August 22, 2019

Disabled war veteran dies in roller coaster fall

It is tragic that a man who had fought for his country and fought to be rehabilitated should die after he had achieved so much.

A disabled US Iraq war veteran has fallen to his death from a 63m high roller-coaster, bringing a tragic end to a triumphant rehabilitation from horrific injuries.

US Army Sergeant James Hackemer, 29, a double amputee, fell from the Ride of Steel roller-coaster at the Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort, about 50 kilometres east of Buffalo, about 5.30pm local time on Friday, according to park officials, who said they were deeply saddened by the incident. So they friggin should be.

Hackemer lost his legs and a hip when a roadside bomb exploded when he was serving in Iraq in 2008. He suffered two strokes, blood loss, and brain damage following the attack and spent three years in rehabilitation, during which he re-learned how to eat and speak. He was released in March and lived in Gowanda, New York.

Hackemer’s mother, Nancy, told local media after the accident that her son had been helped on to the ride by other people and was “doing what he wanted to do”.

“I want to live my life to the fullest from here on out,” Hackemer told local news media after his rehabilitation.

Hackemer rode the Ride of Steel, which reaches speeds of more than 110 kilometres per hour and is one of the tallest roller coasters in the Eastern United States.

“The preliminary investigation determined that Mr Hackemer was ejected from the roller-coaster as it was in operation,” according to a statement from the Genesee County Sheriff’s office. “As a result of being ejected, Mr Hackemer received fatal injuries.” These guys are certified geniuses. Maybe they could solve world hunger while they are at it.