Roller coaster rolls back during downpour

Roller coaster rolls back during downpour
Passengers enjoy the roller coaster ride on Dec. 16, 2014, on the opening day of the Taipei City Children's New Park. The park's roller coaster ride malfunctioned yesterday at around 5 pm, suddenly halting and rolling back. Park authorities said the sudden heavy rain caused the incident. No injuries were reported.

TAIPEI - The roller coaster amusement ride at Taipei City Children's New Park malfunctioned yesterday evening around 5 pm, coming to a halting stop before going backwards; the cause of the malfunction was a sudden downpour, according to technicians.

No casualties or injuries were reported.

Lin Jung-hui, director of the Children's New Park Operational Center, said that a huge downpour occurred at the time of the malfunction, reducing the friction between the idler and the tracks.

The park's Vice Director Liu Kuang-lung said that the roller coaster had just set off when it suddenly began raining. It had already travelled five to six meters, and it was at least one meter above the platform when it stopped, began rolling back then surged forward, causing great fear and confusion among its passengers.

Lin said that a park employee on site at the time pressed the emergency stop button upon realizing the problem. The coaster cars then rolled back toward the boarding platform.

Park employees let the passengers unfasten their seat belts, get off the ride and leave the platform through the pathways and stairs.

At least 15 passengers who were on the ride at the time came down safely with no reported injuries during the four-minute incident.

The park also gave out two park tickets to the passengers as compensation for not fully experiencing the amusement ride.

Regarding the precaution measures, Lin said that the park will re-evaluate roller coaster regulations and improve employee training to prevent similar events from happening in the future.

Like Experiencing 'Final Destination'

According to complaints filed to the Chinese-language Apple Daily, riders of the coaster expressed their fright when they realised the roller coaster was rolling backwards. Reports said that the ride had stopped suddenly, rolling back before surging forward once again.

One passenger, surnamed Tsai, remarked that he thought death was imminent and recalled that everyone on the ride was screaming. Another passenger, who was unnamed, said that it was as if they were experiencing the movie "Final Destination."

Rides Show No Problems

The incident occurred during the last ride of the day. The park also tested the amusement ride during the park's closing hours yesterday, and the results showed the ride had no problems.

The current regulations state that roller coaster rides should cease operating once 12 millimeters of precipitation has fallen.

The park had operated in the rain since its grand opening last year, with the abrupt heavy downpour yesterday causing the park's first instance of a roller coaster rollback.

The park opened on Dec. 16, 2014 and is located in Shilin District of Taipei City. It was originally called the "Taipei Children's Recreation Center."

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