Mechanical problems caused a deadly theme park accident in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province that killed six passengers and injured 10 on Tuesday, authorities said without identifying the specific problem. "Space Journey," a space shuttle simulator ride located in the Overseas Chinese Town East Theme Park in Shenzhen, encountered a mechanical problem and lost its balance with 48 people aboard the high-speed spin operation, the Guangdong-based Dongguan Times reported Thursday.
There are 12 space ship cabins with four enclosed seats on the ride that slammed against the ground several times after losing its balance, Zhang Jie, a sales manager of Overseas Chinese Town Holding Co (OCT Holding), which owns the theme park, told the newspaper Wednesday. "The manufacturer should take responsibility for the accident because we bought the device from them," said Zhang.
An investigative team was sent to the park by the city government. "It can be confirmed that there are mechanical problems with the amusement ride, but the investigation team will still try to work out if it is a production problem or operational mistake," a spokesman for Yantian district, Shenzhen, surnamed Wang, told the Global Times Thursday.
An unidentified official at OCT Holding, told the Guangdong-based Nanfang Daily Wednesday that the "Space Journey" device was manufactured by the Beijing-based Jiuhua Amusement Facilities Manufactory Company and passed a national security check in April 2008.
Calls to Wang Ying, sales manager of Jiuhua company, were unsuccessful.
Zhao Fumei, 22, one of the 10 injured passengers who suffered broken bones, was able to eat plain congee but was uncomfortable with speaking, Zhao's uncle surnamed Liu, told the Global Times Thursday.
Zhao's employer, Sanjia Electronic Device Factory in Dongguan, Guangdong Province paid for the holiday. One of the six who died, Chen Guangming, also worked for the factory. "The park did not inform me about the accident until 7 pm Tuesday, when we were waiting for Zhao and Chen for more than two hours," factory director surnamed Lu, who took 300 workers to the park Tuesday, told the Global Times Thursday. "Also, the park has not offered any compensation package for Chen's family yet."
Zheng Hongxia, deputy manager of the park, told the Nanfang Daily Wednesday that compensation packages for the victims will be discussed and the park will pay for medical expenses for all the injured.
The six people killed in an amusement park ride that malfunctioned were all identified on Wednesday. The six dead include two men and four women aged between 24 and 48. Five of the six dead were from Guangdong province and the other casualty was from Hunan province.
The ten injured have been sent to one district hospital and two municipal-level hospitals in the city of Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong province. Five of them were severely injured, but are in stable condition.
"I saw bodies lying on the floor of the hospital immediately after they arrived," said a middle-aged cleaner, surnamed Qu, on Wednesday in Meisha Hospital, the closest to the Adventure Canyon theme park in the Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) East. "Five had already died and one died later. Clothes covered in blood were spread on the floor. It took me hours to clean the entire hall."
The accident occurred at 4:45 pm on Tuesday during the Space Journey ride, which malfunctioned when 48 passengers were experiencing doubled gravity in the facility, which simulates a rocket launch.
Zeng Hui, general manager of the resort OCT East, said in a statement released by the company on Wednesday that no human failures were responsible for causing the accident. Meanwhile, the official investigation into the accident continues.
The Space Journey has 12 cabins, each of which can accommodate four people. The ride received an A-level national safety standard qualification from the China Special Equipment Inspection and Research Institute in April 2009 and its first public run took place in May 2009.
Zeng said the facility routinely undergoes a safety inspection.
Witnesses said there was an explosion at the scene of the accident.
Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News quoted witnesses as saying one cabin came loose during a high-speed spin and struck other cabins. Some of them fell 15 meters, sending passengers tumbling. However, a female PR manager for OCT East, surnamed Zhang, who sought to dampen down all the speculation about the cause of the accident, told China Daily that the investigation is being handled by the government. "The relevant financial departments have already been in the contact with the insurance company over the details," Zhang said.
Compensation is expected to be paid to the victims in accordance with public liability insurance, Zeng said.
OCT East is operated by OCT Enterprises Co, a large State-owned enterprise involved in property development tourism, and electronic manufacturing.