Wednesday, April 14, 2004

30 Dead In Tragedy At Seaworld San Diego

The city of San Diego collectively stood trembling with grief, shock and horror after 30 people died during a test run for Seaworld's "Journey to Atlantis" ride.

Many assumed the ride would be similar in nature to a ride of the same name located at Seaworld Orlando. Subsequent construction of the structure strongly suggested the same conclusion. "Journey to Atlantis," however, was not the same.

Not at all.

Reports indicate that, upon entering the ride, the 30 preview riders were placed inside a large, totally enclosed metal tank. There, after being restrained, the ride began, at which point the park guests were transported in time and space to the mythical lost city of Atlantis. Having been placed entirely underwater, lacking oxygen, and restrained in over-the-shoulder restraints, riders drowned within minutes. At this point, the OTSRs were released, the seats returned, and the metal enclusore reopened to let in another 30 guests.

"A great tragedy has befallen our park today," said Seaworld spokeswoman Melody Schutt, "in retrospect, it has become apparent to us in the Seaworld family that 'Journey to Atlantis' needed to come equipped with oxygen tanks and masks. Unfortunately, we found oxygen tanks interfered with the restraint system. Our market research shoed that we needed to keep the restraint at any cost to keep our guests' feelings of security intact, so we felt we were left with no choice but to abandon the oxygen tanks."

"We now understand this to have been a fairly critical design mistake," added Schutt.

Enthusiasts have been quick to attribute the incident as an "accident" caused by "rider error."

"Seaworld cannot be blamed in any way for this tragedy," wrote local enthusiast Damion Rudborn. "Any IDIOT should have known to bring an oxygen mask and tank to a ride called 'Journey to Atlantis.' Where did they think it would take them, Cleveland? Chalk this one up to natural selection!"

IAAPA, following its previous approach, promptly issued a press statement echoing Rudborn's comments, noting that the preview readers "were clearly a bunch of morons."

Attumas, the mischievous Homo Mermanus that designed the San Diego version of "Journey to Atlantis," was unavailable for comment at press time.

--MOS