Ever wonder what it would feel like to be thrown around in a giant metal bowl with only a few metal bars keeping you from literally flying out of the bowl or bumping face first into other people? If so, all you have to do is take a ride on a Tagada, one of the most dangerous amusement park rides ever invented.
The Tagada may not be as fast or as steep as a roller-coaster, but it is certainly more dangerous. You may scream in terror when riding on a roller-coaster, but deep in your mind you know that you are safely harnessed to your seat and the chances of something going wrong are very small. With the Tagada, on the other hand, the total lack of restraints makes the danger of physical injury very real, but that’s exactly what makes it so popular with thrill seekers.
Photo: YouTube screengrab
The Tagada is made up of a large metallic bowl lined with cushioned seats and metal bars for the riders to try and hold on to as they try to fight the G-force. When the music starts to play, the bowl starts to spin and a human operator begins to operate the hydraulic arms under the ride to bounce it up and down, often synchronizing the bounces with the music. There are no seat-belts, no harnesses, just some metal bars, and if you let go of them, there’s nothing to stop you from bumping into other riders, hitting your head on the metal parts of the ride, or flying out of the bowl completely.
In some countries – like the United States or Australia – the Tagada is considered so dangerous that operating one is banned by law. The ride is very popular in European countries like the UK or Switzerland, but due to a string of serious injuries suffered by Tagada riders in the last decade, the version used these days is heavily tamed, compared to the one seen in Asian countries like South Korea or Myanmar.
According to a letter sent to Tagada operators in Britain, the two major causes of injuries while riding the controversial ride are:
- The person is thrown from their seat into the bed of the machine. They are then unable to control their movements on a fast moving, spinning base and evidence exists that they can then impact parts of the ride or other riders causing injuries to one or both parties…
- Riders are subjected to forces that can cause them to be completely ejected from the ride. This type of accident often results in serious injuries to the rider…
Blogger Waegukin claims that in Korea, for example, the experience of riding a Tagada varies on the speed of the ride and the viciousness of the human operator. They can just spin you around gently, with only a few occasional bounces, or they can bounce you relentlessly for 10 minutes, while you helplessly try to regain your balance and avoid hitting that pretty face of yours.
“I don’t know what regulations apply to Tagada rides in Korea, but from what I’ve seen – not much,” Waegukin says. “Korea is no nanny state. You definitely come out of your seat on Korean tagada rides.”
A video shot at an amusement park in Yangon, Myanmar, also shows a dozen or so riders being thrown around like rag dolls in a Tagada bowl. It’s fun to watch, but terrifying at the same time.