The Japanese theme park Fuji-Q Highland has temporarily closed the “Do-Dodonpa”, the roller coaster offering the strongest acceleration in the world. Officials did not release a reopening date. They made this decision after recording several bone fractures in clients. Since December 2020, the merry-go-round has caused at least six such injuries, reports Vice.
At least four of them concern neck or back bones, a spokesperson for the amusement park said. The latter informed the authorities of these multiple injuries on August 17. An investigation was then launched. The roller coaster was inspected and found no technical issues.
From 0 to 180 km / h in 1.56 seconds
Sansei Technologies, the maker of Do-Dodonpa, has apologized to those affected. The company admitted, however, that it did not understand what caused the injuries. The attraction, which entered service in 2001, has taken its users from 0 to 180 km / h in 1.56 seconds since 2017. Previously, the top speed reached by the wagons was 172 km / h.
The acceleration felt is three times that of gravity on the Earth’s surface. It is comparable to what astronauts feel when a rocket takes off.
The position of the passengers involved?
After more than 20 years of operation, the “Do-Dodonpa” had so far not caused any fractures to park visitors, or even injuries. In the absence of visible dysfunction of the roller coasters, the explanation would be to be found in the power of the acceleration undergone or in the position of the users, estimated Naoya Miyasato, architect specializing in attractions of this type.
In particular, he explained that it was the responsibility of the employees of Fuji-Q Highland to ensure that customers were seated in a manner that limited the space between their back and the back of their seat.