A worker suffered an accidental hand amputation while inspecting a ride at Carowinds amusement park, a sprawling Charlotte, North Carolina theme park that straddles the North Carolina and South Carolina state lines.
Authorities investigating the accidental hand amputation say it occurred March 6 while the worker was inspecting the 300-foot-tall Windseeker ride in the York County, South Carolina side of the park. The man was at the top of the tower when his hand reportedly became caught up in the ride’s pulley system.
The Flint Hill, South Carolina Fire Department received a call reporting the emergency around 9 a.m. and rescuers prepared for a “high angle” rescue. When they arrived at the scene, however, they found that other workers in the park had safely lowered the injured worker to the ground after the accident.
Flint Hill Fire Capt. Jeff Nash told WSOC TV Channel 9 that having an amusement park in their back yard adds a “tremendous amount of complex situations” that rescuers must be prepared for. The highest ladder that the fire department owns, for instance, extends 100 feet.
The South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent officials to the amusement park to investigate the accidental amputation. The investigators will be looking for any work-related safety violations that may have contributed to the amputation accident. Officials told Channel 9 it would take eight weeks or more to complete the investigation.
The worker’s accidental amputation is one of the first amusement park-related injuries on the East Coast as theme parks gear up for spring and summer openings. The worker injured at Carowinds was a third-party contractor hired to inspect rides for safety ahead of opening day on March 23.