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Entries in Darien Lake Theme Park (1)

Sunday
Jul102011

Iraq War Veteran Dies After Being Ejected From a Roller Coaster

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision(GENESSEE COUNTY, N.Y.) -- U.S. Army Sgt. James Hackemer, an Iraq War veteran and double amputee, died in a tragic roller coaster accident at Darien Lake Theme Park in upstate New York, according to ABC News affiliate WKBW-TV in Buffalo.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. Friday, Hackemer was ejected from the park's "Ride of Steel" as it was operating. Hackemer was in the very front of the ride, according to Genesee County Sheriff Sgt. Greg Walker. The restraints on the roller coaster are a lap bar and seat belt.

Hackemer was reportedly at the park with his children and sister. His children were not with him on the ride at the time of the accident, but a relative said he was accompanied by a college-age nephew.

Hackemer had lost both his legs in combat in Iraq.

A spokesperson for Darien Lake Theme Park issued a statement to WKBW Friday evening with first word of the accident:

"An incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort. An adult male guest came out of the Ride of Steel roller coaster, and we are saddened to report that the guest has passed. We are currently investigating the situation with our safety experts and local authorities. Meanwhile, the attraction and surrounding area is closed pending the investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the guest."

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ABC News Radio