Bumpy start for Superman ride's reopening

August 5, 2012 6:38:10 PM PDT
The Superman ride took off Sunday, one week after a dozen passengers were stranded during a malfunction at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Roller coaster enthusiasts hopped on early and enjoyed the g-forces and spirals, but it wasn't long before it malfunctioned again.

The ride was offline for a full week and what should have been a triumphant return of Superman turned out to be a disappointment for some customers.

One customer we spoke to said she didn't want to wait in line again since the ride seemed broken Sunday morning. Another young female said she was glad the park operators stopped to fix it instead of just letting it go and get stuck again.

Within about an hour of the park opening, the Superman Ultimate Flight coaster came to a grinding stop from an issue totally unrelated to last week's episode.

"It came right here and then it just stopped and broke. They brakes went on and it got locked down there at the base and they couldn't get it to the home spot, so we were kind of stuck in our seats, couldn't get the brackets up," said Mike Rocci, a roller coaster rider.

Six Flags personnel describe the ride as cutting edge and the computer systems that run it, extremely sophisticated. But clearly, they continue to have issues after a dozen people got stranded for more than an hour and half last Sunday at the highest point on the ride.

"It was a combination of the launch speed at the time and the weight that stopped the ride. Again a highly unusual event that we don't anticipate recurring," said Six Flags Spokesperson Nancy Chan.

Crews had to use an onsite crane to get water and sunscreen to riders last Sunday. If workers were not able to get the cars to come back down with their own momentum, rescue teams would have used the crane to bring passengers down in small groups. Still, every park customer we talked to on Sunday, still seemed excited to ride the superman coaster, even with the series of problems.

"If it does get stuck up there I hope they bring us some beers or something, you know," said Chris Wafford from Salinas.

Because the Superman ride is so new, the park is required to keep a crane onsite in case there is an emergency and the local fire department is supposed to train on the crane, should there be any emergency. Last week, the fire crews said training with the crane previously really came in handy.


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