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Riders get scare as coaster breaks down

By Hu Min (Shanghai Daily)

13:47, July 22, 2013

More than 20 thrill seekers were stuck 20 meters above ground for several minutes after one of Happy Valley's most popular roller coasters suddenly stopping running yesterday afternoon in Songjiang District.

The incident happened because the roller coaster's brake sensor system malfunctioned, which generated an alert that shut it down as a protective measure, amusement park officials said yesterday.

The roller coaster reopened at 3:30pm after it was fixed and several trial runs were completed to ensure its safety.

Such sensors were installed on the ride in order to detect safety problems and suspend operations accordingly, the park said.

All 24 people who got stuck for about three minutes were evacuated safely, park officials said.

No injuries were reported but riders were said to have been freaked out by the incident.

The 1,164-meter-long wooden roller coaster, named Fireball, peaks at 33 meters. It was China's first wooden roller coaster.

The coaster only takes one minute and 45 seconds to finish the ride, which features a steep plunge at a 70-degree angle on its initial descent.

The amusement park has been troubled by several roller-coaster failures since its soft-opening in July 2009.

A total of 25 riders were left stuck for about half an hour after Diving Coaster malfunctioned in 2011. The park said the cold weather might have caused a sensor to shut off the power as a safety measure.

It said a sensor device on the coaster broke off by itself, generating a safety alert to suspend the machine from operating automatically.

The Diving Coaster, the park's highest, also broke down in 2010.

In June, more than 30 people were stuck 50 meters above ground for several minutes when "Peak No. 1" roller coaster suddenly stopped running at Jinjiang Amusement Park in Shanghai's Minhang District. No injuries were reported.

Similar accidents occur at amusement parks in other countries.

Last Friday, a woman died riding a roller coaster at a Six Flags amusement park in Texas.

Witnesses said she fell from a ride that is billed as the tallest steel-hybrid roller coaster in the world, according to a report by the Associated Press.

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