Riders dangle upside down after coaster malfunction

Saturday, July 26th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

JACKSON, N.J. (AP) -- Roller coaster riders got more than they bargained for Friday when a thrill ride malfunction left 20 people dangling upside down for 20 minutes.

The malfunction in the Batman-themed roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure occurred about 7 p.m. on a portion of the ride where the train turns upside down 75 feet off the ground, spokeswoman Pat Klingensmith told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

One child rider was taken to the hospital for treatment of asthma, the Asbury Park Press of Neptune reported. No other injuries were reported.

Theme park maintenance and safety personnel rushed to the scene, closing the ride. They eventually were able to move the stuck train to a spot on the tracks where riders could get off.

The workers used a ladder to lower people safely to the ground, Klingensmith said.

Six Flags is based in Oklahoma City.

The ride -- "Batman and Robin: The Chiller" -- will remain closed indefinitely while the state investigates the malfunction.

The coaster has a history of problems.

A week after The Chiller was introduced in 1997, the ride was closed for a year because riders were hitting their heads on the coaster's metal parts.

It was closed again in 1998 after passengers complained of neck and head pain.

Manufactured by Premier Rides of Maryland, the coaster is designed to launch riders from zero to 65 mph in less than five seconds.