On June 20, 2021, a 12-year-old boy was trapped and injured underneath the Runaway Mountain Coaster in Branson, Missouri. He was rescued by Branson police and fire crews at about 7:30pm and immediately taken to a Springfield hospital.
According to the Branson Professional Firefighters Local 152, the rescue took an hour and forty minutes.
A comment from the 12-year-old’s apparent mom, Vonda Boo, explained that the boy was actually “11 years old” and “visually impaired”. The accident happened when the ride stopped for a moment and “he took his seatbelt off thinking it was time to get off”, only to be trapped as “the ride took off again”. She adds that “the ride wasn’t supposed to do what did” and that “they [the Branson Mountain Adventure Park] need to see what’s going on with their rides”.
Vonda Boo also said that her oldest son had asked to sit with the 11-year-old and was denied because “anyone under 16 years old has to be seated alone”.
The 11-year-old’s mom was reportedly 5 hours away during the accident.
In follow-up posts, Vonda Boo says that the 11-year-old is conscious and talking.
Branson Runaway Mountain Coaster and Facebook Response
The Branson roller coaster features “individual carts that are engineered to exacting safety standards” and “are specially designed to allow riders to have control of their ride with a patented braking system”. It’s set in the Ozark Mountains and reportedly has “400 feet of elevation change from top to bottom”.
Underneath the Branson Professional Firefighters Local 152 post, others are sharing their experiences with the roller coaster. One user advises against riding in the rain, as the brakes reportedly don’t work well during precipitation.
Another says that on “Saturday [their] mother in law and daughter were hurt due to the brakes not being connected to the cart” and “they should have shut it down till someone could inspect it”. They add that the ride “says [to] stay buckled”, yet their “daughter got a bruise and knot on her head and seat belt bruise on her belly” anyways. Their mother in law also hurt her “shoulder from the seat belt and her [ankles] from impact”.
A sensor on the track told the operator the cart brakes were malfunctioning, but the mother in law and daughter “couldn’t do anything but ride it out” and “slammed into the conveyer belt full speed”.
Apparently, the daughter and mother-in-law rode on the roller coaster several times before without issue.