Updated: 8:12 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 | Posted: 8:01 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, 2013

Banshee most expensive project in Kings Island history

$24 million roller coaster set to open in 2014.



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Banshee most expensive project in Kings Island history photo
Banshee, which features a massive inline loop, is a steel roller coaster that hits a top speed of 68 mph.
Banshee most expensive project in Kings Island history photo
Fans look at a graveyard display as part of Kings Island’s announcement of their new roller coaster called Banshee. According to Irish mythology, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die.
Banshee most expensive project in Kings Island history photo
Greg Scheid, Kings Island Vice President/General Manager, announces Aug. 8 the park’s new roller coaster called Banshee, which will open in 2014.
Banshee most expensive project in Kings Island history photo
Banshee, which features a massive inline loop, is a steel roller coaster that hits a top speed of 68 mph.

By Lot Tan

Staff Writer

MASON —

Kings Island’s newest attraction, Banshee, will be the most expensive capital project investment in the amusement park’s 41-year history, according to park officials.

Officials are calling the $24 million attraction the “world’s longest inverted coaster” at 4,124 feet. It is set to make its debut at the amusement park in April 2014.

Banshee, which features a massive inline loop, is a steel roller coaster that hits a top speed of 68 mph and will be located on the site of the former Son of Beast roller coaster, according to Don Helbig, spokesman for Kings Island.

It’s the first female-inspired roller coaster for the park, officials said.

According to Irish mythology, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die.

And that’s exactly what hundreds of guests heard late Thursday night as they waited patiently for the big announcement. Loud screams and shrieks blared through speakers, hinting that an evil spirit would soon descend on the park. The crowd loved it.

“It’s going to be awesome. It looks like an amazing inverted roller coaster,” said William Rose, who attended the announcement.

“I’m a big fan of flips and turns,” visitor Katey Pena said.

Banshee begins with a lift taking riders up to the maximum height of 167 feet and then plunging them 150 feet. Riders can look forward to several loops along the ride, including a “170-foot long heartline finale,” according to park officials.

Banshee will be the 15th roller coaster at Kings Island. It was designed by Bolliger and Mabillard of Monthey, Switzerland.

“Banshee reflects our commitment to providing the best in world-class thrills and value for our guests and is an investment in the Ohio tourism industry,” said Greg Scheid, Kings Island’s vice president and general manager.

Construction of the new attraction began April 22, according to park officials.

“We’re way ahead of schedule at this point,” Scheid said of construction. He said he expects test runs of the new attraction to begin early next year.

Diamondback was the amusement park’s most recent roller coaster, opening in 2009.

The dismantling of Son of Beast began around Labor Day 2012 after park executives decided to shut down the ride in 2009.

When the Son of Beast opened it 2000, it was promoted as a “sequel” to the park’s most famous ride — the Beast. When it opened, the ride set world records as the tallest wooden roller coaster at 218 feet and fastest wooden coaster with top speeds of 78 miles per hour. The roller coaster also contained a mammoth 118-foot loop, a rarity for a wooden roller coaster.

The ride was beset with problems from the start. Then-Kings Island owner Paramount fired Roller Coaster Company of Ohio — the firm hired to engineer and build the ride — before the construction was completed and had to make several design corrections in the ride’s initial year.

People reported being injured in six different incidences on the ride, although only one — in 2006 — was deemed to be due to design flaws in the roller coaster by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which oversees roller coasters and thrill rides.

In 2006, 27 people reported being injured when a wooden beam cracked from the weight of the roller coaster riders. One woman sued the park and was awarded an undisclosed sum in damages due to hip and back injuries sustained in the ride.

The ride was shuttered for the remainder of 2006, but reopened in 2007 minus the loop. Park officials said the loop’s removal had nothing to do with the 2006 incident but was done so different trains could be used on the ride.

The ride was closed again — for the final time — on June 16, 2009 when a 39-year-old Mason woman reported she had been hospitalized after sustaining a burst blood vessel in her brain as a result of riding the roller coaster. The Department of Agriculture found no design flaw to have caused the injury, but the ride never reopened.

It was estimated more than 7 million people rode the Son of Beast in its nine-plus seasons of operation.

 
 

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