Although I hadn’t planned on visiting Kings Island again this year, when the park announced the impending demise of Firehawk I decided to go back for last rides/rites. This was on October 27, the next to last day of the coaster’s operation. I did manage to get three nearly consecutive rides thanks to Fast Lane Plus. And while I can’t say that Firehawk was the most comfortable thing to ride, I liked it because it was unconventional and one of a very limited edition. I really enjoy the lie to fly elements, the fly to lie not so much.
I was going to call it a day but after a couple of amazing night rides on The Beast I decided to grab one more ride on Firehawk. Huge mistake. This was at approximately 10:10 pm; I was mindful of the time because the plan was to reride Firehawk, catch a 3rd ride on Banshee, have a beer and leave the park by 11:00pm. To say that things did not go according to plan is an understatement. Partway up the lift hill the train got stuck and remained stuck. A ride op came up and said that they would attempt to move the train forward and if that failed we would have to be evacuated. He said that we would not be able to walk off, something to do with the steps. This dragged on and on. Nothing like being trapped indefinitely on a lift hill lying down and heavily restrained, knees at a higher elevation than head, with nothing to look at except the track above me unless I turned my head so that I could see the taller structures in the park. Plus it was cold. (Fortunately the rain had stopped.) At one point, with considerable difficulty, I managed to reach under the restraints and extract my phone from a zipper pocket to snap a selfie – and let me tell you, I looked worse than the scare actors I’d been dodging all evening. Anyway, were it not for this ride op who asked how I liked Mystic Timbers and entered into a dialogue about coasters I probably would have gone bonkers. He finally announced that we would have to be evacuated.
Well, I’d never been evacuated from a roller coaster and was pretty apprehensive as to how they’d accomplish this. It was a considerable time later that the rescue crew began to evacuate us. I told the guys who were helping me off that I was 67 years old and somewhat unsteady on my feet so it might take a little longer than with the younger people. I had to climb over the three seats to my right, terrified of losing my balance, and transition to a ladder, then climb down the ladder. I finally got off altogether at about 11:45 pm. What an ordeal! I would have liked to watch the remainder of the rescue operation except that my inclination was to get the hell away from Firehawk, besides which the park was going to stop selling alcohol in 15 minutes and after that ordeal, man did I need a drink!
I may or may not have been one of the last riders. Downloaded the KI app to see whether they were operating Firehawk a day later but you can’t see wait times or closings unless you’re in the park, which kind of defeats the purpose. Another website posted a wait time of 90 minutes for Firehawk as of 5:25pm today so maybe they finally got the yellow train off the lift and were running the red train or both. Whatever, what happened last night undoubtedly helped to reinforce the park’s conviction that Firehawk has reached the end of its service life. And if nothing else, this incident made for a very memorable visit.
I once watched two maintenance men lift up a fully reclined Flying Dutchman car in the station. This model did some silly things in the station over time.
One of my coaster enthusiast buddies sent me an IM from the park on Sunday saying that he was about to ride it. He mentioned that it was closed most of the day because it was evacuated Saturday night. He said that "everyone's trying to get on" because it was the last day.
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