The "Euthanasia" Roller Coaster: A Ride Designed for Death

October 30, 2015 | Kelly Tatera

Sunset behind a roller coaster
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This killer coaster is designed to provide intense euphoria before taking its passenger’s life.

Lithuanian engineer Julijonas Urbonas, a doctoral candidate in design interactions, has a very unique point of view on death — not only does he believe it should be a choice, but he thinks the process should be euphoric. Everyone has to die at some point, so why not enjoy it?

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Urbonas worked at amusement parks for a few years, which sparked his idea to create an amusement park ride that literally propels people to the end of their lives. The "Euthanasia Coaster" is designed with a giant drop before shooting hypothetical passengers through a series of loops. But how does it kill them? The extreme ride would create intense euphoria before starving the brain of oxygen, ultimately leading to death.

Right now the ride only exists as a scale model, but Urbonas argued that the killer coaster would provide a "humane" death with "elegance and euphoria." Not only would the process of dying be painless, but it would actually be enjoyable — beautiful even, he says. "It would be a meaningful death: For the caller, it is a painless, whole-body engaging and ritualized death machine," says Urbonas.

The hypothetical ride last for three minutes, beginning with a slow trek up to the top of the massive drop, which towers at a height of more than 1,600 feet. The extreme plunge is followed by seven strategically placed loops that continue to exert a gravitational force of 10 Gs on the rider. It’s that sustained force that is lethal. The fall and the loops last for 1 minute, during which time the force pushes the body’s blood down into the legs, depriving the brain of oxygen. As with drowning, the lack of oxygen would cause an extreme sense of euphoria that Urbonas believes would be pleasant. The first two minutes of the three-minute ride are devoted to an extremely slow ride up the drop, and Urbonas designed it this way so the passenger would have time to reflect upon life.

"The rise has a few minutes to contemplate his decision and his life in retrospect," Urbonas told Discovery News. "The slightest movement of the car would trigger intense heart-beating and goosebumps and most importantly it would test your decision. Therefore the top of the tower is an ideal place to give the very last word."

Since euthanasia is a topic of high controversy, Urbonas has received harsh criticism from those working to prevent people from choosing to take their own lives. Ozy reports that Dr. Peter Saunders from Care Not Killing said, “The life of a human being cannot ever be taken ‘humanely with elegance and euphoria, and with this method the last sensation would more probably be one of overwhelming vertigo and fright.”

Urbonas expects these type of reactions, but he tells VICE that he’s also received some pretty bizarre ones. One NASA engineer was so intrigued by Urbonas’ design that he decided to recalculate the physics of the coaster. He found some minor errors in aerodynamics and friction, but interestingly, he discovered that amputees or people with small legs might actually survive the coaster since there would be little or no volume to pool the blood. Urbonas also said he received a request from a potential “self-murderer” who wanted to be the guinea pig if the Euthanasia Coaster was brought to life.

Unsurprisingly, Urbonas’ idea hasn’t received any commercial interest from builders who want to be behind the world’s first Euthanasia Coaster. But the idea behind his roller coaster brainchild is certainly an intriguing one. It brings a whole new meaning to “the ride of a lifetime.”

Urbonas explains his Euthanasia Coaster in this video.

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