Liseberg funfair accident caused by broken drive shaft

The accident at the Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg last week was caused by a broken drive shaft, investigators have announced.

Liseberg funfair accident caused by broken drive shaft

The Rainbow ride collapsed with 36 passengers on board last week at the Liseberg park. The park operators claim that a manufacturing fault was to blame.

When the Rainbow ride was disassembled by investigators the broken shaft became apparent. The shaft should hold Rainbow’s sofa – the platform on which passengers sit – in a horizontal position. The fault is not one that could be detected in a routine safety check, Liseberg said.

“This shaft sits contained in the arm which can be seen from the outside of the ride. It took our technicians five hours to cut open the arm in order to get to the shaft. It is not even possible for us to get at,” said Liseberg’s CEO Mats Wedin to news agency TT.

The drive system, which is a closed unit, was replaced in its entirety in 2003 and is inspected by its manufacturers, the German firm Huss Maschinenfabrik, after 5,000 hours of operation. The accident occurred after around 3,500 hours.

“Because there has been so much speculation it’s very satisfying to be able to saw that the control and maintenance system we have in place didn’t fail. At the same time, it means that we have to address this issue with the manufacturer,” said Wedin.

Eighteen of the 36 passengers, many of them children, were taken to hospital following the accident. None of them received any life threatening injuries, but the day following the incident two people remained hospitalized with broken bones at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

All 36 passengers will be compensated by Liseberg, even if the manufacturer is found to be responsible for the accident.

“We’ll do as much as we can for our guests just the same,” said Wedin.

Wedin explained that work is “ongoing” to try to determine what sort of compensation package the amusement park might eventually offer.

“We have a group which is in dialogue with the families, and it will be on an individual basis that we do this because the circumstances are different,” he said.

It is still not fully known whether the broken drive shaft is a manufacturing error, a construction problem, or a defect in the material itself.

It is also not clear what demands Liseberg may put on the manufacturer of the Rainbow.

“We haven’t even thought about that,” said Wedin.