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Knott's ride WindSeeker breaks down, leaves riders stranded

September 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Twenty people were lowered to safety after being stranded hundreds of feet above the ground for hours Wednesday when the Knott's Berry Farm ride they were on apparently malfunctioned.

WindSeeker, a 32 two-person-gondola attraction that ascends to a height of 301 feet, stopped swinging mid-ride at about 4 p.m. when the safety security system activated, Knott's said in a statement. It was not clear what triggered the safety mechanism.

The ride was lowered and riders were safely deposited on the ground by about 7:50 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the amusement park said no medical emergencies were reported.

The park closed at 6 p.m. Loved ones began to show up for the stranded passengers.

"It was quite an experience," said Donna Garrison, one of the riders who was visiting from Baltimore, Maryland. "The first half an hour was pretty rough on me. I have a fear of heights. I was on it because my husband wanted to train me to get over my fear of heights. By the end, I was."

The same attraction broke down Sept. 7, leaving riders stuck for several hours.

The Orange County Fire Authority said they had not been called about the matter Wednesday. They had not been called when the ride malfunctioned the first time in September.

WindSeeker opened to the public Aug. 24. Its metal arms swings riders for 60-seconds at a 45 degree angle at a speed of eight rotations per minute, according to Knott's website.

"Safety is Knott's number one priority and we are committed to the protection of all our guests," Knott's said in a statement. "Each of our rides is inspected, check-listed and properly maintained daily. Knott's will continue to consistently monitor and inspect the rides and operation thereof."

The attraction will stay closed while Knott's investigates the cause of the incident.


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