Amputee Vet Killed in Coaster Accident

James Hackemer was thrown from ride
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2011 4:58 PM CDT
Double-Amputee Iraqi Vet James Hackemer Killed in Roller Coaster Accident at Darien Lake
April 8 file photo: Sgt. James Hackemer does physical therapy with the help of friend Matt Mescall in Gowanda, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Buffalo News, Derek Gee)

(Newser) – Rough story from the Darien Lake amusement park in upstate New York: A 29-year-old man who lost both legs in the Iraqi war is dead after falling out of a 200-foot-high roller coaster. James Hackemer lost his limbs to a roadside bomb in 2008 and just barely survived. "We shouldn't have had him for these last three years and four months," his mother tells the Buffalo News. "After he was hit by the IED, he died once in the field and once on the operating table."

Hackemer went to the park yesterday with family and friends, including his two young daughters. "He was assisted onto the ride," says his mother. "He was doing what he wanted to do." Details of what happened are still unclear. The park's statement: "An adult male guest came out of the Ride of Steel roller coaster, and we are saddened to report that the guest has passed. We are currently investigating the situation with our safety experts and local authorities." (Read more roller coasters stories.)

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