My brother recently visited for a two week holiday from the UK, so we decided to go to Gold Reef City theme park for the day. We had done this before on one of his previous visits and the two of us had a great day out.
On Wednesday 20th February, my brother, his girlfriend, my boyfriend and I went to Gold Reef city, as my boyfriend had never been there before. We paid the R160 entrance fee, were told that two major rides, including the Anaconda, were out of commission for the day due to repairs.
We wandered around the park, going on rides, as you do at a theme park. One ride, I believe it is called the Tornadoes, had a number of park attendants working on it throughout the day. On our third walk through the park, we saw the ride was open and my brother suggested we ride it.
The ride is a rotation ride, where a number of red, two-seater carts sit on a five spoke ‘wheel’ that spins independently of the platform it is attached to. When we climbed aboard, we noticed a number of the carts had their safety bars tied to the carts with pieces of wire, so we skipped them and my boyfriend and I picked a cart next to my brothers.
When the park attendant came to lower the safety bar, he began adjusting something by our feet and pulled out a bolt. This should have been our fist cue to switch carts or leave the ride altogether, but he seemingly ‘reattached’ the bolt and lowered the bar. The ride started a few minutes later.
About halfway through the twirling, we heard the bolt fall off of our cart and saw it launch across the ride and hit the side of the enclosure. My boyfriend, who was seated next to me, heard and saw this with me, as did my brother in the cart opposite us. Of course, we began to panic, and it escalated as we heard at least two more bolts fall from our cart and fly across the ride. My boyfriend began shouting to the attendants that the ‘bolt had come off’ and we were both hanging on to the safety bar for dear life, as visions of the cart suddenly flying free and smashing into the wall swam through our heads.
Needless to say, the attendants did not stop the ride, nor did they acknowledge the fact we were shouting for assistance. The ride stopped on its own and we promptly exited the ride, both of us deathly white and shaking. My boyfriend was terrified. We left after that, fearing for our lives.
I have never had any problems at Gold reef city, but I am aware that there have been some in the past, and they have been bough to light by shows like Carte Blanche. I am also aware of the fact that my boyfriend and I should have exited the ride once the attendant pulled the bolt off our cart and that the ride had been closed for maintenance for most of the day.
However, I believe I am right in saying that if the park attendants were aware of any problems with the ride, and had spent half the day ‘fixing’ it, they should NOT have opened it for paying customers without testing it first. I also believe that the attendant working the ride (who I could see standing there while we were shouting for help) DID hear us and should have stopped the ride immediately, as we repeatedly requested. What if the cart had come off its supposedly ‘safe’ stand? Or what if one of the flying bolts had hit another rider in the face? Yes, none of this happened, but it is only a matter of time before tragedy strikes due to the incompetence or simple laziness of the park attendants.
I am a journalist for Property24.com and am affiliated with News24.com. I demand that a FULL investigation go underway to discover exactly what was wrong with that ride and I also demand a report be written and given back to me. If this does not happen, I WILL be taking my story to Carte Blanche who will once again shed light on how unsafe this theme park is. Half the rides look a hundred years old, and most of them simply do not feel safe. I will also be spreading my story on every social and news platform that I can, as it is unacceptable and people’s lives are at stake.
How dare the managers of Gold reef City have the nerve to charge R160 for a ‘fun and safe’ day, and have signs all over the place showing riders the steps to take to ensure they have a ‘safe’ ride, when the rides themselves are death traps.