Roller Coaster Riders Left Hanging

cell phone pic: Magic Springs X-Coaster, stranded riders, Hot Springs Arkansas, June 10, 2007

A dozen riders on an Arkansas roller coaster spent half an hour hanging upside down — 150 feet above the ground — after a power outage shut down the attraction.

It took about 30 minutes for the city Fire Department to rescue the riders using a ladder truck Saturday evening, said Aundrea Crary, spokeswoman for the Springs & Crystal Falls amusement park.

Spectators cheered when the riders were brought to the ground from the highest point of a loop on the X-Coaster, but one passenger threw up after reaching safety.

The X-Coaster was one of several rides brought to a halt by the outage that originated somewhere near the park.

"You could tell who got off the (X-Coaster) because their faces were red," said Angela Salter. She was riding the Gauntlet, another coaster, and said park employees worked quickly to free her.

The park resumed normal operations, although the X-Coaster remained closed.

One X-Coaster passenger, Jay Plummer, 37, was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Medical Center in Hot Springs after complaining of neck pain and a headache.

"It was very scary," said his girlfriend, Connie McBride. "I love the amusement park, but I will never get on the X-Coaster again."

The park has experienced outages before, but usually they last only seconds, said Dan Aylward, Magic Springs president and general manager.

Entergy Corp. was investigating but crews found no faulty wiring.

"The cause could be a (tree) 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."
  • James Klatell

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