SANDUSKY, Ohio — A water thrill ride malfunctioned Friday at Cedar Point amusement park near Cleveland, Ohio, Friday, injuring seven people who were on boat that slid backward down a steep hill and flipped over in water.
Investigators are at the park this week trying to determine how the malfunction occurred on the “Shoot the Rapids” ride and why some of the safety restraints were not working properly.
“We heard a snap and then a clunk and then it was the loudest noise, like an explosion,” Emily Capezzuto, one of the riders, told the Sandusky Register. “Then it slid down the hill and flipped on its side.”
Bystanders rushed to assist the adults and children on the ride, some of them trapped in the overturned boat by restraints that failed to release on impact. Some of the riders were submerged until nine or 10 people were able to flip the boat over, witnesses told the Sandusky Register. None of the passengers were seriously injured.
Heather Brown, who was also on the ride, said that the bystanders saved the children by pulling them out of the water quickly and holding their heads above water until they could be lifted to safety.
“Cedar Point officials and inspectors from the Amusement Ride Safety Division for the state of Ohio are currently investigating the incident,” a park spokesman told MSN News. “Shoot the Rapids will remain closed until that investigation is complete.”
The ride malfunction at Cedar Point occurred the same day that a woman plunged to her death after she was thrown from the Texas Giant rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Texas. Park officials there are investigating the tragic incident alongside officials from the rollercoaster’s Germany-based manufacturers.
The incident at Cedar Point on Friday wasn’t the first time this year that a ride has malfunctioned. According to MSN News, a boat on another water ride at the park jumped its track and plunged down a hill where it became stuck in the path of other boats that could hit it at a high velocity. The accident left onlookers screaming for someone to stop the ride.
Cedar Point is being sued by a man who alleges he was injured on the “Shoot the Rapids” ride in June 2012. He says the boat he was in came to an abrupt stop at the bottom of a hill and was struck from behind by another boat plunging down.