The WindSeeker ride at Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm is supposed to last just three minutes. It’s one of those rides where seated passengers are hoisted in the air and spun around in a circle, feeling weightless, before slowly descending back to Earth. A typical ride probably looks like the above video: a pleasantly thrilling experience — unless you’ve eaten the greasy carnival food directly before riding.
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But on Wednesday, three minutes on the WindSeeker morphed into more than three hours. Midway through the ride, thrill-seekers came to a halt when a security system on the ride was activated, a Knott’s publicist told the Los Angeles Times. The 20 people aboard were stranded on the ride for more than three-and-a-half hours, the paper reported. According to footage by SoCal news station KTLA, the ride stood still as day turned into night, with the riders finally being lowered by crews around 7:50 p.m. local time. “All riders have made it off safely. The ride will remain closed while we further investigate,” Knott’s tweeted upon the rescue.
Fortunately there were no injuries, but stranded riders were left to patch up their psychological wounds. “The first half an hour was pretty rough on me,” Donna Garrison told KABC News, musing about an unexpected benefit of being stranded 300 feet up in the air on the ride: “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.”
Even though getting stuck on an amusement park ride like the WindSeeker seems like a freak event, this is the second problem Knott’s Berry Farm has had with the ride since it opened less than a month ago. On September 7, the WindSeeker broke down due to an faulty electrical switch, leaving fifteen passengers stranded until maintenance crews could lower them down, according to an Orange County Register report.