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State cites theme park in vet’s coaster death

BUFFALO — New York state officials have issued two violations to an upstate theme park where an amputee Iraq war veteran fell to his death from a roller coaster.

The Labor Department found James Hackemer’s death at Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort was the result of operator error.

Investigators cited the amusement park, located between Buffalo and Rochester, for not properly training the ride’s operators on the safety and operations restrictions and said operators were unfamiliar with the coaster’s safety requirements.

The ride has been closed since July 8, when Hackemer, who lost both his legs to a roadside bomb in 2008, came out of his seat near the end of the ride and was thrown to his death.

Darien Lake didn’t immediately respond to telephone and emailed requests for comment.