcans were knocked down. That appeared to be all. Then we heard chainsaws.

What appeared to be a large branch had fallen down right near Skyview, and it was between the Bizzy Bees ride and the Fender Bender ride. We couldn't see it very well from Comet. We walked out the exit, and a large part of a tree had broken off of a tree right above the Comet exit (right above the fried chicken restaurant and some tables). We were told to wait at the Comet until we got a phone call telling us that we could reopen Skyview. I ended up going on my dinner break before that happened.

I walked up towards the Bizzy Bees ride, and it wasn't a branch. It was a tree that appeared to be struck by lightning, and it was split in two (half remained standing). The half that fell crushed a bench, and it almost stretched to the Ben and Jerry's ice cream stand. Luckily, the building was not hit by the tree, as people were in the building at the time. Various supervisors and maintenance men had taped off the area, and they were cutting up the tree with chain saws.

I walked from there towards Convoy and Flying Falcon, and a tree fell between the Aquatheater and the Dinosaur ride (I forget the name at the moment). Another large tree fell between the Convoy ride and Flying Falcon, and this access path was totally blocked off. Even though I was on break, I helped them clean up the Flying Falcon ride area, as there was tree debris everywhere. It was a mess.

I then walked from there down to the Trailblazer roller coaster (via a long route as a tree blocked the short route), and a tree had fallen on the Trailblazer queue line and exit. It appeared that access to this ride was totally blocked off. The actual building did not appear damaged.

I then walked back to the Comet, and we were sent over to Skyview to clean up. After about 15 minutes, they came to us and said that we were being sent home. The park was closing at 7 p.m. I volunteered to stay and help with the cleanup, but they said that they had enough help. I walked around a little bit before I left, and another tree fell onto the Cyclops ride and exit area. Another beautiful pine tree between the employee entrance and the Playdome Arcade was uprooted and leaning at an angle over the walkway.

Right behind the Starship America ride, a tree was uprooted and fell completely down. It ripped the siding off the Starship building (in the back of the ride), and probably the fire extinguishers as well. The fence was crushed, and this tree almost stretched all the way to the Lost Children's Caboose. It was pretty bad, and the whole situation was pretty scary.

Luckily, there wasn't more damage, and there were no injuries that I was aware of (amazingly, given the severity of the storm and all of the trees that came down). The decision to close the park was a smart idea, as it would take a while to check all of the rides to make sure that they were okay. Also, debris would have to be cleaned off of the roller coaster tracks, train tracks, monorail track, etc. It is a shame that the park lost so many trees, as a lot of them were large trees in the old area of the park. Some of them probably dated from the parks beginning, and it will be decades before their replacement trees will be of equal height. A lot of the trees that were lost were healthy and beautiful, and the park will be a different place for a while. I work again on Thursday, and I will let you know how the place looks on Thursday (at the same locations I mentioned here in this posting). I did not get to Midway America, Carousel Circle, the area near the Kissing Tower, or the entrance area to the park (Tudor Square and Rhineland).

I did hear that the Wildcat was struck by lightning, but I cannot confirm this. It looked to be okay when I left the park (I parked in the employee lot next to the Wildcat). Part of a trailer landed on a pickup truck in the tram parking lot, and I have no idea where the other part of the trailer went. The damage looked it could have been pretty bad. At least I think it was a trailer. It was hard to tell.

Someone said that a tornado was in the area, but the cashier at Turkey Hill said that it was not a tornado (he had been through real tornadoes in Nebraska, and he said that what happened at Hersheypark yesterday was definitely not a tornado). At one point, he said that he couldn't see his own gas pumps. It was that bad, and trees were down all over the Hershey and Palmyra area. Wind and rain hit Middletown and Hummelstown as well (both only a few miles from Hershey), but it wasn't nearly as bad in those towns. No trees went down, and everyone I talked to was surprised to hear how bad it was in Hershey."

As if reading that hasn't bored you already! Another park employee recalls...

"I, too, was working at Hersheypark that day and it both exillerating and a bit terrifying at the same time.

