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Tragic! Army Amputee Dies In Theme Park Accident

| Filed under: R.I.P.Sad Sad

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So, so sad.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sgt. James Thomas Hackemer died in an unfortunate roller coaster accident at a New York amusement park over the weekend. The Army veteran had lost all of his left leg and most of his right one in 2008 when an explosive penetrated his armor, severely wounding him. He had lost tremendous amounts of blood, had two strokes, and was in a coma for six weeks. But, he was a a fighter and survived.

…Which makes this story so much more tragic. Hackemer was thrown from the roller coaster Ride of Steel at the Darien Lake Theme Park Resort near Buffalo. He fell from the 208-foot-tall ride and died.

He was determined to ride every roller coaster," said his sister, who was on the ride with him. "That minute he was on that ride, he probably felt the happiest and most normal he's felt in three and a half years."

Another sister says that the park attendants did not question whether or not he should have been put on the ride, considering there was a height limit.

His sister said:

"What gives us peace right now with this whole situation is we've had James for the last three and a half years when we were told he wouldn't survive, we were told he would never wake up, he would be a vegetable. And he overcame that and we overcame it as a family. So I look on the last three and a half years as a blessing."

That's such a lovely way of putting it considering her brother's tragic death. Our hearts go out to the entire family.

[Image via AP Images.]

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20 comments to “Tragic! Army Amputee Dies In Theme Park Accident”



  1. 1

    First of all, if they denied him the ride, he would have run to the press and park would have taken a lot of flak for denying a vet.

    Also, I read in another article he took his prosthetics off. Seems more his fault than anything.



  2. 2

    so tragic! i can't even begin to imagine… god bless!



  3. 3

    That ride only holds you in by a bar that puts pressure on your legs both the park and that guy are crazy for thinking it was something that would be ok even if it made him happy hes dead now. . . really! Imagine being on that ride when it happened or in line watching. He had his family are not the only people effected.

    Jasmine- Rochester NY



  4. 4

    Terrible. I have been on that same ride when it was called Superman: Ride of Steel and it is FAST!



  5. 5

    I don't like amputees. Most of the time they are so extremely arrogant, loud, outspoken for no reasons.



  6. 6

    search the hornell evening tribune. pretty sure he was only on the ride with a friend, not the sister



  7. 7

    so tragic for him and his family
    .
    when the ride was created, I doubt if the engineers etc. that create these terrific attractions had given much thought to the center of gravity of an almost double (lower limb) amputee- which is significantly different than the center of gravity of a person with their lower limbs
    .
    you do not want to deny him the fun of riding it, and you don't want to be seen to discriminate
    but perhaps this is a ride that he should not have been allowed to go on if it had not been tested with that center of gravity also in mind
    .
    something that all amusement park rides need now consider and investigate
    .
    so that in future if they have to refuse the ride to someone for a specific reason like that, they have the data to back it up - proof that it may be a risk and they are not willing to put your life at risk-even for a 2 minute ride!



  8. 8

    Damn, Death wanted his ass.



  9. 9

    wow, so he survived all that shit only to fall off a rollercoaster?? how messed up is that?
    if there was a god he would be one big fat cynical asshole



  10. 10

    I feel like there are details missing in this story.. but none the less it is truly sad when any individual (especially someone who was dedicated to serving our country) loses their life in such a devistating un forseen tragedy. Condolences to his family and loved ones.



  11. 11

    I hope the theme park is gathering these comments the man's family makes for when they change their tune and sues the shit out of them for wrongful death.



  12. 12

    Re: understudy3 – How nice you have so much compassion for people…. Rude.



  13. 13

    UGH the comments on this site are disgusting. People are happy hes dead? People making rude comments about amputees? WTF is wrong with you sick and twisted people.. Karma will slap you down to size..This man FOUGHT to protect your rights and almost DIED defending this country, and this is the shizz you have to say regarding a situation you have VERY LIMITED details on? Truly sickening.



  14. 14

    That is so sad. :( What a tragic end for a brave guy.



  15. 15

    He didn't fight for us he fought for the government we would be fine with out a war right now but they have hidden motives besides is he was fighting for us would you have chosen to send him in to a pointless war? Chances are he was a misfit teen with no direction so he joined the military or he thought he'd join the military and go to school after. His decision sucked for him and he was given the chance to enjoy three more years of life and make the best of it and from what is sister said he was miserable (probably so are most amputees thus why they are miserable people and it is understandable)



  16. 16

    I got nuthin'



  17. 17

    He was on the ride with his nephew in the first car. He fell towards the end of the ride; he died immediately. His funeral is being held this week in Gowanda. I was on the Ride of Steel 3 weeks ago in the very first car. You feel like your flying out of your seat that's how fast this roller coaster is. Everybody from Buffalo is basically in shock. It's heartbreaking.



  18. 18

    As tragic as this is, at least the poor guy survived the horror to live a little and die doing something he enjoyed.



  19. 19

    I have been to this amusement park and have seen employees deny an amputee a ride on the Superman roller coaster. The amputee and his wife/girlfriend stood in the way of the roller coaster for about an hour because they felt they were being discriminated against. The crew stood their ground. I wonder why the failure this time.



  20. 20

    Re: understudy3 – You're a prick, not once in this article does anyone blame anyone for what happened.