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2nd Thrill Ride Death In 2 Days

A New York man died in an apparent accident on a roller coaster in which riders stand through several loops that turn them upside down.

It was one of two fatal accidents in as many days, the other one in California.

Timothy Fan, 20, was killed Monday night on the 50-mph Shockwave ride at the 400-acre Paramount King's Dominion theme park. Officials didn't have a hometown for Fan but said he lived on Long Island in New York.

Officials at the park, which is located about 20 miles north of Richmond, released few details about the incident. Park spokeswoman Betsy Moss confirmed the fatality, which happened about 8:40 p.m., and said an investigation was under way.

Five people were slightly injured Monday when a piece of decorative wood came loose from the track of a Knotts Berry Farm roller coaster ride in Buena Park, Calif.

Also in California, a disabled 12-year-old boy died Sunday after plummeting from an amusement park ride that was about to be shut down for a safety check.

Joshua Smurphat of Sunnyvale fell from his seat on the Drop Zone Stunt Tower at Paramount's Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara while his mother watched from the ground.

Park officials disputed witness accounts suggesting that the boy was not properly strapped into his seat. Jay Lingenfelter, a family friend who was seated next to Joshua, said the safety harness was not checked before the ride began and he heard a sound like when the harness snaps open just before the boy fell.

Park spokesman Timothy Chanaud described the boy as "severely disabled, both mentally and physically," but said the disabilities should not have prevented him from riding safely.

Just before the fatal ride, a computer that helps operate the Drop Zone displayed an error message, forcing park officials to close one of the ride's cars. The entire ride was to be taken out of commission for the rest of the day but not until the final group of riders, including Joshua, were given their turn.

Chanaud said the trouble with ride had nothing to do with the boy's death.

"There is no possible relation between that vehicle that was closed off and the vehicle in which the accident occurred," he said.

In Kings Mills, Ohio, the Paramount's Kings Island amusement park closed two rides similar to the ones involved in the fatal accidents at two other Paramount parks, a spokesman said.

The Drop Zone free-fall ride and the King Cobra stand-up roller coaster are closed indefinitely until Kings Island management obtains more information about the accidents in California and Virginia, Kings Island spokesman David Mandt said.

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