Second shift had me working at Canyon River Rapids. When I arrived we were already in the middle of a storm close and were in the process of shutting down the ride. After waiting around for over an hour with light gray clouds above, in came some really black clouds at a rapid pace. Considering that one of my newer hobbies is tornados and storm chasing (friends of mine head up the weather channel and I'm going along with them storm chasing next year), I looked up at the heavens and did see some rotation. Way back when I was a teen, I saw my first (and only) tornado out in South Dakota (many miles from where I was at the time) and have had some close calls in seeing another one. This time, I thought that I might be caught IN one!

At any rate, about two dozen rides employees huddled in the safety of a maintenance building bracing for the oncoming storm. In the meantime, the Green Team (juggling troup) was merrily practicing their act outside in the rain! (Very comical!) Soon, the rain was pouring down....sideways....along with golfball size hail and winds that I determined were well over 50 MPH.

After the storm subsided, we took a glimpse at the damage. Several rides were struck by lightning and trees of every size were all over the place. The most severe damage was diagonal through the park. Imagine drawing a line from the Cyclops (aka, Enterprise) to the Kissing tower. Most of the damaged trees were found along through route and a good 500+ feet to either side. This was either a very severe windstorm or, in fact, an F-0 tornado which is at the lower end of the scale for measuring those type of winds. I have been caught in several F-0 tornados and some have left less damage than this. Yes, the local weather authorities did confirm a very small tornado in the Hershey area traveling northwest to southeast. This would confirm my theory of the line of destruction. The "line" between the Cyclops to the Kissing Tower is, in fact, northwest to southeast. Unfortunately, most F-0 tornados cannot be seen due to the fact that they don't have strong enough winds to suck up enough debrit in order for it to be seen. We could have been in this thing and never knew it.

Fortunately, Hersheypark being the true professionals they are, got their maintenance crew out buzz sawing trees within minutes after the storm ended. Many of us rides employees also helped clean up the mess. From what I under- stand, the next day, very little damage could be seen by the guests. Don't know if the Wild Cat or Sidewinder were up and running, however."


- 1999 -

Three youngsters were hurt when the miniature train they were ridding in tipped over at Hersheypark. The three children, two of whom were 4-years old, were treated at the Hershey Medical Center. All three had minor injuries and were treated for cuts and bruises before being released. The remaining passengers were either not injured or treated at the scene. According to park spokesman Garrett Gallia, the train was rounding a curve when the last car tipped over, causing three other cars to overturn. The train ride will remain closed until the park conducts an inspection.


- 1998 -

A 7-year old boy suffered headaches and a ultimately a stroke after riding the Comet rollercoaster. His injury was a tear or bleed of the vertebral artery in the neck. The boy recovered after physical therapy, the only lasting effect being a loss of some peripheral vision.


Isaac Hanson of the popular singing group "Hanson" is struck in the face by several Hershey's Kisses thrown by audience members attending their August 15th concert at Hersheypark Stadium. "I got hit in the face with several of them," He said in a sponsored "Chat with Hanson". "I didn't ever think of Hershey's kisses as a somewhat lethal weapon. Now I know how dangerous they can be."


A resident of the town of Hershey recalls a 1998 newspaper article about the Great Bear's test riding stages, during which the test dummies lost their legs during the ride.

- 1994 -

When TIDAL FORCE opened in '94 there were no plastic window sheilds along the exit bridge, and there was no wave catching net. Once riders plunged into the water the wave would engulf you and creating an effect in which your entire feild of vision is a big white cloud of water all around you. As well this wave barely got riders wet, unless maybe you were in the front seat. This also caused problems for some guests waiting on the exit bridge to be splashed, and ending up injured. To solve this problem Hersheypark put up warning signs and had an attendant tell guests when they could pass without getting splashed. The addition of the net and window sheilds immediately destroyed the white cloud effects, and promisingly completely drenches you, regardless of your seat location. I have also heard of complaints that small children oftenly end up being forced onto the floor during the plunge, creating a safety hazard.


- 1988 -

A New Jersey man who fell from the SooperDooperLooper on May 1, 1988, didn't get the pot of gold for which he was suing.

Testimony of fellow riders revealed that the 26-year-old man was standing up and waving his arms before being thrown from the coaster. He landed on a cement support pier in the creek near the ride's end, breaking several bones and puncturing a lung.

The man's attorneys said that even if he did stand up, the park should have anticipated such actions and should have integrated safety features into the ride to prevent him from doing so.

