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Riders stuck upside down for hours after roller coaster malfunctions

It took hours for responders to execute a daring and complex rescue.
Riders stuck upside down for hours after roller coaster malfunctions
Posted at 9:03 AM, Jul 05, 2023

Roller coaster riders in Wisconsin got more of a thrill than they bargained for on Monday. 

Eight people were trapped upside down for hours when a roller coaster they were on at the Forest County Festival malfunctioned, leaving them stuck in an inverted position until they could be safely rescued. 

When the Crandon Fire Department first got notice of the incident at 1:35 p.m., passengers had been stuck upside down for about 15 minutes, but executing the rescue would be complicated. 

"Due to the height of ride, specialized technical rescue teams and mutual aid equipment were needed to remove riders from ride," the fire department said in a statement. "Due to the release mechanism of safety equipment on individual cars, all individuals in a car needed to be properly secured prior to release of safety equipment." 

An off-duty firefighter who had specialized rope rescue training was a bystander at the fair, and helped advise Crandon FD on possible rescue options. After going through options, the rescue team requested a third ladder truck with a 100-foot platform, which was 45 minutes away. 

Emergency medical services remained in contact with a medical control physician throughout the incident regarding medical needs and concerns about riders. 

Once all resources arrived on scene, rescue teams from different cities worked together to perform technical rescue operations to successfully remove all passengers from the ride. Additional ambulances were also on scene. 

The first rider was brought to safety at 3:20 p.m., and the last rider reached the ground at 5:01 p.m. 

Nine total patients were treated by EMS throughout the incident and one was transported via ambulance to a hospital. 

Overall, 10 total fire apparatuses and nine ambulances with a personnel of over 50 people from three counties responded to the incident.

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