Thursday, January 10, 2008

Six Hurt In South Carolina Carriage Accident

Horse Spooks, Carriage Overturns, 6 of 13 Passengers Injured
A spooked carriage horse slipped its bridle and bolted down a street in the historic district of Charleston, S.C., and 6 of 13 passengers were injured when the carriage overturned. All were treated at a local hospital and released. (The horse's condition was not clear from initial news reports. A photograph of the crash site showed the horse standing.)

The accident happened Wednesday afternoon on the historic South Battery. The carriage driver told police that the horse tried to turn a corner and the carriage hit the curb, sending the carriage several feet into the air before crashing. The impact threw the tourists onto the street and the carriage came to rest on one of them, police said.

Witnesses said it was not clear what spooked the horse. "The horse just kicked up and took off," said Renee Gerken, a local resident.

Read the story in the Post and Courier (January 10, 2008)

Although tour operators described this as a "freak accident," a strong evidence base shows that the probability of this type of accident is very predictable. "It's just not good publicity," another tour operator is quoted by the Post and Courier as saying. Still another said the animals "are very well trained." All of this is fully irrelevant with respect to the probability that a carriage horse working in traffic will become spooked, which usually results in injuries.

This is not the first horse-drawn carriage accident in Charleston. Three tourists were injured in 2001 when two carriages collided, apparently after the horses were spooked at a noisy hotel construction site. In 2000, a mule pulling a carriage got spooked by a bicycle and crashed a truck; the animal and the seven people aboard escaped injury. A two-carriage collision in 2000 injured two passengers. In 1996, a horse spooked by hedge trimmers took off in traffic and ran through intersections before jumping a curb; four tourists were injured.

1 comment:

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