Friday, December 19, 2014 Headlines & Global News

16 People Rescued From Cheetah Hunt Roller Coaster At Busch Gardens

By Bianca Facchinei b.facchinei@hngn.com | Feb 13, 2014 11:49 AM EST

Cheetah Hunt
A total of 16 passengers on the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Busch Gardens were rescued on Wednesday after the ride got stuck. (Photo : Twitter)

At least 16 people were rescued from a stuck roller coaster at Busch Gardens in Florida on Wednesday, USA TODAY reported.

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Tampa Fire Rescue arrived at the scene to help the passengers on the Cheetah Hunt ride.

"They were at an angle probably 30 degrees, so just unbuckling them caused anxiety for both the passengers and our people, but (we) were able to put a nice harness on them, get them into the buckets, and lower them down to the ground," said Emilio Salabarria, Tampa Fire special operations chief. 

According to USA TODAY, emergency workers took passengers off the ride one by one -- in heavy rainfall. Some passengers had to sit in the ride for more than an hour before being pulled to safety. However, no one was injured during the incident.

"They walked away under their own power and they are at a hospitality place within Busch Gardens," said Jason Penny, Tampa Fire Rescue information officer. 

The Facebook account for Busch Gardens uploaded a statement following the frightening incident. 

"At approximately 2:30 p.m. the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster unexpectedly stopped mid-ride with 15 guests on board. At the time the ride launched, weather conditions were clear and no storms were present. There was no indication of any operational issues with the ride prior to the launch. After attempts to shift the car back to its station proved unsuccessful, the decision was made to evacuate the ride. With the help of Tampa Fire Rescue, all passengers were safely evacuated and no injuries have been reported. The exact cause of the ride stoppage has yet to be determined. Busch Gardens takes the safety of its guests and employees very seriously and will conduct a thorough review of the coaster and its systems before reopening the ride," the statement said.

Engineers at the Florida theme park are conducting an investigation into what caused the ride to stop. Until then, it will remain closed. 

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