That Time I Got Stuck on a Roller Coaster

According to multiple news reports, yesterday Frontier City’s Silver Bullet roller coaster got stuck and eight people had to be rescued. The roller coaster stopped just shy of the first drop around 4:30 p.m., and the final eight passengers remained trapped on the coaster until 5:55 p.m. While they waited, emergency personnel served them cold bottles of water.

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The reason those passengers were trapped and could not exit the coaster is because the emergency stairs only go to the very top of the hill and not past it, where the first few cars were located. Ask me how I know this.

BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN TRAPPED IN THE SAME PLACE ON THAT SAME ROLLER COASTER!

The year was 1990. Jeff, Andy and I all had our drivers licenses and decided to purchase combination Frontier City / White Water passes for the summer. We had a blast.

One hot summer day, Jeff and I visited Frontier City together. (Andy had to work.) Like those people yesterday, Jeff and I boarded the Silver Bullet and said to ourselves, “What could possibly go wrong?” We even got the front two seats — how exciting! The coaster chug-chug-chugged its way up the first big hill and, just as our car passed over the top of the hill… everything stopped.

“Maybe it’ll start up again?” we wondered, but it didn’t. Five or ten minutes passed before employees began making their way up those same emergency stairs. If I recall correctly, there were two cars (ours and the one behind ours) that had passed the point of no return. After half an hour, everyone else was evacuated from the ride. That left Jeff, myself, and a few others to hang out in the August heat and twiddle our thumbs.

No emergency crews or news reporters showed up to save us that day, and nobody served us cold bottles of water. The way I remember the story, a breaker on the coaster had tripped, nobody at the park had the authority to reset it, and we were stuck up there until someone was able to track someone down who could approve it. I don’t know that that’s the truth, but I know that’s what we were told. We were also told that they were unsure if the coaster would make it through the loop with only a few of us sitting in the front of the ride. I always thought that was baloney until a few years ago when a flight attendant told me I couldn’t change seats on a plane because it would throw off the balance.

After a long time (we both went home with sunburns), someone reset the breaker, the coaster clicked forward, and the eight of us sitting in the front two cars set off on our own personal roller coaster ride.

(We made it through the loop.)

Again, nobody served us cold drinks, and our little incident wasn’t covered by the Australian news. It was just another story that we got to stick in our back pockets.

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1 comment to That Time I Got Stuck on a Roller Coaster

  • Paul in AZ

    Something to tell the grandkids. As for the “throwing off the balance of the plane,” pure hogwash. The only thing you would “throw off” is their passenger manifest. A plane is constantly adjusting for slight differences in air pressure, currents, etc. A typical 727 weighs about 185,000 lbs at take-off; while we’re both on the larger size, Rob, our massive girth would have no effect on the “balance” of a commercial airliner.

    Anyway.