Knott's Berry Farm has reopened its Pony Express rollercoaster, with adjustments made to the ride following an accident that left 10 people injured.
The accident on October 7 saw two of the coaster's trains collide when one failed to make it over the ride's first hill and rolled back into the other. An initial investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) found that the accident was caused by Knott's Berry Farm painting the fin brakes on Pony Express' trains, causing the first train to slip through a braking mechanism that should have prevented the collision.
The park has been allowed to reopen Pony Express after removing the offending paint. DOSH has revealed that the park had no procedures in place to test what would happen if the ride's launch mechanism failed to achieve the required velocity, as happened in the accident. Knott's Berry Farm will now be required to simulate a failed launch every morning prior to the ride opening to the public.
Only one train will be in operation on Pony Express initially, with the other being repaired after suffering damage in the collision. The rollercoaster must be inspected again by DOSH before Knott's Berry Farm will be allowed to operate it with both trains.
Nine people on the train that rolled back in the accident were injured, while one other who was boarding the waiting train was also hurt. Although it was reported initially that none were seriously injured, the LA Times reports that one rider - 53-year-old Arthur Hodge - has since claimed through his attorney that he suffered a broken back in the incident.
Pony Express is a Zamperla "Motocoaster" which sees riders sitting astride mock horses as they traverse a series of turns and drops (a video of the ride in action is embedded below). The ride, which opened in 2008, features a launched start that propels the trains from 0-38 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds.
The incident on Pony Express was the second involving a launched coaster at Knott's Berry Farm in as many years. In 2009, a cable snapped on the park's Xcelerator rollercoaster, leading to a prolonged closure before the park finally received approval from DOSH to reopen the ride.