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Possible Electrical Hazard Checked at Disneyland

Theme parks: Cal/OSHA inspectors are investigating complaints of leaks beneath Pirates of the Caribbean.

May 20, 1999|E. SCOTT RECKARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The state agency that fined Disneyland $12,500 for a fatal Christmas Eve accident returned to the theme park this week to investigate a worker's complaint that water-drenched electrical gear is a safety hazard.

On Monday and again Wednesday morning, a Cal/OSHA inspector examined an irregularly shaped room beneath the water ride Pirates of the Caribbean, where a wet floor and corroded switches and panels gave evidence of leaks that workers began complaining of last winter.

"Water would just rain down into that room," a worker said. "The boxes were all rusting away." Maintenance crews have since patched up the worst of the leaks.

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health official allowed the ride to stay open, but the investigation is ongoing, Cal/OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said. "It will be a while before we have a report," he said.

Theme park officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Pirates of the Caribbean boats wend through a fantasy bayou, then plunge down flumes into skeleton-filled caverns with scenes of battle, pillage and carousing, all to the refrain, "Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me."

The ride, opened in 1967, has had trouble keeping its waterfalls, lights and projectors in working order lately. The employee said the biggest leak was beneath the first big plunge into the caverns.

In the Christmas Eve accident, Cal/OSHA ruled that Walt Disney Co. never properly trained assistant manager Christine Carpenter, who put a mooring line on the Columbia, a replica sailing ship, as it approached the dock too fast.

The line ripped a metal mooring cleat off the ship and flung it into a crowd, killing a Washington state man and severely injuring his wife and Carpenter.

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