Posted on Jan 12, 2009

Twelve riders of an Arkansas roller coaster took the ride of their lives June 9 but it was one they’d never want to repeat.

Dozen Strapped In, Upside-Down for 30 Minutes

When a power outage near the facility shut down the “X-Coaster” at the Springs & Crystal Falls Amusement Park in Hot Springs during a steamy Saturday of fun, the unlucky dozen dangled upside down for 30 minutes at 150 feet in the air before fire department rescue workers in a ladder truck could reach them, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“You could tell who got off the (X-Coaster) because their faces were red," said Angela Salter, who had been riding another roller coaster, “The Gauntlet,” when that shut down. Park workers freed Salter and others.

An “X-Coaster” passenger, Jay Plummer, 37, was transported to a nearby hospital after he complained of neck pain and a headache. Plummer’s girlfriend, Connie McBride, said she was frightened. “I love the amusement park, but I will never get on the X-Coaster again."

Tree Limb/Animal on Electrical Wires Was Cause

Entergy Corp., the local power company providing electrical service to the amusement park, investigated but found no faulty wiring. "The cause could be a tree limb or an animal," said Mark Hunt, general manager of Entergy customer service. "We found no faults but continue to investigate until we find the cause."

The Arkansas Democrat Newspaper reported the ride reopened after power was restored the next day.

The amusement park is owned by Themeparks, LLC and opened in the late 70s. The “X-Coaster” is one of eight thrill-rides at the park. It is a steel, sit-down coaster which has the highest inversion in the world at 150 feet. It opened in April, 2006 and was built by Maurer Sohne, a steel construction company and roller coaster manufacturer founded in Munich, Germany in 1876.

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Bob Battle
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