The General Manager of Kings Island has strongly suggested that wooden rollercoaster Son of Beast will remain closed throughout the 2010 season.
Greg Scheid revealed in an interview with Cincannati's Business Courier that he is still "not comfortable with the ride", describing it as "the single toughest ride that I've ever worked with". Son of Beast has been closed since June 2009, after a woman claimed the ride caused a blood vessel in her brain to burst.
Scheid claims that the park has spent "millions" on Son of Beast to smooth out the ride following a 2006 incident which left 26 people injured. He said that the park will not re-open the coaster until it is "100% sure that [park guests] will enjoy their time on the ride".
The Kings Island boss stopped short of saying that the ride will be removed, as rumored last year. However, he gave no indication of when the ride would reopen and it seems very likely that it will be out of action for much of, or all of the 2010 season.
Son of Beast has suffered from problems ever since its opening in May 2000. It was recently revealed that the forensic engineer who investigated the 2006 incident had accused the park of "negligence" in failing to deal with problems with the coaster's structure. According to Rick Schmizze, the wooden rollercoaster was swaying too much, possibly due to inferior-quality wood used in its construction.
The incident occurred just days after Cedar Fair purchased the park from previous owners Paramount. Schmizze placed much of the blame for the incident on Paramount, claiming that the company failed to produce a computer model for the ride that was necessary to solve the problems.
Any further updates made to Son of Beast are likely to be very costly for Kings Island, which is believed to have already spent in the region of $30 million on the ride. Options under consideration include replacing the ride's entire wooden support system with a steel structure, or removing the two giant helixes which have caused many of the its previous problems.
The 2006 incident occured when a broken support beam caused the ride train to come to a juddering halt in the station. The park invested significantly in repairs and upgrades before the ride eventually reopened, including removing a loop and replacing the coaster cars with lighter ones.
Nevertheless Son of Beast continues to divide opinion, with some enjoying the "extreme" ride that it gives , while others claim that it is too physically painful to be enjoyable.