Iraq veteran amputee dies after fall from roller coaster
A veteran who lost both legs in Iraq died at an amusement park in upstate New York after he fell from a 208-foot roller coaster, local press reported on Saturday.
James Hackemer, 29, died Friday night at the Darien Lake Theme Park Resort near Buffalo, New York after falling from the “Ride of Steel” roller coaster, according to the Buffalo News, a local daily newspaper.
The park remained open, according to its website, but the “Ride of Steel” is closed pending an investigation into the death of an “adult male guest.”
According to the Buffalo News, Hackemer was released from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in March following three years of rehabilitation after losing both legs and a hip to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008.
He was at the amusement park with his two daughters, who are three- and four-years old.
The park’s website says the Ride of Steel is one of the tallest east of the Mississippi River, with a height of 208 feet (60 meters) at its peak. Its cars plunge down the track at more than 70 mph (110 kph). The park added that guests must be at least 54 inches (1.37 meters) tall to ride the roller coaster.