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  • thewoltersfamily
    It was a roller coaster ride that turned into a nightmare for 12 people in Hot Springs. It happened on the X Coaster Saturday afternoon at Magic Springs. A
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2007
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      It was a roller coaster ride that turned into a nightmare for 12
      people in Hot Springs. It happened on the X Coaster Saturday
      afternoon at Magic Springs. A power outage left riders hanging upside
      down, 150 feet off the ground, for more than half an hour.

      On Monday, you'd never know anything ever went wrong on the X
      Coaster. Everything seemed back to normal and there were plenty of
      riders back on the world's highest inverted ride, but park managers
      admit Saturday's incident made for some very tense moments.

      As if roller coaster weren't scary enough, imagine a ride supposed to
      last less than two minutes, turning into 30 minutes suspended in the
      air, upside down 150 feet from the ground.

      "I'm so glad I wasn't on that ride," says Magic Springs season pass
      holder Candyce Putman.

      Saturday's X Coaster incident doesn't have Putman demanding her money
      back but it does make her hesitant to hop on the large roller
      coasters.

      "It's terrifying," says Putman. "I couldn't imagine knowing my son or
      any of my children were up there hanging upside down."

      For other visitors the incident, even seeing the heart stopping
      photos, hardly fazed them.

      John King visiting from Shreveport, La., says, "These things happen.
      It's understandable. It's manmade machines and it's going to be
      manmade mistakes and it's just unavoidable. Sometimes these things
      just happen."

      The story has amusement park lovers all over the country taking
      notice.

      On "Live with Regis & Kelly" Monday morning, fill-in host George
      Lopez showed a picture of the riders hanging upside down.

      Lopez said, "The power went out in Arkansas. Who would have thought?"
      Kelly Rippa replied, "And they're handing upside down for 30 minutes,
      can you imagine?"

      Magic Springs President and General Manager Dan Aylward says, "It
      certainly is something that's unusual and that's why it's generating
      interest."

      Aylward admits the off-site electrical problem that led to the power
      outage and the stopped ride was unfortunate and terrifying for those
      12 riders that were stuck.

      "It has a very secure restraint system on it, but, you know, you
      always worry about anybody that upside down anytime," says Aylward.

      A backup generator ultimately got the riders down safely, but Aylward
      says park employees and emergency crews were ready for anything.

      "We're very prepared and we train our people to take care of almost
      any circumstance that can arise," he says.

      Aylward says the day after photos of the incident were shown all over
      the country, attendance was actually up over last year at the same
      time.

      "And I think that's just testament of the confidence people have in
      the park and the safety record we've had over the years," says
      Aylward.

      Only one of the 12 riders was taken to the hospital just as a
      precaution. We spoke to that rider Jay Plummer, 37, who was in
      Fayetteville on Monday.

      Plummer says he and his family are still trying to get over the whole
      ordeal, but he's feeling OK and says the staff at Magic Springs did
      an excellent job of keeping everyone calm and couldn't have handled
      the incident better. In fact, he says he'll probably go back to Magic
      Springs and might even get back on the X Coaster.

      Entergy says the outage was due to an offsite problem. An animal
      apparently gnawed between an insulator and a lightning arrestor,
      leaving exposed wires.

      That problem has now been corrected. Aylward says the park has never
      experienced a lengthy power outage before.
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