24 people rescued from roller coaster at California's Great America theme park

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

24 people had to be rescued by fire fighters after a mechanical fault caused a roller coaster to stop mid journey at the California's Great America theme park in Santa Clara, California, United States.

Invertigo roller coaster at the California's Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, California
Image: Enoch Lai.

The Invertigo roller coaster malfunctioned at around 12:15 p.m. (PDT) leaving some riders stranded as high as 80 ft from the ground. The ride was stuck for several hours, and the last passenger reached the ground at 5:45 p.m.. None of the riders were injured during the incident.

"...it took at least an hour to get the first person off the ride."

—Fire captain Scott Kouns

The theme park released a statement saying that the cause of the fault was a faulty lift chain. They added that getting the ride fixed was "priority number two while the passengers safety was the number one priority."

One of the stuck passengers was Shannon Brown who said "there was a lot of noise, parts went flying. A big, heavy piece of metal went flying. It gave a pretty rough stop -- knocked my glasses off."

Passengers were given water as they waited in 90(F)-degree heat. Fire captain Scott Kouns said, "It was a hot day in the Santa Clara with temperatures in the 90s. Any length of time trapped on a roller coaster would be uncomfortable, to say the least, and it took at least an hour to get the first person off the ride."

After the riders were rescued, the theme park offered complimentary soft drinks and pizza.