Attorneys for Hersheypark countered that twelve million people -- what amounts to the entire population of Pennsylvania -- have ridden SooperDooperLooper without falling out and that numerous other parks across the nation have similar rides and have reported no such incidents.

Experts for the defense said the man must have released the lap bar before he was thrown out since state investigations after the accident found no problems with the ride's safety features.


Buddy the male dolphin dies on May 5th, 1988 after 15.11 years of performing at the Hersheypark Aquatheater.


- 1987 -

On only it's 14th day after it's opening, a raft on the Canyon River Rapids flips over, injuring it's 6 passengers.

Quoting the book Hersheypark : The Sweetness of Success "...'two rafts jammed the trough' explained Jack Silar. 'a third raft piled into them, and one raft turned over," he said. The raft's six passengers bailed out before it capsized. They were treated for minor cuts and bruises, transported to Hershey Medical Center where they were checked and released."

"The park immediately did a thorough investigation. The accident occured in a curve at the entrance to an area known as Lake II, about three-quarters of the way through the ride. The investigation concluded that the accident was caused by a section of the ride's waterway that was too wide. The wide section allowed two rafts to become wedged together and plug the watercourse. The park rebuilt the waterway in that section to make it the same width as the rest of the ride. An additional operator post was added to this area and another station moved to improve routine surveillance. A new public address system was added to allow communication with guests throughout the ride."

- 1984 -

A 12-year old boy is ejected from the now-retired Timber Rattler. Years later he recounts "It picked up more speed and gave an even stronger jerk that shot me straight in the air. I can remember hovering in the air, but the only thing I remember after that was waking up on the ground, not knowing if I was hurt or even alive. I tried pushing myself up from the bricklayed groundwork, but I couldn't use my right arm. I looked over and noticed that my wrist was crooked and both bones were protruding from my wrist. The pain rushed into my body and I knew then that I had survived an almost 20 foot fall from a small roller coaster onto to a brick pavement. I had also broken the upper bone in my arm, had internal bleeding and a concussion." Strangely he recalls the ride as a "small rollercoaster" while the Timber Rattler was not a roller coaster.

Quoting the book Hersheypark : The Sweetness of Success "After the Timber Rattler ride had been open for several weeks, three minor accidents occured, so the park added some more restraints especially for shorter riders. The ride tended to jar it's riders and was not for the faint of heart."


- 1978 -

Bubbles the female dolphin dies on July 12, 1978 after 3.2 years of performing at the Hersheypark Aquatheater.


- 1977 -

In front of almost every newspaper, television, and radio reporter within 100 miles of the park the SooperDooperLooper stalled at the top of the first hill during it's first ride ever carrying human passengers. It's twenty four riders consisted of company executives and special guests. After what "seemed like an eternity" the assistant maintenance manager had to climb the coaster's structure to tell the passengers they could not get the train started again and they would have to climb down.

That information comes from the book Hersheypark : The Sweetness of Success. The following is from another source.

Within the first few years of it's opening, A 17-year old boy's life was taken by the SooperDoooperLooper. A witness recalls...
(Note: the witness recollection of the event occuring during the year 1973 is incorrect, for the ride was not even open until 1977)

"When I was about 12 or 13, our M.Y.F. group (Methodist Youth Fellowship) went to Hershey Park, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This was in about 1973, and the park had either recently inaugurated or was on the verge of inaugurating a roller-coaster that did a loop-de-loop - a big deal at the time. I was with a friend of mine, up on a hill or platform of some sort, overlooking the roller-coaster rails. We were saying how cool it was, etc., and observing the workmen in mechanic's overalls who were walking back and forth along a sort of catwalk in-between the pairs of elevated rails. These rails were not conventional railroad rails; rather, they seemed to be tubular. As I recall, compressed air flowed from these tubes, and that was what this new train would glide on. This sleigh-like design made it very difficult to lift off the tracks. These men were working at a point where the tracks leveled out at the bottom of a long incline. In the center of our panoramic view, one worker was standing on the catwalk, doubled over one rail, looking at wiring or something underneath it. To the left were several other workmen walking to and fro along the catwalk, chattering, and moving things about. To the far right was a stopped train. The train, with several cars, was locked into position with what must have been wedges or something to that effect. Suddenly one of the men in the group to the left shouted to the guy in the middle, 'Watch out!' Naturally, the workman bent over the rail looked in his colleague's direction for a second before looking anywhere else, so he didn't see the train. It had come loose and began to slide quickly and silently down the tracks, trapping him underneath, and largely slicing him in two across his back. Since, as I described before, the train couldn't be lifted, he remained there, flopping jerkily (I hope, unconscious) for several minutes, until the life had drained out of him, while his helpless companions raced around, trying to figure out what to do. Just as park employees came in to wave us out of the area, the fire department arrived, and we watched as they began to jack the train up and back it away in order to get him out from under it. It was an amazing scene: hundreds of people strolling around with candy and burgers, trying to choose which ride they'd go on next, completely unaware of this man's suffering and death; the crazy amusement park music and noise in the background; blood streaming down the gaily painted girders holding up the tracks, and we two teenage girls on our Methodist outing standing there and watching it all like a movie."

