MOJAVE DESERT, CA - With no signage, no security features and no responsible corporate entity, Mojave's Abandoned Mine Shaft ride continues its reign as the world's sketchiest roller coaster attraction. The World's Sketchiest Amusement Park Rides Commission (WSAPRC) evaluates and names its recipient based on several criteria including safety record, accessibility, survival rate of passengers and proximity to emergency services.
"Abandoned Mine Shaft was the runaway winner in every category," said WSAPRC chair Evelyn Bosley. "In fact, we are surprised that it remains open. Then again, there's nobody to sue."
The spot was formerly held by the Derail & Flail ride at Defunct Parking StructureWorld in Wilmington, Delaware. That attraction featured a hastily assembled carnival-style ride that would go off the tracks by design, sending passengers off in various directions. Defunct Parking StructureWorld was condemned in 2013 for operating without a proper food vending license.
The very next year, the deserted, crumbling environmental hazard jumped to the first spot. One of the first factors to be considered was whether Abandoned Mine Shaft even counted as a roller coaster. "You have to push your own mine cart to the top of the track if you want to ride," said Bosley. "That knocked off a few points, but the possibility of death or injury during that process balanced it out."
Abandoned Mine Shaft is a uniquely exhilarating ride, according to WSAPRC's report. Tracks end suddenly, cars are in extreme disrepair, ceilings occasionally collapse, poisonous explosive gases gather in pockets, and there are no staff on hand to explain safety procedures before the ride begins. Statistics on injuries and deaths are hard to ascertain, as the park keeps no records of any kind. Based on indirect evidence such as piles of bones and personal effects, the commission was able to determine at least a dozen or so incidents within the past few decades.
On the bright side, there is ample parking on all sides of the park and wait times are notably short. The commission also found no evidence of muggings, which counts against the overall sketchiness factor.
Abandoned Mine Shaft's title might be threatened in the future by the reopening of Lax Regulatory Climate Park in Pericol, New Jersey.