Ride headed to Worlds of Fun reportedly malfunctioned twice in California

The new thrill ride scheduled to debut next year at Worlds of Fun won’t be new at all, according to a published report out of California.

The SteelHawk, which is to open next season in the Americana section of Worlds of Fun, is being moved to Kansas City from a sister amusement park in California, malfunctioned twice last year, leaving riders dangling 300 feet in the air, according to a report in the Orange County Register.

The ride, known as Windseeker at Knott’s Berry Farm, takes people 300 feet in the air and twirls them at up to a 45-degree angle for about 60 seconds. The ride malfunctioned twice in a two-week period last September.

A spokeswoman for Worlds of Fun said Monday she had not yet seen the story from California and was unable to comment on it. Hollye Gurley said the ride was being renamed to fit better with the Worlds of Fun theme. She said it was a safe ride that offered spectacular views and had been extremely popular at other parks.

“Our guests are going to love it,” she said.

According to the Orange County Register report:

The first incident reportedly was due to an electrical relay problem and the second was blamed on a brake malfunction. On both occasions, passengers were stuck 300 feet in the air for several hours until crews used a mechanical crank to lower them. No one was injured.

Following the incidents, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health shut down the ride pending an investigation into technical problems and evacuation procedures. Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., the company that owns Worlds of Fun and Knott’s Berry Farm, voluntarily shut down Windseeker rides at its other parks.

Before the Windseeker opened at Knott’s Berry Farm, California officials had concerns about the ride’s ability to meet basic safety standards, according to a state report.

Earlier this year, officials said mechanics were installing an evacuation system on the Windseeker at Knott’s Berry Farm. A metal cage attached to the ride’s shaft in March would allow riders to be escorted down if malfunctions were to occur. The ride never reopened since the incidents last year.

Leidy Arevalo, a spokeswoman for Knott’s Berry Farm, said it is not uncommon for parks to share rides. “It’s to ensure that we are exceeding our guests’ expectations,” she said.