Roller coaster riders left hanging upside down

/ Source: The Associated Press

One of 12 riders suspended upside-down on an amusement park roller coaster for a half-hour while workers scrambled to rescue them says that's the last time she'll get on the ride.

A fuse blew out Saturday evening at Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, bringing several rides to a halt.

The X-Coaster's two cars were at the peak of a loop when the power failed, and a dozen riders waited upside down, 150 feet in the air, before they returned safely to the ground.

Spectators cheered when riders reached the ground after power was restored. One rider threw up after coming down.

Amusement park spokeswoman Aundrea Crary said the rescue took about 30 minutes and emergency medical personnel examined all the roller coaster riders after they came down.

"You could tell who got off the (X-Coaster) because their faces were red," said Angela Salter, who said park employees worked quickly to free her.

The park resumed normal operations, although the roller coaster remained closed Saturday evening. It was reopened for rides on Sunday after an inspection, Magic Springs general manager Dan Aylward said.

Jay Plummer, 37, was on the ride with his girlfriend, Connie McBride, 47, his son, Jack, 14, and Jack's friend Cody Brooks, 13.

After making it back down, Plummer threw up and complained of neck pain and a headache. He was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Medical Center in Hot Springs.

‘It was very scary’
"It was very scary," McBride said, walking out of the park on the way to the hospital to be with Plummer. "I love the amusement park, but I will never get on the X-Coaster again."

Kelli Bratton, 18, of Magnet Cove was on the roller coaster with a friend. Bratton said they were scared at first, but "after the first couple minutes we were like whatever happens, happens."

Aylward said the theme park has experienced outages in the past, but usually they last only seconds. Entergy Corp. is investigating the cause of the outage near the park. Crews could find no faulty wiring.

"The cause could be a limb or as simple as an animal (on the lines)," said Mark Hunt, general manager of customer service for Entergy. "We could find no faults, but we are going to continue to investigate until we find the cause."