Thrill seekers hang in the air at Nanjing Amusement Park

Visitors taking a ride at a Nanjing amusement park got more chills than their tickets suggested last weekend when their roller coaster came to a halt in a vertical descent, leaving the ride’s occupants dangling in the tunes. Turns out that was a bit too much for just one.

The incident happened on June 26 at an unspecified amusement park in Nanjing, when one of the thrill seekers on board felt the ride was a bit too exciting, prompting them to press the button emergency stop.

The following day, Shanghai-based news outlet The Paper spoke to a park attendant, who said the roller coaster was not to blame. “The tourists were enjoying the ride until about halfway through the ride when one of them got scared and pressed the emergency stop button,” the attendant said. “The ride stopped where it left off and stayed there for a while, as the unlocking mechanism can only be operated manually.”

“No one was hurt,” he added.

What spooked the park visitor during the ride is unclear. But there are plenty of precedents for things to go wrong on amusement park rides in China.

Last weekend’s incident in Nanjing is, in fact, strikingly similar to the one that happened near Wuxi, also in our own province of Jiangsu, on September 5, 2020.

There, in Wuxi Sunac Park, around 20 people on a ride were left upside down, after their roller coasters malfunctioned, the Global Times reported at the time. No one was injured in the incident, which happened just days after the park reopened in the wake of COVID.

The same park had even experienced a similar event just over a year earlier. In August 2019, another ride automatically shut down, leaving its occupants stranded in the air. The cause was thought to be a bird that had inadvertently passed one of the ride’s sensors, which, mistaking it for a serious threat, activated an emergency stop.

Elsewhere, in the city of Shaoyang in Hunan province, a swing crashed on February 13 last year. A total of 16 runners and spectators were injured, as the South China Morning Post reported at the time.

And as the BBC reported in February 2017, a teenage girl died after being thrown off a merry-go-round at Chaohua Park in Chongqing Municipality. The girl was thrown over metal railings and later died in hospital. An investigation revealed that his seat belt had broken and the fit of his safety bar was not tight enough.

But for the biggest thrill crash in China, we have to go back to 2010. It was then, on June 29, in the overseas Chinese city of Shenzhen, that a ride called “Space Journey” went wrong. worked. Crashing to the ground in the deadliest roller coaster crash of all time left six people dead, 10 injured and 48 trapped in the wreckage.

Harold B. McConnell