Great America Invertigo strands riders for four hours

Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:01 AM | Contributed by Walk

California Great America's Invertigo roller coaster, which ordinarily specializes in turning people upside down, instead got stuck on the tracks, stranding two dozen people for an afternoon just as they began the adrenaline-filled ascent to the top of the popular ride. The coaster stopped around 1 p.m., leaving the riders strapped in their seats, legs dangling in the air while firefighters hoisted basket-topped ladders to retrieve them one by one. It took more than four hours in 95 degree heat before the last relieved patron reached the ground.

Read more from The Mercury News.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:20 AM

What could possibly be good about closing other rides? Instead of 24 people being pissed off, that pisses off thousands.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:46 AM

So lets turn a minor PR nightmare into a Major one. What are these people at CF thinking?

I would have been pissed if they told me I had to leave the park because they didn't want me to see them taking people off the ride.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:06 AM

Looks like they need Kumbak Coasters to refit the ride with an evac platform. I am not sure what is worse, sitting all afternoon in the heat on the lift hill, or that Continental flight that kept people on the plane for 12 hours this week.

As for shutting down the other rides, what gives? Nothing is secret in California. There are ways to bring that train into the station, though I guess they lost that section of the manual.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:32 AM

Maybe the manual states to evacuate the train first, then bring the train back to the station?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:38 AM

Not sure why they would need to close other rides unless they were concerened about safety of guests when they had to role the firetrucks into the park. I don't know that park well in terms of their midway layout.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:54 AM

I have a feeling the trucks were in the park before the cleared it out. And for why the whole park was closed maybe what ever effected this ride effected the whole park.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:31 PM

It is possible to lower the train back to the station as it had been done once before, as stated in the news piece:

In 2000, the roller coaster encountered a shutdown very similar to Monday's unwelcome mishap when 25 people were left dangling in their seats for about half an hour, none of them injured. That was a less dramatic rescue, however, as park officials were able to back the coaster down to the starting platform.

Last edited by Mamoosh, Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:32 PM
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:44 PM

...And if they can't lower the train, then operate the mechanism that disengages the train and let it drop into the brakes. If that won't work, go to the top of the lift with a BFH and apply a little deadly force to the mechanism to get it to drop the train into the brakes.

Unless the train itself was physically jammed on the lift, there's no reason they couldn't have come up with some way to drop the train. And closing all the other rides in the park just to keep people from gawking at the rescue efforts (which, as noted, should not have been happening in the first place).

So who called the fire department? Or, as Agent Johnson suggested, did they lose that part of the manual?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 1:01 PM

They must have had a good reason to perform such a dangerous and lengthy evacuation.

Anyway, they should have roped off the area and charged for VIP viewing of the procedure. Coney Island style. ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 2:06 PM

Not necessarily. There was an incident some years ago at Another Park where they had a serious failure of the lift system on a Vekoma Hang 'N Bang. The park was preparing to initiate their evacuation procedure, which would have taken about 30 minutes, when the fire department showed up, spent two hours evaluating the situation and ended up doing exactly the same thing that the park would have done. Nobody ever admitted to calling the fire department.

I like the idea of selling tickets to the evacuation show, though. Except that would give them reason to shut down the high rides.

Here's a related thought...
By shutting down the high rides, was the park actually driving people to the incident scene? After all, they had nothing better to do...!

When I visited that park, the Invertigo was one of the rides I skipped, as my time was limited and I *really* wanted to get to Gilroy Gardens. If I remember correctly, though, it's located on the right-hand side of the park, near the Demon and the Worst Bayern Kurve I have ever ridden. That puts it near the Psycho Mouse (down mechanical when I visited).

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 2:43 PM

Back in Oct 2007 when Two Face shut down at SFA (a nearly identical ride) it was stuck in the same position, at the top of the lift. They lowered the train into the station by releasing the cable winch. the train picked up speed slightly as it coasted into the station and then was jolted to a stop as it hit the brakes. When that happened a hydrulic line ruptured and some riders were sprade with fluid. No one serioulsy injured, but all in all, that turned out to be a PR nightmare and Two face never reopened at SFA and was removed prior to the 2009 season.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 3:26 PM

Being released to coast back to the station would have been more thrilling
than the ride itself. But would stink to be facing backwards when the train caught the brakes!

Cedar Fair could have made a killing selling $10 tickets to the viewing of the Millennium Force "catch car" repair. I would have paid it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:20 PM

With cell phones these days, I could see a stuck geust panicking and calling 911 even if the park says the situation is under control. Perhaps they'll have to ammend their downtime spiel with, "... and please don't call 911!" ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:53 PM

I think the 49ers had something to do with it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:38 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
I think the 49ers had something to do with it.

That was my first thought lolz

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:24 AM

I agree with Janfrederick. I can see someone thinking that things weren't moving fast enough for their liking and calling 911.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 10:14 AM

There is a new story about this in the San Jose Mercury News.

CalDOSH, the AHJ in this case, is saying that there will be an investigation expected to take two months. This suggests to me that the failure is not obvious, and increases the likelihood that the high angle rescue was, in fact, necessary.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 7:41 PM

Maybe, but the reputation of the person who is charge of the Northern CA office of DOSH would lead me to believe otherwise.


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