More On X-Coaster
- 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
"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
The story has amusement park lovers all over the country taking
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
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
"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
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.