Worlds of Fun’s Steelhawk stalls, riders stranded briefly

07/11/2014 10:48 AM

07/11/2014 10:59 AM

The new SteelHawk ride at World’s of Fun stalled about 15 feet off the ground Thursday night for about 10 minutes, a park official said.

The ride was going up about 10:30 p.m. when a safety sensor engaged, said Worlds of Fun public relations manager Rachael Murie.

“The sensor just engaged,” she said.

Riders were stuck in their seats for about 10 minutes while the ride’s operator contacted a maintenance worker to come and lower the carousel, she said.

The ride was in full operation Friday morning, Murie said.

The ride, which spins people near the top of its 301-foot height, opened earlier this summer.

At its height, the SteelHawk swings people at 27 mph at a 45-degree angle. The stall, however, came early in the ride’s more sedate climb to the top of its tower. Worlds of Fun has said the attraction “provides riders with amazing views of the city and the feeling of free flight.” It’s featured prominently in the amusement park’s promotions for this summer.

The ride first operated under the name of WindSeeker at Knott’s Berry Farm near Los Angeles. Both it and Worlds of Fun are owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.

The WindSeeker broke down twice in 2012, leaving riders aloft for hours.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered the ride to shut down until Cedar Fair installed a number of safety features. Some of those modifications were made, including a metal cage attached to the ride’s column that allows riders to be escorted down if malfunctions occur.

But California regulators also wanted new ladders installed to the inside and outside of the carousel. That would allow employees to climb up the structure while repairing a stalled ride.

Instead of replacing existing ladders or seeking a variance, Cedar Fair moved the ride to Missouri where regulations on ladders are not as strict.

Company officials said at the time that even if they made changes to the ride, they were unsure when a go-head from California regulators would clear its operation.

The three-minute ride features 64 seats. The ride is inspected by the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

Similar rides were introduced by Cedar Fair in 2011 at parks in California, two in Ohio and one in Ontario. Two more opened in North Carolina and in Virginia in 2012.

All the rides have had at least minor problems, although none involving injuries.


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