July 28, 2013

Windseeker malfunctions at Carowinds, strands 64 passengers

Theme park ride strands passengers

CHARLOTTE, NC The WindSeeker ride at Carowinds malfunctioned Sunday, stranding 64 passengers high above the amusement park for more than an hour. The malfunction happened at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday — a year and two weeks after the same ride malfunctioned in the same way.

No one was reported injured, according to a Carowinds spokesperson. The ride malfunction spread quickly over social media, with pictures cropping up on Twitter showing passengers on the immobile ride high in the air, their feet dangling.

“A sensor on WindSeeker was engaged causing the ride’s safety system to activate as the ride began its ascent of the tower,” according to a statement from the spokesperson. “The ride slowly came to a stop.”

On July 14, 2012, the ride’s safety system activated, suspending 25 riders about 30 feet off the ground nearly three hours.

The malfunction caused Cedar Fair, which owns Carowinds, to suspend WindSeeker operations at six locations.

WindSeeker is the tallest ride at Carowinds. On the three minute ride, passengers swing in a circle in chairs attached by metal arms to a rotating support structure. The ride “provides breathtaking aerial views of not only the park, but of the greater Charlotte region,” according to Carowinds’ website.

Cedar Fair operates the WindSeeker at Carowinds, Knotts Berry Farm, Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio, Kings Dominion, outside Richmond, Va., and Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, Canada.

According to Cedar Fair, the WindSeeker’s safety system has activated “on more than one occasion for various reasons at various locations.”

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