The Latest: North Carolina thrill ride had prior problems


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on a North Carolina amusement park power outage that left riders stranded for several hours (all times local):

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11:35 a.m.

There have been previous problems at a North Carolina amusement park attraction where a power outage left riders stranded for hours.

No one was hurt Thursday night at Carowinds, on the South Carolina line, where riders were evacuated from thrill rides including the WindSeeker. Passengers dangled for hours atop the 301-foot ride until they could be lowered to the ground.

The three-minute ride opened at Carowinds in 2012. Riders in 32 two-passenger swings lift and rotate as they climb into the air.

It’s been shut down several times since. In July 2012, 25 Windseeker riders were suspended for nearly three hours when a safety system sensor malfunctioned. Later that year, Carowinds’ parent company temporarily shuttered all of its WindSeeker rides for a safety review after a similar incident at Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm.

In July 2013, 64 Carowinds WindSeeker riders were stranded above the park for more than an hour.

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10:55 a.m.

A 19-year-old college student says he’s taking a break from thrill rides after he and his girlfriend spent several hours stranded hundreds of feet in the air atop a North Carolina amusement park on the North Carolina-South Carolina state line.

Rising University of North Carolina-Charlotte sophomore Josh Bryant told The Associated Press that his legs dangled in the air in the dark as crews at Carowinds worked Thursday night to manually lower riders of the WindSeeker, a 301 foot-tall swing ride. At least two roller coasters were evacuated more quickly.

Officials have said a power outage is to blame for the issues, and no one was hurt.

The three rides are open Friday. A park spokeswoman says three water-related attractions within Carowinds’ water park are closed. Another ride, Whitewater Falls, also is closed.

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9 a.m.

Utility crews are examining a blown transformer that could have been responsible for a power outage that left riders stranded on at least three rides at the Carowinds theme park on the North Carolina-South Carolina state line.

Multiple media outlets reported the power went out shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday.

No one was hurt, but it took about two hours to get people off at least one of the rides. The longest wait was for those on the Windseeker, a 301 foot-tall swing ride where the swings had to be manually lowered to the ground.

Riders stuck on at least two roller coasters were evacuated more quickly.

It was not immediately clear whether all the rides would be operating Friday. A spokeswoman did not immediately return messages.

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