In Japan, a roller coaster capable of reaching speeds of up to 112 miles per hour has been shut down indefinitely pending the results of an inquiry into whether riders’ injuries were caused by the ride.
The roller coaster will be closed “due to a safety upgrade,” according to a press release issued by the park on August 20.
Four riders were injured on the ride between December 2020 and August 2021, according to the statement, which adds that “currently, the causal link between injuries and amusement machines has not yet been proven.”
The four cases, according to the regional administration in Yamanshi prefecture, where Fuji-Q is located, occurred among men and women in their 30s and 50s. All of them had serious injuries, including a cervical fracture and a thoracic spine fracture, the latter of which can take up to three months to heal.
A spokesman at the park informed a CNN reporter that “accidents were reported by riders,” but declined to comment more on the reports of bone-breaking injuries.
Theme parks have remained operating in Japan since June 2020, despite the current coronavirus outbreak. To limit the danger of virus transmission, a guideline at the time advised roller coaster passengers to “scream in their hearts” rather than out loud.
Fuji-Q Highland was one of the parks that took major steps to control tourist numbers. The park, which lies at the foot of Mount Fuji, has just recently restored its outside attractions, which include roller coasters.
Sansei Technologies, the Osaka-based manufacturer that manufactured the roller coaster, released a statement in the same vein.
“The causative link between passenger injuries and the amusement machine made by our group business is not verified,” the statement said. “We must await the results of the inquiry by Yamanashi Prefecture and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.”
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the affected parties and apologize for the difficulty we have caused.”
Dodonpa was a prominent Japanese music genre in the 1960s and 1970s, but it’s unclear whether that’s how the roller coaster acquired its name.
The coaster has a total length of 1,244 meters (4,080 feet), with the peak of the loop measuring 49 meters (161 feet) above the ground, according to Fuji-Q. The Dodon-pa roller coaster will not reopen until further notice.