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Ride leaves visitors stranded 300ft up

9:30 AM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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BUENA PARK ( A ride broke down at Knott's Berry Farm Wednesday, the second time in two weeks the attraction has left riders dangling from on high.

Park officials said a security system activated at around 4 p.m., halting the "WindSeeker" halfway up. Twenty riders were told over a loudspeaker that they had to be lifted to the top for crews to eventually bring them back down.

The park visitors were left hanging 300 feet in the air for nearly three hours before they were returned safely to the ground.

Shortly after 7:30 p.m., SKY9 was overhead when the the gondolas were slowly lowered and riders finally stepped off the ride.

There were no reports of injuries.

An 11-year-old girl told KCAL9's Stacey Butler that her knees couldn't stop shaking.

"I'm just happy to be on the ground. I kept imagining that I was going to fall," the girl said.

Jimmy and Donna Garrison, two riders visiting from Maryland, said they chose to get on the WindSeeker to help Donna get over her fear of heights.

"When it stopped, I had a real hard time," Donna Garrison said.

"They were on the loudspeaker and they were telling us, 'Don't worry about anything,' and that they were working on the problem," Jimmy Garrison said.

Park officials said this happened two weeks ago. WindSeeker shut down on Sept. 7 because of an inaccurate reading on an electrical safety switch. They haven't released the cause of Wednesday night's mechanical problem.

The WindSeeker has 32 gondolas that rise up and whirl riders at a 45-degree angle, at eight rotations per minute, according to the Knott's website.

"WindSeeker was designed and manufactured by Mondial, a company based in the Netherlands that has been creating thrill rides for the amusement park industry since 1987. Mondial is known for their innovative and unique rides and maintains the highest standards in regards to quality and safety," the website said.


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