Minnesota State Fair ride malfunctions a second timePublished 8:05am Sunday, August 26, 2012
FALCON HEIGHTS — A high-swinging ride at the Minnesota State Fair malfunctioned and left people stranded for about 45 minutes Friday — just one day after the same ride experienced a similar stoppage.
Friday’s incident marked the fourth time the Stratosphere stopped with people on board in Minnesota. The first stoppage happened Thursday afternoon, stranding 24 people about 100 feet off the ground for about 40 minutes.
Ride inspector Joe Bixler said the ride also stopped twice Thursday night, briefly, due to gusty winds.
The ride, which is manufactured in Holland, also stopped six times during the Wisconsin State Fair earlier this month, Bixler said.
Ride owner Tom McDonagh, of Michigan-based Sky Attractions, said he expected the attraction will be operating again Saturday.
“It’s a really good ride,” McDonagh said. “We just had a couple of glitches with it and we have it figured out. Nobody was ever in danger.”
The Stratosphere looks like a tall tower with swings hanging from branch-like extensions. The seats go up and the tower spins.
Bixler said he believed an electrical problem caused Friday’s stoppage. He said he was waiting to hear back from Dutch manufacturer KMG to be sure.
“Right now, we have the ride running, but not to the public,” Bixler said Friday night. “We are doing test runs. … I think we’ve licked the problem.”
Brienna Schuette, a fair spokeswoman, said Thursday’s malfunction was mechanical. She said a safety latch didn’t disengage properly and the safety mechanism kicked in, stopping the ride.
Bixler said the ride’s glitches in Wisconsin, where it debuted, were attributed to voltage disparities and were resolved.
Bixler said no one was in danger of being injured.
“The ride is very safe,” Bixler said. “If there is anything out of the norm of the original design, it faults and stops … It is protecting you from any injury by having all of these monitoring systems.”