132 Evacuated When Harry Potter Ride Breaks Down

July 26th, 2010 by Staff

ORLANDO, Fla.

A new ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure broke down Friday night, leaving riders stranded.
Orlando Fire Department officials responded to 911 calls at about 8:15 p.m. There were 132 people on the ride, and OFD officials said all passengers had been evacuated without medical complaints as of 9:45 p.m.
WESH 2′s Michelle Meredith confirmed that the broken down ride was the new attraction “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal Studios representative Alyson Lundell said the ride experienced a technical glitch, causing it to stop just after 8 p.m.
The same ride came to a standstill with a WESH 2 crew on board in June. The breakdown left reporter Amanda Ober and photographer Scott Pisczek lying horizontal on their backs with their legs up in the air.
OFD officials said one rider called 911 when the roller coaster stopped Friday night because he thought he was upside down. However, Universal officials said the Forbidden Journey ride doesn’t go upside down.
Lundell said the guest that called 911 was one of the first evacuated from the ride. Universal’s health services team and responding paramedics checked the man out, she said, and he and the others were not injured.
An OFD official told WESH 2 that the evacuations proceeded smoothly, without panic or injury. Guests used the provided catwalks and ladders to exit the Forbidden Journey.
Lundell said evacuations took about 45 minutes to an hour, and because Islands of Adventure closed at 10 p.m. that night, they didn’t reopen the ride until Saturday morning.
She said Universal crews did overnight testing and the ride was fine.
Lundell said that while there have been times before when the ride has shut down, more than 900,000 people have be through the attraction.
“Our rides are highly technical,” she said. “We have safety mechanisms and systems in place to ensure they operate the way they should. If a problem should occur, the ride will shut down. From time to time, that occurs, and we want to make sure everyone is safe.”
She said when something like this happens, it is standard for Universal to offer some type of compensation to guests. That type of information typically isn’t public record, Lundell said.
In all, 52 cars full of passengers were unloaded as Universal worked to repair the Harry Potter ride.


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