Still questions after vet falls to his death from coaster
James T. Hackemer, 29, fell to his death Friday night off of the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort located in Corfu, New York. Hackemer was an Iraq War veteren and also a double amputee. Now questions about ride safety have prompted a Massachusetts congressman to try and get the federal government involved to regulate the safety of so-called "hypercoasters". While the cause of the accident should come out in a few days there would seem to be nothing criminal about the accident.
The accident is also bringing up questions about wounded veterans wanting to get back to normal lives and do normal things such as ride a roller coaster.
"One of the biggest problems going is that people who become physically disabled are traumatized and want to be as they were before. All of us as human beings want to be as totally normal as possible," said psychiatric nurse Sharon M. McGrath, who for years operated the former C.O.P.I.N. HOUSE in Niagara Falls for Vietnam War veterans experiencing adjustment difficulties.
Disabled Vietnam War veteran Patrick W. Welch expressed his sympathies to the Hackemer family and added that he could understand where James Hackemer was coming from when it came to getting back to a normal life.
"As a seriously wounded veteran who was hospitalized for two years, I understand the desire to recapture your life. In my instance, it was to be able to play hockey again, and it required special adaptive devices on my ice skates from the VA," said Welch, who ignored the advice of doctors to avoid contact sports.
As these questions are being asked all we can hope is that another tragic accident like this one can somehow be avoided in the future.
Full story at The Buffalo News.