The 1984 Six Flags St. Louis Coaster that Closed After a Tragedy
I used to go to Six Flags in St. Louis practically every year growing up in the 1970's and 80's and cannot remember this coaster at all. It's a coaster that opened at Six Flags in St. Louis and only lasted a year because of a tragedy.
The roller coaster in question was called Rail Blazer. Do you remember Rail Blazer? It was built apparently on one of the two main mine train tracks according to this website. It was one of only 3 stand-up roller coasters at that time.
Rail Blazer opened as a brand new unique ride in June of 1984. That fun ended on July 7, 1984 when Stella Holcomb fell from Rail Blazer and was killed as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Theme Park Coaster Crazy shared some of the differing accounts of what went wrong:
They rode in the back row. Reports from that day are that Carl was on the left and Stella was on the right. From Carl’s description of the incident, it is most likely the beginning of the helix after the second chain lift where Stella was flung from the train.
How tragic no matter what caused the accident.
In a follow-up report, UPI shared details from Six Flags that there were no mechanical failures to cause the woman's death. Here's a snippet from that report:
The report said the victim's weight -- listed as 260 pounds in an autopsy report -- might have contributed to her being thrown from the ride. He also speculated that the ride's harnesses might have been fitted over her too loosely because of her size.
It led to a redesign of the restraint system, but the ride never made it to the next year. Much of what used to be Rail Blazer ended up being remade back into River King Mine Train.
I remember the introduction of The Screamin' Eagle in 1976, Thunder River in 1983 and The Ninja in 1989. As for Rail Blazer, I have no recollection of it. If not for the tragedy, perhaps the coaster would have endured.