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12-year-old boy injured in Branson roller coaster accident

June 21, 2021 GMT

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — Two state inspectors on Monday were at a roller coaster attraction in the popular Missouri tourist town of Branson, trying to determine how a 12-year-old boy was badly injured in an accident.

The accident happened around 7:30 p.m. Sunday at The Branson Coaster. City spokeswoman Melody Pettit said the child was “trapped on the ride with what appeared to be serious injuries.” A Facebook posting from the Branson Professional Firefighters Local 152 said the boy was trapped beneath the coaster.

City and state investigators declined to give more details about what exactly happened, including whether the boy somehow fell from the ride. The child was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Springfield. Messages left with the hospital on Monday were not immediately returned.

Another Branson area attraction was the site of a catastrophic accident in 2018, when an amphibious “duck boat” sank on Table Rock Lake, killing 17 people. Ripley Entertainment, which owned the boat, settled 31 lawsuits related to the tragedy. Criminal charges filed against three Ripley employees were dismissed in December.

The Branson Coaster is a “Downhill Alpine Coaster” manufactured in 2017, according to inspection reports obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request. The two most recent annual inspections — in June 2019 and May 2020 — found no flaws with the ride.

“No adverse conditions noted at time of inspection,” both stated. Among other things, inspectors gave the coaster a passing grade for “Safe Restraints — Lap Bar, Seat Belts, Harness.”

Phone messages left with The Branson Coaster were not returned.