The following is a follow-up response to the previous account.

"The man, or should I say boy, that was killed was a high school student working as a Co-Op student. His name Bill Hartel. He was 17, if I recall correctly, and an electrical construction student at the Lebanon County Vo-Tech school. I was in that class with him although he was a few years older than I. Years later I worked at Hershey Park as an Electrician and worked with many of the men who were there that sad day. The passing years and your young age at the time have changed a few of the lesser details. Let me tell you the story with more details: The coaster is called the Super Dooper Looper. It is still running at Hershey Park. It does not ride on air. There are several sets of wheels on each car and each set has wheels on the top, bottom and outside edge. This setup keeps the cars in place while the train is upside down in the loop. It also prevents lifting of the cars as you said. For reasons of cost, work platforms were placed at key locations rather then a full catwalk around the entire ride. (This has since been corrected.) As you said Bill was standing on one of these platforms near the entrance of the loading / unloading station. One train was in the station in the forward position, the other train was stopped on the waiting brake about 200ft away. The brakes squeeze two vertical steel plates that are mounted under the train. These plates take on a knife like look as they wear. The waiting brake holds the train higher than the station and is used to hold a train until the station is cleared. Once the station is cleared the brake releases and gravity allows the train to roll into the station. Bill was on the platform between the two trains. The computer that controls the ride keep track of train position with proximity switches. These are non contact switches that sense a metal object is within about inch of the switch. Bill had set a metal tool on one of these switches. It happened to be the switch that tells the computer that the back of the train has passed and it is safe to release the waiting brake and allow the next train to enter the station. When Bill picked up the tool the computer read that as the OK. The waiting brake released and the train quietly rolled down the grade building speed and momentum. Bill was struck in the back by those two knife-like steel plates. I was told that it cut through flesh, ribs and lungs on both sides of his back. Thankfully, the coroner said that he died instantly. School was not the same again. Hershey Park stopped using Co-Op students and lawyers lined up get a piece of everyone. I should also note that one of the other workers, in an act of desperation, had braced himself against a hand rail and tried to stop the train with his legs. He suffered a broken leg."


- 1972 -

Tropical Storm Agnes hit Hersheypark in June, flooding nearly two thirds of the park. The flood damaged many of the park's attractions and destroyed the Lost River ride to a beyond restorable condition. The Aquatheater dolphins had to be evacuated from their pool and taken on stretchers to the Cocoa Plaza local pool. Salt had to be added to the water to protect the animals' skin.

That information comes from the book Hersheypark : The Sweetness of Success.

- 1915 -

Quoting the book Hersheypark : The Sweetness of Success "Another setback occured on December 2, 1915, when the Hershey Print Shop, located near the entrance to the park, burned to the ground. [Milton Hershey] watched the building go up in flames and then had the entrance to the park expanded by planting more gardens and trees."

- 1913 -

R.V. Morris, the replacement for "Birdman McCalley" for an Air Show above Hersheypark celebrating it's tenth anniversary "lost control of his biplane on his first landing, nearly running over McCalley, who was trying to help stop it, and his plane crashed into the shipping boxes in which the plane had been transported to the park. McCalley was not injured, but the crowd was dissapointed,and McCalley felt lucky to get out of town alive."

That information comes from the book Hersheypark : The Sweetness of Success.

no, the picture below is not hersheypark