A worst-nightmare scenario played out at an amusement park in Merseyside, England on Saturday. Families with children were dangling in terror for 90 minutes after a rollercoaster at the Southport, Pleasureland park broke down. One girl was left unconscious, and parents were clinging to their kids while waiting to be evacuated.
The coaster, named “The Rocket,” shut down mid-curve with 19 people aboard. They were suspended about 20 feet above the ground at a steep angle. Photos clearly show the terrified passengers clinging for dear life.
It was one of several breakdowns and evacuations that occurred in the park that day.
Eyewitness Michael Bowman told The Mirror that he sensed something wasn’t right as he was walking towards The Rocket with his child. He saw a cherry picker (hydraulic crane) headed towards the rollercoaster and then asked his kid if he wanted to ride something else.
“We walked towards The Rocket and I thought something’s not right there,” he said. “All of a sudden a cherry picker came past us and all staff were guiding people out the way.
“We looked up and said ‘Oh my God, it’s stuck all the way round’. You could see that it was on an angle and they were all leaning.
Parents Held Their Kids As They Were Leaning Off
“The parents had hold of the children because they were leaning out of the carriage on the bend.
“People were just stood watching in shock.
“We know that a young girl had passed out and the father was trying to climb over the barrier out of the ride to get to his daughter.
“You could see the worry in the father’s face.
“The ambulance was on its way at that point. They must have been up there a good hour and a half.”
After that, rides kept breaking down. Bowman decided he didn’t feel safe at Pleasureland and asked for a refund, but as of Sunday was still waiting for it to be issued.
A spokesperson for Pleasureland issued the following statement:
“We are sorry for the distress caused to passengers on one of our coasters yesterday. Our immediate priority was looking after everyone’s safe removal from the ride.
“Senior management and maintenance team members are today continuing a thorough investigation into carriages stopping on the park’s Rocket Coaster yesterday morning. All routine maintenance checks had been carried out, as they are on all rides each morning, before the ride went into commission.
“The ride did exactly what its safety settings are programmed to do and stopped on detecting a fault. It was the first run of the day and the ride, which has a 22-person capacity, was loaded with 19 riders.
“No one was at any risk of falling from the ride…
“At the same time, the maintenance crew was further immobilising carriages to ensure passengers’ safe exit from the ride via one of the park’s cherry pickers. A young girl who had lost consciousness was the team’s priority, and immediately checked by ambulance paramedics.
“That first-response healthcare team was available to other passengers. On seeing how the park was handling the situation and safely retrieving passengers, the fire brigade commended the team, took no action and left the scene.
“…Once again we apologise to our passengers.”Pleasureland Spokesperson, via The Mirror