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Stagecoach Accident Should Be Investigated

August 31, 2003

Re "Stagecoach Crash Kills Horse, Hurts Riders at Knott's," Aug. 21:

As an engineer I am appalled by state regulators' rationale for not investigating the stagecoach accident at Knott's Berry Farm. I'm guessing that they don't consider the stagecoach a mechanical ride because it has no motor, but it is a mechanical device nevertheless, and a brake failure is a mechanical failure.

By the same standard, the ship rigging accident at Disneyland that led to the current amusement park laws would not have been considered worthy of investigation except for the tragic death and injury it caused. That too, was a mechanical device, whose failure was aided by human error.

Whether that is the case at Knott's is part of what the state regulators are paid to investigate. The regulators also justify their decision because "the worker's injury was not serious." True for the human, but a working horse lost its life. If that same horse had been lost in the service of the mounted police, it would have been treated with the respect any member of the force is entitled to.

Furthermore, the investigation is intended to help ensure against another incident in which the humans involved might not be as lucky.

Mark Sheldon

Huntington Beach

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