[AN] Disney prend ses responsabilités dans l'accident de BTM

Publié le par parcattractions.fr

Disneyland Resort settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a 23-year-old Gardena man who was killed while riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, lawyers said Friday.

Marcelo Torres was killed Sept. 5, 2003, when the locomotive of the roller coaster-style ride at Disneyland suddenly uncoupled from the front passenger car.

Trial was set to begin Monday in the lawsuit, which alleged that Torres died as a result of faulty maintenance on the ride.

Terms of the settlement are confidential, according to a joint statement released by plaintiff attorney Wylie Aitken and Rob Doughty, of Disneyland Resort.

"We all deeply regret that the tragic accident occurred and are terribly saddened by the grievous pain this caused the Torres family," Doughty said in the joint statement.

"We agree with the conclusions of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health that the accident was caused by incorrectly performed maintenance tasks on Big Thunder Mountain, required by our policy and procedures, which resulted in a mechanical failure, for which we, of course, accept responsibility," he said.

In the statement, Torres' parents, Jaime and Carmen Torres, announced the establishment of an art scholarship at Brooks College, from which their son, who studied graphic design, graduated in 2003.

"Though nothing can bring back our son or replace the void within our family, we hope the resolution of our claim and the living scholarship will help bring closure to our family," Jaime Torres said.

The scholarship will be known as the Marcelo Torres Memorial Scholarship, and it could be in place by the end of the current school year, Aitken said.

The amount has not yet been determined, but the scholarship will be given to a student each year who best exemplifies his or her love for the creative arts and ambition to be an animator, the family said.

Claims were also resolved in connection with Torres' friend, Vicente Gutierrez of Wilmington, who suffered a mouth injury and broken ribs, attorney Christopher Aitken said.

Settlement was also reached with four members of the Van De Keere family of Vancouver, British Columbia, which include mother, father and children, ages 8 and 12. Their injuries were mostly emotional trauma, although there was some soft tissue injury, Aitken said.

The monetary amounts are all confidential, Aitken said.

In all, 10 people were injured on the ride that remained closed until March 2004.

State investigators concluded last year that an axle assembly collided with a safety brake, causing the locomotive's rear to push up and the first car to go beneath it.

They cited improper maintenance and lapses in training as causes of the fatal crash.

Torres was in the car that went under the locomotive. He died of blood loss when a blow to the chest fractured his ribs, which lacerated his lungs, the coroner concluded.

It was another accident on Big Thunder that helped lead to changes in the law regarding the regulation of amusement parks.

In March 1998, David Fackler lost half of his foot when he put his foot out of the car during a temporary stop and it became jammed in the track when the train lurched forward. His mother launched a campaign that resulted in the change.

Two other mishaps were reported on the ride after it reopened, including an incident on July 8, 2004, when one train bumped into other train cars at a loading station. Three members of a Canadian family were injured.

Source : KNBC TV

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