is a Shoot-the-Chutes
style attraction located at Knott's Berry Farm
in Buena Park
The attraction is based on the pleasure piers of the past along Southern California's famed beaches such as Huntington Beach
. 24-passenger boats are towed to a height of 121-feet where a brief U-turn is taken before a world record 115-foot water chute into a 650,000-gallon "splashdown" lagoon.
On the evening of 9/21/2001 at a private event at the park, 40-year old Lori Sue Mason-Larez was thrown from Perilous Plunge when the boat began its descent down the steep water chute. She was treated at the scene and rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. Investigators report that her extreme body size (58 inch waist) and weight (262 pounds) contributed to her fall from the attraction. Perilous Plunge was designed to safely accommodate riders with an average weight of 175 pounds and with a waist measurement of 50 inches, at most.
Perilous Plunge is currently the most technologically advanced ride based on the Shoot-the-Chute concept. It is the world's tallest and steepest water flume ride, with a 115-foot drop at 77.8 degrees (12.2 degrees from a 90 degree vertical drop). Its drop is 34 feet shorter than Niagara Falls at is lowest point. It was the first water-based amusement park ride in the world to utilize an adjustable electromagnetic braking system to control the volume of the splash.
Eventually throughout Plunge's life, its boats were retrofitted with 4 point harnesses. After a period of time, Knott's received two new boats with OTSR (or "horse collar" restraints) installed. These new boats were drastically differently designed and thus created a much smaller splash than the first set of boats. New designs also caused problems with the lift chain. Stress fractures appeared shortly after the arrival of the new boats. The ride was shut down, and a new chain was ordered. This chain did the exact same thing--cracked. Finally the problem was discovered, a new chain was ordered, and as of August 2007, the ride has been operating adequately.