Teens rescued from high stop on Six Flags Over Texas' Joker roller coaster

Posted Monday, May 22, 2017 9:20 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A roller coaster at Six Flags over Texas has been reopened after eight teenage passengers became stuck Friday night for more than three hours and were rescued early Saturday. Stiff winds triggered a safety stoppage on The Joker, the park's newest thrill ride, Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker said.

Read more from The Dallas Morning News.

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Monday, May 22, 2017 9:21 AM
Jeff's avatar

That doesn't look like a system induced stop, as there are no brakes or evac catwalks there.


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Monday, May 22, 2017 12:46 PM

That's a weird spot for a coaster to valley. I don't know much about this ride, but it seems strange that wind would stop it there as well.

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Monday, May 22, 2017 2:02 PM

I live 15 minutes north of the park and the wind was howling around that time. Thunderstorms moving in were starting to fall apart and all of that dissipating energy was generating gusty, unpredictable winds out of the west. The train coming off of the lift to the first vertical drop was going straight into that wind.


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Monday, May 22, 2017 4:31 PM

I'm usually all for the amusement parks to explain to the media that a lift stop or whatnot is caused by a safety system. But this doesn't seem to be caused by a safety system.

That said, the riders were in no danger. Just a large inconvenience.


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Monday, May 22, 2017 4:38 PM

GigaG said:
That said, the riders were in no danger. Just a large inconvenience.

I thought that the article title was editorializing, but if you read carefully the article implies that the riders were stuck on top of the ride in the midst of a severe storm. The ride wasn't going to kill those kids but sitting prone on a giant lightning rod in an area known for hail could have.

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Monday, May 22, 2017 4:58 PM
Jeff's avatar

They weren't in any immediate danger, but having to harness up and climb down a ladder from that height isn't something I would describe as risk-free. The "I thought we were going to die" thing was silly, sure, but that's not the kind of evac I would be eager to do.


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Monday, May 22, 2017 5:49 PM
Fun's avatar

A system stop could still contribute to this result. If the car was cresting as the chain stopped, the car maintains enough momentum to barely clear and disengage from the lift.

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Monday, May 22, 2017 9:16 PM

PhantomTails said:

GigaG said:
That said, the riders were in no danger. Just a large inconvenience.

I thought that the article title was editorializing, but if you read carefully the article implies that the riders were stuck on top of the ride in the midst of a severe storm. The ride wasn't going to kill those kids but sitting prone on a giant lightning rod in an area known for hail could have.

Good point.


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Monday, May 22, 2017 10:10 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Fun said:

A system stop could still contribute to this result. If the car was cresting as the chain stopped, the car maintains enough momentum to barely clear and disengage from the lift.

I assume that all chain driven rides are designed to be able to finish the course from a standstill. If the ride requires additional speed from the chain to finish the course, semi-routine maintenance or ride stops will result in valleys more than a tolerable amount (which is 0).

I've always wondered how Hulk would do it if it didn't get a full power launch for some reason and barely made it over the zero-g roll.

Also, if wind is going to be a problem for this ride, it's not going to be open that often. The oil derrick is only open about 50% of the time due to weather conditions or wind.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, May 22, 2017 10:11 PM

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Monday, May 22, 2017 10:17 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yeah, barring mechanical failure of the train, I don't think there's any reasonable explanation other than running it in high winds. I'm sure they won't make that mistake again.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, May 22, 2017 10:39 PM

A few weekends ago while watching The Joker test at Six Flags Great America I was wondering if these rides would have a problem and valley in that spot. The ride was just barely making it over that hill. So it doesn't surprise me to see this especially if it was operating in strong winds.

They might want to think about adding a evacuation platform to these rides, as I can see this being a constant problem in the future.

At Great America I have seen Demon, Raging Bull, Deja Vu, Goliath and Eagle all valley in cold or windy weather usually that is when they are running empty though early in the morning.

Last edited by CoasterDude316, Monday, May 22, 2017 10:44 PM
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:34 AM
Jeff's avatar

This statement refers to the ride stopping in a "safe location" as if by design. Sorry, but if you need to get people down with a fire truck, that's not a safe location, and there's no universe where a ride system would intentionally stop people in that spot. The presence of wind doesn't make stopping there a reprieve from danger... finishing the course is the only safe action.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017 8:24 PM
bjames's avatar

Jeff said:

They weren't in any immediate danger

Jeff, I'm sorry, but you're not making much sense in this thread. Story says they were in a lightning storm, being stuck up that high is most certainly immediate danger.

At the same time, it appears the last car is still on the lift chain. It would make perfect sense that a safety system for the ride would halt the lift chain if its sensors went off, thus holding the entire vehicle in that place. It's just unfortunate that that seemed to happen at the top of the ride. And during a storm. I'm not saying it's a well designed system, by any means, but it makes sense.

You're the voice of reason at least half the time man, but this isn't one of those times.


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017 9:07 PM

They were actually on the far end of the ride away from the lift chain.

I have wondered about all these new vertical lift roller coasters and how evacuations work when they do have trouble with the lift.


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017 9:45 PM
Jeff's avatar

I'm making perfect sense, even if you pick a phrase out of context. They were not in a lightning storm, it was windy. They wouldn't run the ride in a lightning storm. Judging by the video, they didn't even get wet.

The only risk was having to evacuate them from that height on to a ladder.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017 7:40 AM

SF closed all the free flys on Saturday according to the supervisor on the joker at sfne. It did open on Sunday.


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Wednesday, May 24, 2017 9:28 AM
Carrie J.'s avatar

I think waiting 25 minutes to communicate with the riders is unacceptable. I'm sure it's not easy to communicate from where they were, but come on. Grab a bullhorn or something and make sure they know you've got them and that help is on its way.


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Wednesday, May 24, 2017 12:00 PM

Yeah, I am surprised it took that long to communicate with them. But them saying We thought no one knew we were there is just way over stating it.


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Monday, May 29, 2017 9:42 PM
Pete's avatar

The "25 minutes" statement came from Chaney, one of the riders. I doubt it is accurate. He also said they were yelling, trying to get someone's attention because he didn't think anyone knew they were up there. Not really rational. As for communicating immediately, there is not a catwalk there for a ride op to walk on the go to the riders and I doubt that part of the ride has speakers. I tend to give Six Flags the benefit of doubt in this instance that they did handle things correctly.


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