Rollercoasters are a provider of adrenaline and fun. People not susceptible to motion sickness often enjoy a day out at a theme park with rides galore. Before the ride begins, riders are given instructions to ensure the most safety possible. Hold on to your belongings, stay seated, and keep limbs inside the vehicle. These are the most common instructions for minimizing danger. However, things occasionally go unexpectedly. As was the case with Shylah Rodden, the 26-year-old was at the Melbourne Royal Show when she got hit by a rollercoaster.
Hit by a Rollercoaster at a New Event
On the 24th of September, a young woman named Shylah Rodden was present at the Melbourne Showgrounds in Australia when tragedy struck. According to her sister, Caisha Rodden, Shylah was at the park working. Caisha said, “She was helping out her friend at her stall for the day and she was sent on her break with another worker, and they decided to go on a few rides to kill time and this happened unfortunately.” The event was completely sold out and only 4 days in at the time of the accident.
Officials were originally stumped by the events, as there have been conflicting reports. It was first believed that Shylah walked onto the track to retrieve a cell phone. In contrast, eyewitnesses reported the woman was on the ride when she fell out, after which a rollercoaster tragically hit her.
Authorities Respond to the Incident
After the incident, Victoria Police released a statement explaining that authorities were investigating. “Officers are working to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and a crime scene has been established. It appears at this early stage the woman may have walked on and entered the track to try and retrieve a dropped phone before she was hit by a roller-coaster carriage, about 5.45pm.” The report concludes with, “Sadly, the woman was then found injured on the ground. Detectives from the Yarra Crime Investigation Unit are attending the scene and will work with WorkSafe to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.”
Waking Up, But Not Communicating
Doctors at Royal Melbourne Hospital were surprised to see how much damage her body had gone through after being hit by a rollercoaster, and it was unknown if she’d pull through. She was put in a medically induced coma after sustaining head, pelvis, arm, legs, and back injuries. Two months after being hit by a roller-coaster, she has woken up; however, she has not been able to communicate. Her condition has now been deemed stable.
Despite the good news of waking from her coma, her younger sister, Caisha doesn’t agree with medical opinions. She stated in an interview, “She had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury so if that’s what people think is stable, they are wrong. Just because she’s awake doesn’t mean she’s stable.”
Helping the Woman Hit by a Rollercoaster
The family has been devastated by the whole experience and has suffered severe emotional and financial hardships after the rollercoaster incident. A family friend named Sylvia Dess started a GoFundMe page to help the family cover the cost of Shylah’s 24-hour care and other medical bills. Although the goal of $20,000 was not reached, the page has had several donations and has reached over half of the original goal.
Reassurance to the Public
Brad Jenkins, Melbourne Royal Show CEO, released a statement regarding the 26-year-old being hit by a rollercoaster. “From our understanding, there was a mobile phone at the base of the Rebel Coaster that she dropped on the ride, and she went back to recover the mobile phone. Regrettably, she was tragically struck by the cart coming down.” He assures the public, “It is an extreme rollercoaster which is a lot of fun generally, but this was a tragic accident that shouldn’t have happened. This is a tragic accident, not a malfunction of a ride, so I can assure people that the rides are entirely safe.”
It’s important to remember that occasionally mistakes are made, regardless of the circumstances. Being around such large and powerful machinery can be very dangerous. As a safety measure, there are often lockers or cubbies available for use during your ride. However, that may not always be available so it’s important to secure all belongings before getting on the rides. Additionally, follow all safety instructions to ensure the safest and most fun experience possible.
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- “Woman fighting for life after being struck by rollercoaster at Theme Park.” Unilad. Aisha Nozari. September 26,2022.
- “Woman hit by Rollercoaster is now trapped in her own body after waking from coma.” Unilad. Daisy Phillipson. December 4, 2022.