BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Shocking pictures show a major glitch that brought a Six Flags roller coaster to a sudden stop.
Six weeks after a sudden shutdown, trapped riders on a Six Flags roller coaster, inspectors are naming the cause.
Dramatic pictures show the problem that caused safety measures to kick in last month, protecting Six Flags roller coaster riders, but trapping them in the air for hours.
A single shredded tire was enough to trigger safety sensors bringing a Six Flags rollercoaster to a sky-high stop.
A full-blown investigation finally goes into details, as investigators try to find out what went wrong, just seconds into the ride.
Twenty-three people were left suspended nearly 100 feet in the air.
Sky Eye Chopper 13 captured thrillseekers strapped in their seats for four hours.
Day turned to the night before rescuers could get on the track — the end to a heart-pounding ordeal for two of the youngest riders.
“We just thought it was some sort of joke, because it’s one of those rides. But, when we realized three seconds later that it wasn’t a joke and we were actually stuck, that’s when we started freaking out,” says Desi Valverde.
The newly-released inspection report shows on April 13, Six Flags staff didn’t know why the Joker’s Jinx roller coaster failed. By the next day, inspectors pinpointed the problem, blaming a broken wheel.
That weekend, the ride re-opened, but as it was a ride with repeat problems. WJZ reported on another breakdown back in 2014.
“Our accident rate is one-thousandth of one percent of every ride that comes into the state of Maryland,” says Kelly Schulz with Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
State officials and Six Flags echo that the ride is safe.
In a statement to WJZ, a spokesperson for the park says no riders were in danger:
“The safety of our guests is always our highest priority. In April the JOKER’S Jinx ride stopped before completing its normal cycle. The riders were not in any danger and no one was injured.
“While it looked dangerous, and generated a lot of media interest, this ride stop was actually proof that our ride safety systems were working exactly as they should. All of our rides are engineered to stop safely.
“After a thorough inspection of the ride, Six Flags corporate engineers and certified ride technicians identified an issue with one of the train’s wheels and took comprehensive action to resolve it. State of Maryland ride inspectors cleared the ride to be put back into service on Sunday, April 16.
“Our rides have hundreds of sensors constantly measuring and watching every aspect of the ride, similar to the sensors in your car that flash an alert if you’ve forgotten to buckle your seat belt or left one of the car doors open. The difference is that while you can still drive your car with these alerts on, if a sensor on a ride sends an alert, the ride will automatically shut down in a safe location.
“The bottom line is every day we work together to deliver a fun and safe guest experience.”
The report also shows the ride has just passed its yearly inspection about a month before the breakdown.
Both breakdowns blamed on different problems. Inspections in 2014 showed that incident tied to debris on the rollercoaster’s track.