Dismantling begins on Son of Beast

Kings Island released video Wednesday of a section of the $10 million roller coaster coming down. Complete deconstruction of the roller coaster will take several weeks to complete, said park spokesman Don Helbig.The ride is being removed to make way for other attractions at the park, Helbig said, but what those attractions will be are still being kept under wraps.

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.