Louisville Zoo train wrecked despite daily checks

June 2, 2009 9:09:39 AM PDT
A miniature train that derailed and injured 22 people at the Louisville Zoo underwent daily inspections and passed a state examination in January, safety officials said Tuesday. The zoo reopened at its normal time Tuesday morning while state investigators in charge of amusement rides worked to figure out why the train derailed Monday on ground-level tracks in a bend behind the gorilla exhibit. The train ride, which loops two miles around the zoo, remained closed.

One child was critically injured when three open-air cars and the engine fell off the tracks. Kosair Children's Hospital did not immediately have an updated condition for the child Tuesday morning.

Inspectors from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture returned to the zoo Tuesday to continue investigating, said department spokesman Ted Sloan.

Sloan said the ride operator must test and inspect the ride daily and that an inspection took place on Monday before the zoo opened for the day. The ride also passed an inspection on Jan. 22, before opening for the season and had received no prior complaints, Sloan said.

Zoo spokeswoman Kara Bussabarger said details about the daily inspection procedures were unavailable Tuesday because of the ongoing investigation into the crash.

The zoo said the attraction has been around for about 40 years but the train that derailed was bought in 2000.

Officials said there were about 30 people on board when the train derailed.

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