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Technical glitch traps 12 on Universal's Rip Ride Rockit for hours

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 11:50 a.m. CDT

ORLANDO, Fla. (MCT) — Technicians and crews at Universal Orlando will work Thursday to determine why a roller coaster stopped vertically during a ride, leaving 12 people stuck for nearly three hours Wednesday night.

Jeff Day, district chief at the Orlando Fire Department, said a technical glitch forced the ride's safety features to lock in place.

The ride will remain closed as a crew works to determine exactly what went wrong.

"We're not going to reopen the ride until we know what happened and we're sure it won't happen again," Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder said.

Rescue teams from the Orlando Fire Department were called to the theme park after several people reported that the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster had malfunctioned and about a dozen people were trapped on the ride. All were rescued by about 9:45 p.m., fire officials said, and one person was taken to the hospital with neck pain.

According to dispatchers, the theme-park guests on the ride were not in any danger but had been stuck since about 7 p.m. After nearly three hours, rescue crews were able to move the car to a horizontal position at the top of the ride and help guests exit onto a platform where they were able to get to the ground on elevators.

The long lines that plague many theme-park guests worked in favor of a group of 14 friends and family members visiting from Scotland.

"The kids in our family were next to go on," Scott Brough said via email late Wednesday. "Looking back, thankfully, they were not on board any of the carriages and were safely standing at the starting line.

"Hopefully it's back working safely soon, as the kids went on it five times and thought it was a great ride," Brough said.

Brough's group has been in Orlando since Saturday and will stay until the weekend.

The ride, billed as Orlando's tallest roller coaster, at 17 stories high, was closed for two days in August after a woman was hurt when the car she was riding in stopped Aug. 1.

The woman suffered minor injuries and the ride — which can reach speeds as high as 65 mph — was closed as safety crews inspected it. ___ (c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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