Riders stuck on Dorney Park roller coaster for 90 minutes

Man recounts ordeal of being stuck on roller coaster

Published: Jun 06 2012 03:06:09 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 07 2012 10:32:29 AM EDT
The Stinger
SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

It wasn't the ride some Dorney Park visitors were expecting Wednesday afternoon.

Riders were trapped in their seats for 90 minutes after the park's newest roller coaster got stuck.

The "Stinger" was completely full when it got stuck Wednesday. Riders were higher than 120 feet in the air for about an hour and a half. And we're learning this isn't the first time folks have been trapped on the new attraction.

Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dorney's newest roller coaster, the 'Stinger,' had just started moving again. This after riders were trapped dangling in their seats for about an hour and a half.

"The riders all got off the ride in the station where we would want them to get off," explained Jason McClure, Dorney's vice president. "Nobody had any injuries, everybody was fine."

He said the coaster malfunctioned shortly after it exited the station, stranding 28 passengers higher than 120 feet in the air.

"Some people were facing down, some people were facing up," said McClure.

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Were you stuck on the Stinger? Call 610-791-1111 or email news@wfmz.com.

For 90 minutes, riders were trapped in their seats. Staff had to manually release the roller coaster train and lower it back into the station.

Officials said an equipment malfunction caused the ride to break down.

"The ride has a number of safety mechanisms in it and if a safety mechanism detects something it will stop the ride, and when that happens we have to go back and clear it," said McClure.

But we're learning this isn't the first time this coaster has gotten stuck on the tracks.

Video posted on YouTube clearly shows passengers stranded on the ride during the park's opening weekend in April. We're told It happened again at the end of May, and so far twice in June. That's four times that we know of that this ride has broken down in less than six weeks.

"You're hanging there with that harness, hanging, hoping that they don't throw the wrong switch and the harness open up," said Ray Reichardt.

He and his family were scared and stuck on the ride for 30 minutes this past Sunday.

"I was hanging down and my face and my hands got numb after about a half an hour," said Reichardt.

But officials said getting stuck on coasters is normal.

"The only thing unusual about this was the length of time involved," said McClure.

The 'Stinger' was closed for the rest of the day Wednesday so staff could run tests, but they expected it to be back open Thursday morning. They said they don't anticipate this happening again, and the ride is safe.

We've also learned this ride has a sticky past. The inverted coaster was acquired from Great America park in California. There it was known as 'Invertigo' and in 2009 24 passengers were stuck for about three hours after a mechanical failure.

Dorney officials said Wednesday's incident was "completely different" than what happened in California.