Amusement park riders left dangling 300 feet off ground for 4 hours
Published Thursday, September 20, 2012 1:45PM EDT
BUENA PARK, Calif. -- Twenty riders expecting a short thrill were left dangling at 300 feet for nearly four hours when the Windseeker ride at Southern California's Knott's Berry Farm amusement park stalled.
Knott's said in a statement that the ride, which lifts fun-seekers high over the park with their legs dangling and spins them in a circle, came to a stop when its security system activated at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.
"They didn't tell me that in the brochure," said Jimmy Garrison, a tourist from Baltimore who was stuck on the ride as he left the park hours later with a souvenir T-shirt that read "I SURVIVED WINDSEEKER."
TV cameras showed riders sitting calmly as they dangled and the sun set, some casually swinging their legs.
"They were on the PA system and they were telling us 'be patient with us,' and that sort of thing," Garrison told KTTV-TV. "I was looking over at the steel cables, they're about that thick,' he said, holding his thumb and forefinger several inches apart, "there's a whole bunch of them so I know you can't fall."
Garrison's wife Donna said her husband kept her from having a totally traumatic experience.
"I have a fear of heights so that first half-hour was a little bit daunting," she said. "But he's a great coach. He talked me through it."
Maintenance workers brought all the riders safely to the ground between 7:30 and 8, long after the park had closed and night had fallen.
Knott's says the ride, which also left riders hanging on Sept. 7, will remain closed while the cause is investigated.
Donna Garrison said she and her husband were returning to the park on Friday. Asked if she'd try out the Windseeker again, she replied "Oh, no, no no."