Cheetah Hunt stalls on hill at Busch Gardens Tampa prompting fire department evacuation

Posted Thursday, February 13, 2014 8:38 AM | Contributed by Bombayeclipse542

Sixteen people aboard the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa became temporarily stuck Wednesday afternoon when the thrill ride stalled on a crest in the tracks shortly after leaving the station. Park personnel tried to nudge the ride free so it would roll back to the platform on its own, but that didn't work. The fire department and a cherry picker were used to evacuate the train.

Read more from The Tampa Bay Times.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:28 PM

I am kind of surprised that they still sent this ride out during a massive thunderstorm. I know Florida parks don't shut things down as quickly for thunderstorms, but a few of my friends said the storm was quite severe. Anyone know what it takes for a Florida park to shut down attractions (especially the coasters, being that they're outside, are taller than many trees and buildings, and are usually METAL)?

Glad to see no one got more than a drenching!

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:30 PM
Jeff's avatar

We weren't there. Perhaps it was fine when it launched. Furthermore, there isn't any indication one way or another that weather was a factor.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014 1:03 PM

Seems like a extremely odd place for a coaster to come to a standstill.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 1:19 PM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I'm a little surprised they weren't able to push the train back. If it had stopped on a sharper crest then they probably would have. Works for Dragster, anyway.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:44 PM

bunky666 said: Anyone know what it takes for a Florida park to shut down attractions

Busch Gardens operates on a green/yellow/red system for flats and tall rides. When there's adverse weather in the area they update all staff over the radios every 15 minutes and change status as necessary - if there wasn't any high winds but just rain, then unless lightning gets within 3 miles or the rain turns torrential the tall rides remain open. The moment the wind kicks up a notch anything over 100ft gets shut, and then all rides stop if lightning is in the area.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 7:54 PM
Pete's avatar

Must be something with a wheel assembly that jammed the train. Going by the pictures, no way would that train stop in the position it did if all the wheels were rolling freely.

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:22 PM

Sure it can... Look at Dragster the two times (or more) it stopped at the apex.

Cheetah Hunt's first turn is really drawn out and slow. By stopping where it did, I am sure it is not nearly as easy as pushing Dragster one way or another... The overall "apex" of that turn is more gradual and would require more force to get it moving. Not to mention on Dragster, all the weight is on the road wheels alone when stuck at the top. Cheetah Hunt would have the guide and road wheels (and maybe the upstops a bit) all applying some force. I would guesstimate that there was more restrictive friction working against them from pushing it.

Friday, February 14, 2014 10:49 AM
rollergator's avatar

The most likely guess I've seen is an axle problem, something that would prevent the train from moving at all, since they apparently DID try to push it to flat level track for safer evacuation - and the train wouldn't budge.

Saturday, February 15, 2014 11:01 AM

Has to be something jammed. If it had been a Dragster-style stall, it could have been nudged. The only thing that has to happen is to get the center of mass past the top of the hill, the more gradual hill profile would not have made that any harder, in fact it would probably make it easier.

As for the weather, thunderstorms make for rapidly changing conditions, and in Florida they are a regular occurrence. If the ride shut down because a storm was half an hour away and heading for the park, the rides would never run. Storm tracking can be pretty precise, so they have a good idea how much time they have before the storm presents a hazardous condition, they have lightning prediction systems that can determine the risk of a lightning strike in the area, and they know how long it takes to shut down the ride...assuming the train doesn't get jammed up on the course somewhere. My guess is that the ride was well in the clear when the train was dispatched, but as noted, if the train doesn't make it all the way around the course, it kind of messes up the shutdown timing...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____


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