Roller Coaster Chaos: Guests Face 50-Meter Drop After “Safety Risk” Flagged

in Theme Parks

A roller coaster with passengers, arms raised, cresting a sharp turn against a clear blue sky.

Things rarely go wrong at theme parks, but dozens of guests were unlucky enough to have a terrifying experience on one roller coaster recently.

Despite being entirely designed around the thrill factor, roller coasters are built to notoriously strict safety regulations. While we’ve reported on the odd incident over the years (such as Gröna Lund’s Jetline roller coaster derailing in Sweden last year and the alarming crack that formed in the pillar of Fury 325 at Carowinds), millions of people ride coasters each year incident-free.

Fury 325 coaster track at Carowinds
Credit: Carowinds

When things do go wrong, there are protocols in place to keep guests as safe as possible. The worst thing most people will ever experience on a coaster is a breakdown or technical error at an alarming height – which is exactly what happened to guests at Mirabilandia in Ravenna, Italy, on April 13.

As reported by The Mirror, parkgoers were aboard the inverted roller coaster Katun last Saturday when sensors flagged a safety risk, and the ride vehicle ground to a halt. This left guests stranded at the peak of the ride’s 50-meter drop (164 feet), where they were forced to disembark and stand on a metal platform until they were safely evacuated to the ground. Terrifying, much?

Roller coaster with inverted passengers plunging down a curved track amidst lush green trees under a blue sky.
Credit: Mirabilandia

Related: Victim of Horrific Coaster Incident Reaches Settlement in Lawsuit, Life-Altering Injuries Revealed

A Mirabilandia spokesperson told The Mirror: “On Saturday 13 April, two stoppages of the Katun attraction were recorded. A sudden anomaly reported by the sensors interrupted the ride at pre-established points to allow the evacuation of visitors in total safety.”

Fortunately, the incident was resolved without injury. However, even when Katun isn’t experiencing technical faults, it’s a pretty terrifying experience. Not only is it the longest inverted roller coaster in Europe, but it’s the world’s fourth tallest complete circuit inverted coaster and reaches top speeds of 65 mph (105 km/h).

A more serious incident took place on the ride in 2007 when a man was killed after being struck by the leg of a female rider. The female rider was also injured. Katun was subsequently closed for investigation, despite the man being in a restricted area of the park when the accident took place.

A still from one of the projection sequences in 'Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.'
Credit: Universal

Technical faults are part of the package when you visit a theme park. Over the past few months, issues have occurred with attractions at parks such as Universal Studios Japan (where Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is currently closed due to an ongoing system issue) and Magic Kingdom (where Space Mountain and Carousel of Progress have both faced issues, with the latter experiencing particular terrifying audio-animatronic malfunctions).

Guests were also forced to evacuate Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest last week when the Walt Disney World roller coaster ground to a halt at its very peak, right before the attraction typically switches course at the “end” of the track.

Have you experienced a scary situation at a theme park? Let us know in the comments!

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