A roller coaster that can go from zero to 112mph in 1.56 seconds: What could go wrong? Something, perhaps. The Do-Dodonpa roller coaster at the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in Japan has been indefinitely put on ice while officials investigate whether riders sustained injuries because of it—and fairly significant ones at that. Between December 2020 and August 2021, four passengers say that's what happened, though CNN reports the park said in a statement that "the causal relationship between injuries and amusement machines has not yet been confirmed."
- The injuries. Asahi Shimbun reports the injuries included a fractures in their necks, chest, and backs, including a cervical fracture and a thoracic spine fracture. All were in their 30s to 50s; 210,000 people rode the coaster without incident during that time.
- Another statement. This from the maker of the ride: "The causal relationship between the injuries of passengers and the amusement machine produced by our group company is not confirmed."
- What's different here. Most roller coasters start by going up, up, up and then quickly descending and accelerating. Do-Dodonpa's cars, however, are mechanically propelled. A line from Mainichi: "Fuji-Q Highland says the physical burden on riders is high, and issues them warnings including to sit in the proper position."
- The COVID angle. The park has been open since June 2020 despite the pandemic, though only outdoor rides have been in operation.
- Bits of trivia. The park is located at the base of Mount Fuji. Vice calls the coaster the fastest-accelerating in the world.
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