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Riders Spent Two Hours Trapped On This Hanging Roller Coaster's Tallest Hill

The only thing more terrifying than being stuck on a roller coaster, is being stuck at the highest part of the ride. And the only thing more terrifying than that is if it happens to be one of those coasters where you’re hanging upside down from a harness, leaving nothing but 98-feet of free-fall space between you and the ground.

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That’s the nightmare that 32 thrill-seeking visitors had to endure yesterday at the Universal Studios Japan theme park, in Osaka. A faulty safety mechanism caused two of the cars on the Jurassic Park-themed Flying Dinosaur ride to come to a sudden stop. One car was already near the boarding station, but the second was just about to go over the first hill—the tallest part of the ride.

I’m only afraid of heights when I don’t feel like I have a secure footing. Skyscrapers don’t bother me, and flying is totally cool, but feeling like I’m dangling 98-feet above the ground? That’s pure nightmare fuel. The location of the breakdown was especially challenging for rescue workers who had to first raise a maintenance platform to safely remove passengers from their harnesses, and then help them precariously climb down the tower’s support structure.

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It took about two hours for everyone to be rescued, and the coaster was repaired, and operating test runs, just two hours after the incident occurred. Although, it’s doubtful that anyone in the park who saw the whole thing go down would be willing to climb aboard again so soon.

[YouTube via SoraNews24]

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DISCUSSION

I worked on coasters at Six Flags for 4 years back in the late 90's. The riders on this ride had nothing to fear (except fear itself). With modern roller coasters there are multiple systems to keep the passengers restrained. I’m not saying that accidents don’t happen (schlitterbahn) but with a well designed, licensed, and maintained ride you’re much safer on the ride than walking to your car in the parking lot.

With respect to getting people off of the ride while on the lift, there’s nothing challenging about that at all. It’s part of the basic training of every employee on the ride. The only danger these people would face with exiting the ride in this fashion would be fatigue from sitting in that position or sun/heat exposure.

Reading the linked story about this coaster only emergency stopping 4 times since 2016 is amazingly good. 2 of the stops are for kids in the ride area and someone holding a phone. The other time the ride shut down was due to a safety sensor tripping.

Coasters shut down all the time and it never becomes a story bigger than a note in the maintenance log.