Army amputee thrown from NY roller coaster, dies

July 8, 2011 - 11:44 PM

DARIEN, N.Y. (AP) — A U.S. Army veteran who lost his legs while deployed in Iraq has been thrown from a tall roller coaster at a theme park in upstate New York and has died.

The Genesse (JEN'-uh-see) County sheriff's office says 29-year-old Gowanda (goh-WAHN'-duh) resident James Thomas Hackemer was ejected Friday from the Ride of Steel roller coaster at the Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, located between Buffalo and Rochester.

The park's website describes the Ride of Steel as one of the tallest coasters east of the Mississippi River, climbing more than 200 feet and reaching speeds in excess of 70 mph.

A park spokeswoman says the roller coaster and the surrounding area were closed after the man's death. She says local authorities and the park's safety experts are investigating.