It’s one spot no amusement park guest wants to end up in: sitting in a roller coaster stalled in the vertical position 17 stories in the air for nearly three hours.
But that’s exactly what happened to a dozen riders, including three children, on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday evening.
A glitch caused the ride to stall at its highest point — 167 feet in the air, WKMG-TV reported, when the computer went into…safety mode.
It took emergency crews nearly three hours to get the roller coaster cars to a horizontal position, remove the riders with harnesses one at a time, and take them back to the ground, according to WFTV-TV. The rescue operation finally ended around 9 p.m.
“Being in that position, not knowing why you’re in that position, you’re going to be a little upset, but our guys were able to talk to them and calm them down,” Orlando Fire Department District Chief Ian Davis told WFTV.
One of the riders was taken to a hospital complaining of neck pain, Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Shroeder said.
Technicians began testing the ride early Thursday and it reopened around 10:30 a.m., according to WKMG.
The roller coaster has a history of trouble that began shortly after it first opened in August 2009. The park said it was closed for maintenance, but WFTV reported the closure came just weeks after the coaster’s manufacturer warned of a flaw — with a part that’s used to keep riders inside the cars.
Additionally, officials say something else happened on the ride Aug. 1 that required them to
stop it. WFTV reported one rider sustained a minor injury as the vehicle was stopped, an official said, adding that she was treated and released back into the park.
Here’s a report on the rescue from WFTV in Orlando: