AP article on water slide acident

AP article on water slide acident

Post by David » Mon, 16 Jun 1997 04:00:00

      SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A city engineer raised concerns about
the water slides at a theme park years before a collapse Monday
that killed a ***-ager and injured 32 others, the San Jose Mercury
News reported Friday.
      Nevertheless, the city of Concord issued permits to the
attraction.
      Concord officials said Thursday the engineer's concerns two
years ago had nothing to do with the collapse, which happened when
33 youngsters piled onto the Banzai Pipeline. The chute broke
apart, dropping some of the ***-agers 40 feet.
      Park officials said the weight of the ***-agers was simply too
much for the slide, a contention that was supported Thursday by a
Houston engineer hired by the park to investigate.
      ``That slide is a good slide,'' said the University of Houston's
John Hunsucker.
      Two building department documents obtained by the newspaper
showed that a former Concord city engineer, Nick Theophanous, had
questions about the design of towers at the 20-acre attraction
before it opened.
      Theophanous wrote the note ``potential failures'' next to a
drawing of a flange in documents about the park. A week later, he
was dismissed. City spokeswoman Emily Hopkins would not say why.
      The newspaper said files it obtained indicate Theophanous was
told by his supervisor to approve the project without further
checking of the slide once he was assured that the city would not
be held financially responsible in case of an accident.
      But that supervisor said an engineering firm hired by the city
found Theophanous was concerned with wind stresses, not the
structural failure that injured the students.
      Theophanous's concerns had ``nothing to do with the part of the
structure that failed,'' said Community Development Director Bill
Reeds.
      Theophanous, now a private structural engineer, said he stands
by his previous comments but could not say whether they were
relevant to the failure without inspecting the slide.

Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

David Hamburger
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