The World's Most Dangerous Amusement Park Rides

People go on thrill rides for the same reason they watch horror movies: to get that rush of adrenaline that comes from being scared senseless, only in a safe environment. The only problem? Amusement park rides, unlike horror movies, actually do kill people. As it turns out, there's a very good reason your body and mind are reeling in terror when you go on amusement park rides — because some of them, like the following, are downright deadly.

Mission: Space

You wouldn't think a ride at Disney World would be among the most dangerous, but EPCOT's Mission: Space has claimed numerous casualties since it first opened back in 2003. How bad is it? Over the course of a single year, between the summers of 2005 and 2006, Disney had to treat nearly 200 people who suffered injuries on the ride, including numerous incidents of people passing out or suffering chest pain or irregular heartbeats. Two of those unfortunate guests died, one from heart failure and the other from a brain hemorrhage — subsequent lawsuits found the park blameless as the ride's extreme centrifugal force triggered preexisting conditions. Still, Disney soon added a new "safe mode" option for the ride, which has drastically cut down on the carnage.

SCAD Tower

Many rides are dangerous because of poorly designed or incorrectly used safety equipment. The Suspended Catch Air Device (SCAD) Tower sidesteps this problem by having no safety equipment whatsoever. The simple idea behind this monstrosity is that it hoists people way up high, and then drops them in a freefall, down to a net below. Naturally, this has resulted in numerous incidents at SCAD Towers around the world (including a 12-year-old girl who suffered multiple fractures, a brain injury, and was paralyzed for several years) , due to the nets being at the wrong height, not deployed at all, or people missing the net entirely.

Somehow, nobody's died on a SCAD Tower, but it just seems like a bad idea all around, one that should probably end before somebody does.

Batman: The Ride

Batman: The Ride gives you all the fun of being Batman, which is ... actually, it's no fun being Batman. So it's no surprise that this Six Flags roller coaster is among the world's deadliest. The twist, though, is that it seems to pose no danger to the people on the ride, but rather to hapless people on the ground. At Six Flags Georgia, not one, but two people died in separate incidents while walking underneath the ride. In 2002, a park employee was kicked in the head by a dangling rider, while in 2008 a teenager trying to sneak into the park was actually decapitated after being hit by the ride. So much for "Batman doesn't kill".

All of Action Park

There have been so many deadly, dangerous rides at New Jersey's Action Park, we couldn't narrow it down to just one. There's good reason the park earned the nicknames "Traction Park" and "Class-Action Park," as no fewer than six people have been killed at the park over the years, with causes including everything from drowning and electrocution, to being hit in the head with a giant rock.

Most infamous of all the rides was the famed Cannonball Loop, a water slide with an enclosed loop in it. Nobody actually died in it, but the park had to build a hatch into the loop so stuck visitors could climb out before they drowned or got hit by another patron. Eventually, they just shut it down completely, along with the whole park, in 1996. Good thinking. They've since reopened with an emphasis on not killing or maiming people. Also good thinking.

Space Journey

The Space Journey ride at Ecoventure Valley in Shenzen, China offers a simulation of what it's like to ride in a rocket ship blasting off for space. Which is fine, except space travel is incredibly dangerous. In a case of the simulation being a little too much like the real thing, a mysterious accident on the ride killed six and injured ten more back in 2010. Authorities were baffled by how the accident happened, or even what the accident was. Several different theories were offered up, with explosions, fires, crashes, or even a simple power outage all being blamed for the deaths. Whatever the truth, you might be safer actually riding a rocket to Mars.

Superman: Ride of Steel

Batman: The Ride might be dangerous, but if you really want to put your life on the line, try one of the Superman rides at Six Flags. The one at Six Flags: New England has a particularly sketchy history: in 2001, 22 people were sent to the hospital after a train collision, while in 2004, a man with cerebral palsy was thrown from the ride to his death. Its sister coaster, Darien Lake's Ride of Steel has a similar history, with two people getting thrown out of the ride, resulting in one death. Both coasters hit a maximum speed well in excess of 70 mph, so it's no wonder accidents frequently lead to death.

The Big One

The Big One at Pleasure Beach Blackpool in Blackpool, England, was the tallest and steepest roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1994, with a drop of 205 feet and maximum speeds of 74 miles per hour. While other roller coasters have since eclipsed it in terms of speed and height, few have eclipsed it in terms of danger. On two separate occasions the trains have malfunctioned, leading to stalls and crashes that injured a total of 46 people. Ouch.

The Monorail

Finally, we're back to Walt Disney World, with the ride you'd think would be least likely to ever turn rogue: the Monorail. Despite its low speed, Disney's Monorail has been responsible for more accidents and injuries than most roller coasters. With several crashes, at least two fires, and one death, the Monorail has spent nearly five decades racking up a deceptively high body count. And that's just in Florida — the Monorail at Disneyland in California also has one fatality to its name, though that was due to idiocy by a teenager who climbed up on the tracks and got run over. Still, if you need to get to the Ticket and Transportation Center, here's a tip: take the ferry.