On Friday afternoon, riders of The Nitro roller coaster at Six Flags in Jackson, N.J., got an unexpected thrill: The opportunity to walk down off the ride after a power outage. What's the trend in amusement park ride mishaps?
Would you rather ride The Nitro roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari in Jackson, N.J., or climb out of your seat and walk down on a maintenance stairway alongside the track?
Each would provide a certain thrill.
On Friday afternoon, Nitro passengers found themselves stuck part way up the first 233-foot high hill of the ride. Six Flags park officials say a power outage to the ride was to blame. No one was injured as a result of the stoppage. Ride operators climbed up, helped the passengers out of their seats, and down the stairs, NBC News reported.
The ride was shut down for the rest of the day. There's no information yet as to whether the ride will reopen Saturday.
Six Flags bills The Nitro as a "hypercoaster" which is a roller coaster with a height or drop of more than 200 feed. At Six Flags, they describe it as "utterly over the top, speed, height, and airtime... The seating situation is minimal – no shoulder restraints, no sides on the cars ––you’ll really feel like you’re just flying through space at insane speeds "
At the ride's highest point, the website says riders can see Philadelphia - about 60 miles away. "But you won’t get to enjoy the view for long because almost immediately you’ll be thrust down a 215 ft drop."
USA Today ranked The Nitro as the 9th fastest roller coaster in the US with an official speed of 80 m.p.h. It describes Nitro as "butter-smooth as well as loaded with airtime."
Summer is prime roller coaster season in the US and media reports of mishaps at amusement parks get wide-spread attention.
Last month, the front car of the Ninja coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., became dislodged after colliding with a branch lying atop the tracks shortly. It took rescue crews three hours to evacuate the 22 riders, one at a time, from the coaster. No one was seriously injured.
As The Christian Science Monitor reported the safety record for amusement park rides is improving.
Accidents at southern California amusement parks are relatively rare, a 2013 Los Angeles Times investigation of theme parks found.
The Times staff combed through more than 2,000 accident reports filed at 57 area parks between 2007 and 2012. Nearly one-fifth of those reports related to motion sickness. About 350 injuries occurred each year during the six-year period covered in the investigation. That’s a relatively small number compared with the total combined attendance of 40 million visitors each year.
Nationally, the number of injuries per million attendees has been steadily dropping since 2001, according to a survey of fixed-site ride injuries across the United States between 2001 and 2011, conducted by the National Safety Council's Research & Statistical Services Group in Itasca, Ill. The survey found that in 2011, about 4.3 people per million park visitors received injuries, compared with an average of 8.2 per million visitors in 2001.