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Thursday, July 17, 2003
Six Flags America Guests Stranded On Tilt-A-Whirl For Two Hours
On Monday, July 14th, sixteen guests at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland, were left stranded for over two hours on "The Tilt," a Sellner Manufacturing Company Tilt-A-Whirl ride, until local police and fire department rescue personnel arrived and freed the terrified guests.
The horror started shortly after two o'clock in the afternoon when a power surge caused the ride to malfunction during mid-cycle.
"The ride just stopped right in the middle, way before it should have. I could tell that something awful had happened, but there was nothing at all that I could have done to prevent it," sobbed Six Flags America ride operator, Gary Limberger.
After the power disruption, riders were left stranded in their Tilt-A-Whirl cars, most of them uncomfortably reclined at nearly twenty-five degree angles. The cars continued to roll around for a few seconds after the ride stopped causing at least two riders to become extremely nauseated.
Other riders, realizing that something had definitely gone frighteningly wrong, began to moan and cry hysterically. One guest went so far as to carve his last will-and-testament onto the seat back of the ride car with his girlfriend's nail file because he was unsure if he would make it out of the disaster alive.
After almost twenty-three minutes, Six Flags employees were finally able to reach the guests that were trapped on the terrorizing Tilt-A-Whirl. Employees did their best to console the petrified park patrons during their agonizing two-hour ordeal.
"We brought them fancy French bottled water and foot-long hot dogs," said Janet Porter, vice-president and general manager of the park. "We also offered inexpensive manicures to the women and half-priced massaging foot baths to the men in order to ease their suffering," continued Porter.
After countless unsuccessful attempts by Six Flags maintenance workers to either restart the ride or release the ride's lap-bar restraints, local police and fire department officials were summoned to the scene. Using the jaws-of-life, fire department rescue workers were able to pry open the restraints and free the near panic-stricken park-goers.
Rattled guests were so ecstatic to finally be freed from the dreadful ride that several of them kneeled down and actually kissed the ground, while many others headed straight to nearby pay phones to phone their loved ones or attorneys.
One rescued guest was overheard muttering to her friend, "I will never ever ride a Tilt-A-Whirl again no matter how long I live, at least not in this s*%#-hole park!"
When ARN&R reporters asked Porter why park employees didn't just pull up on the Tilt-A-Whirl lap-bars to free the trapped guests since the ride's lap-bars do not even lock in the first place, Janet replied, "Uh... well... um... Look! Over there! It's Jessica Alba! She's naked, and she's belching!"
As we quickly turned to try to catch a glimpse of a naked, belching Jessica Alba, Porter disappeared down a storm drain and could not be found for further comment.
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