Twenty riders expecting a short thrill were
left dangling at 300 feet for nearly four hours when the Windseeker ride
at Southern California's Knott's Berry Farm amusement park stalled.
Knott's said in a statement that the ride,
which lifts fun-seekers high over the park with their legs dangling and
spins them in a circle, came to a stop when its security system
activated at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.
"They didn't tell me that in the brochure,"
said Jimmy Garrison, a tourist from Baltimore who was stuck on the ride
as he left the park hours later with a souvenir T-shirt that read "I
TV cameras showed riders sitting calmly as they dangled and the sun set, some casually swinging their legs.
"They were on the PA system and they were
telling us 'be patient with us,' and that sort of thing," Garrison told
KTTV-TV. "I was looking over at the steel cables, they're about that
thick,' he said, holding his thumb and forefinger several inches apart,
"there's a whole bunch of them so I know you can't fall."
Garrison's wife Donna said her husband kept her from having a totally traumatic experience.
"I have a fear of heights so that first
half-hour was a little bit daunting," she said. "But he's a great coach.
He talked me through it."
Maintenance workers brought all the riders
safely to the ground between 7:30 and 8, long after the park had closed
and night had fallen.
Knott's says the ride, which also left riders hanging on Sept. 7, will remain closed while the cause is investigated.
Donna Garrison said she and her husband were
returning to the park on Friday. Asked if she'd try out the Windseeker
again, she replied "Oh, no, no no."