The Knotts Berry Farm ride that stranded 20 people high in the air remained closed on Thursday while investigators tried to understand what went wrong. It was the second time in as many weeks that the ride malfunctioned. Vikki Vargas reports from Buena Park for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2012.
A brake on a Knott's Berry Farm thrill ride froze, leaving 20 people dangling some 300 feet in the air for nearly four hours in its second breakdown in less than two weeks, officials with California's workplace safety board said on Thursday.
The WindSeeker ride will remain shuttered pending the inspections.
Dean Fryer, a spokesman with California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA), said inspectors were reviewing maintenance records, mechanical procedures and other issues with Knott's Berry Farm officials after the park's newest ride stopped working around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
"The fact that the brake froze I would say is a mechanical failure," said Fryer. "The whole process of releasing the ride so that it comes back down to the ground is a safety mechanism."
It's the second mechanical issue that has shut the ride since it opened in August 2011, officials said. On Sept. 7, an electrical relay malfunctioned, causing the ride to shut down, officials said.
On Wednesday, riders were left stranded until about 7:50 p.m., nearly two hours after the park's 6 p.m. closure.
Officials said the brake froze as the ride was beginning its descent. Crews had to manually release the brake and manually crank the ride to the ground to safely remove its riders, officials said.
Jimmy Garrison, who was among those stranded on the ride, said he never felt he was in danger.
"There's probably a system in there that allows for it to release for it to come down on its own," said Garrison. "I wasn't concerned about that. The workers were in there frantically trying to get everybody down."
His wife, Dona, said she won't press her luck by going back on the ride.
"I'm not going to tempt fate again ," she said.
The WindSeeker has 32 two-person gondolas that go 301 feet up and then swing riders for a minute at a 45-degree angle, according to the theme park's website.
The ride, made by Dutch manufacturer Mondial, also became stuck on Sept. 7. In that case, the problem stemmed from a faulty reading on an electrical safety switch that is not a part of the ride, park officials told the Orange County Register. Fifteen people were reported stranded on that occasion.