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Changes are made to SeaWorld’s Electric Eel ride after an injury forced it to shut down last month

The Electric Eel.
The Electric Eel, which had been shut down last month due to an injury, has resumed operations.
(Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union Tribune)

SeaWorld reopens ride after state agency inspected it, reporting that “enhancements” were made to the coaster vehicles as a result of its probe

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SeaWorld’s Electric Eel coaster, which was shut down over a month ago due to an injury suffered by a rider, has reopened, the park confirmed Monday.

Marketed as the park’s fastest, tallest coaster when it opened five years ago, Electric Eel was quickly taken offline more than a month ago after a passenger reported being injured while on the ride. That injury, in turn, was reported June 9 to the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, which regulates public health and safety in workplaces as well as amusement park attractions and ski lifts.

SeaWorld San Diego spokeswoman Tracy Spahr said on Monday that Electric Eel resumed operations on July 18. That was only after the park’s “independent safety and engineering experts” and the ride’s manufacturer reviewed it, Spahr said in a statement. The park also added a safety modification but did not disclose what that was.

“The safety of our guests is always our top priority, and it informs everything we do in our parks,” she wrote in an email.

SeaWorld could not provide any additional information on Monday that would shed light on what caused the rider’s injury, nor would it say what, if anything, Cal/OSHA had uncovered as part of an investigation it said last month that it would be undertaking. Cal/OSHA described the passenger’s injury last month as a “left ankle deformity.”

While the state agency had said previously that such a probe could take up to six months, a spokesperson confirmed Monday that the investigation by the agency’s Amusement Ride and Tramway Unit is now complete.

“Enhancements to the ride’s vehicles were made, as well as signs and audio prompts for patron safety,” the agency said in an email to the Union-Tribune. “Changes were also made to SeaWorld’s operating procedures and instructional videos.”

When Cal/OSHA investigates a theme park incident, the process typically involves “site inspections, review of documentation, engineering analysis, consultation with the manufacturer and interviews,” it said last month.

Over the years, there have been a variety of Electric Eel ride injuries reported to the agency, among them a dislocated knee, shoulder and neck pain, cuts on the forehead, and a ruptured breast implant.

Electric Eel is described on SeaWorld’s site as “853 feet of pure excitement,” during which riders will experience a drop from a height of 150 feet while the coaster trains surge forward and backward through looping twists and an inverted roll.

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