Local

Carowinds’ Fury 325 coaster gets stuck again

dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

For the second straight weekend, Carowinds’ tallest, fastest, longest roller coaster got stuck in its tracks.

The Fury 325 ride came to an unscheduled halt on an incline Saturday after a safety mechanism detected a problem. Operations resumed without incident, and a state inspector on Monday examined the ride and did not find reason for concern.

“He (the inspector) looked at the ride and it is operating...as it’s supposed to be operating,” said Neal O’Briant, spokesman for the N.C. Labor Department’s Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau.

Sensors in the roller coaster act like the “check engine” light in a car, warning the ride that something could be wrong, said Michael Fehnel, Carowinds’ vice president and general manager.

The ride has more than 450 sensors and, to date, has given more than 250,000 rides, Fehnel said. He did not say what caused the ride’s malfunction but said the roller coaster was “operating exactly as it’s designed to.”

Fury 325 also shut down briefly on April 18, when 32 riders aboard the new roller coaster were stranded for about 20 minutes after it stopped unexpectedly on its tracks. In that case, a spokesperson for the park said, the ride stopped because sensors detected a glitch. No riders were injured.

The park – which straddles North and South Carolina – is operating on a weekend-only schedule until May 22.

Regulators in both states inspect the park’s rides depending on where a ride’s entrance and exit are located. The North Carolina Department of Labor’s Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau is responsible for inspecting Fury 325.

O’Briant said that the April 18 incident did not require an impromptu inspection, adding that Carowinds replaced a part, tested the ride and resumed operation of the ride. He said Saturday’s incident still did not meet reporting thresholds, but an inspector was sent to the park to do “a courtesy check.”

O’Briant said there is a precautionary measure in Fury 325’s computer system that causes it to stop if a malfunction is detected. It’s up to Carowinds to determine the source of the malfunction. What caused the malfunction remained unclear Monday evening.

“It’s in their interest to keep their rides going,” O’Briant said. “We make sure that when they are going, that they’re operating safely.”

The Observer recently reported that Carowinds has had similar issues with other rides in its first month of operation this year.

On April 11, the Windseeker stranded 60 passengers about 150 feet high for less than 15 minutes. And a week before that, on April 4, Carowinds staff evacuated about 20 riders from the Flying Ace Aerial Chase, which became stuck.

The park said that in both cases, no riders were injured, and the rides stopped because sensors detected a glitch.

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