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WindSeeker ride strands passengers above Carowinds

The WindSeeker ride, shown in this 2013 picture, malfunctioned at Carowinds on Saturday, stranding 60 passengers about 150 feet high for less than 15 minutes, a park spokeswoman said.
The WindSeeker ride, shown in this 2013 picture, malfunctioned at Carowinds on Saturday, stranding 60 passengers about 150 feet high for less than 15 minutes, a park spokeswoman said. DON WORTHINGTON: dworthington@heraldonline.com

The WindSeeker ride at Carowinds malfunctioned Saturday, stranding 60 passengers about 150 feet high for less than 15 minutes, a park spokeswoman said.

The malfunction happened at 2:45 p.m. halfway up the ride, spokeswoman Laresa Thompson said.

At 301 feet, WindSeeker is one of the tallest rides at Carowinds.

“We lowered the ride, and they’re enjoying the park,” Thompson said several hours after the malfunction. No one was injured, she said.

The ride’s safety features shut it down after detecting a glitch, Thompson said. What caused the glitch wasn’t immediately known.

The ride was up and running again by about 5:30 p.m., Thompson said.

The WindSeeker debuted at Carowinds in 2012.

Passengers swing in a circle in chairs attached by metal arms to a rotating gondola. The ride has a top speed of 30 mph and “provides breathtaking aerial views of not only the park, but of the greater Charlotte region,” according to Carowind’s website.

The WindSeeker also malfunctioned on July 28, 2013, stranding 64 passengers high above the park for more than an hour – about a year after the ride similarly malfunctioned at the popular theme park.

On July 14, 2012, the ride’s safety system activated, suspending 25 riders about 30 feet off the ground for nearly three hours.

Saturday’s malfunction was the second in a week involving a ride at Carowinds.

On April 4, all riders were safely evacuated from a small roller coaster that became stuck shortly before 10 p.m.

The Carowinds staff evacuated about 20 riders from the Flying Ace Aerial Chase about 9:45 p.m., Thompson said. There were no reported injuries.

Charlotte Fire said the children and adults were stuck about 20 feet in the air, WBTV, the Observer’s news partner, reported.

On its website, Carowinds says the Flying Ace Aerial Chase is the tallest ride in the Planet Snoopy kids area. The ride lasts 90 seconds, and has a top speed of 26 miles-per-hour, according toUltimateRollercoaster.com.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak

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