After exiting the WindSeeker ride at Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm, a group of twenty passengers rightfully had a lot to complain about, but one thing they weren’t criticizing was the brevity of the ride. Indeed, the thrill-seekers spent almost four hours suspended 300 feet in the air.
The WindSeeker, which is designed to raise passengers above the park and spin them at a 45 degree angle, is only supposed to last 60 seconds. However, on Wednesday the ride inexplicably malfunctioned, brought the spinning to a full stop, and left those on board dangling high in the air from 4 p.m. until 7:50 p.m.
According to park officials, there was nothing mechanically wrong with the ride, but its security system was activated which prevented it from moving. They are unsure what caused the security system to engage.
Park spokesperson, Jennifer Blazey, said in a statement, “Safety is Knott’s number one priority and we are committee to the protection of all our guests. Each of our rides is inspected, check-listed, and properly maintained. Knott’s will continue to consistently monitor and inspect the rides and operations thereof.”
Naturally, some of the stranded riders handled the situation better than others, and one passenger, Donna Garrison, was forced to either succumb to panic or overcome her fear of heights. She told an ABC News affiliate, “It was quite an experience. The first half hour was pretty rough on me. I have a fear of heights. I was on it because my husband wanted to train me to get over my fear of heights. By the end, I was.”
It wasn’t until after the park closed and the sun had set that riders eventually descended with no injuries to report. This is the second time the WindSeeker has broken down and the park says the ride will remain closed until they determine the source of the malfunction.