Published June 11, 2007
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A power outage left a dozen riders on an amusement park roller coaster suspended upside down while firefighters and workers scrambled to rescue them.
A fuse blew out at Magic Springs & Crystal Falls bringing several rides to a halt Saturday evening.
On the X-Coaster, 12 riders waited upside down at the highest point, 150 feet in the air, before they were returned safely to the ground. The X-Coaster's two cars were at the peak of a giant loop.
The Hot Springs Fire Department used a ladder truck to rescue the riders, and spectators cheered when riders reached the ground. One rider threw up after coming down.
Amusement park spokeswoman Aundrea Crary said the rescue took about 30 minutes and emergency medical personnel examined all the roller-coaster riders after they came down.
"You could tell who got off the (X-Coaster) because their faces were red," said Angela Salter, who was riding the Gauntlet and said park employees worked quickly to free her.
The park resumed normal operations, although the roller coaster remained closed.
Jay Plummer, 37, was on the ride with his girlfriend, Connie McBride, 47, his son, Jack, 14, and Jack's friend, Cody Brooks, 13.
After making it back down, Plummer threw up and complained of neck pain and a headache. He was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Medical Center in Hot Springs.
"It was very scary," McBride said, walking out of the park on the way to the hospital to be with Plummer. "I love the amusement park, but I will never get on the X-Coaster again."
Kelli Bratton, 18, of Magnet Cove was on the roller coaster with a friend. Bratton said they were scared at first, but "after the first couple minutes we were like whatever happens, happens."
Dan Aylward, Magic Springs president and general manager, said the theme park has experienced outages in the past, but usually they last only seconds. Entergy Corp. is investigating the cause of the outage near the park. Crews could find no faulty wiring.
"The cause could be a limb or as simple as an animal (on the lines)," said Mark Hunt, general manager of customer service for Entergy. "We could find no faults, but we are going to continue to investigate until we find the cause."