One of Cedar Point's biggest roller coasters gets stuck
Guests at Cedar Point say a huge gust of wind out of seemingly nowhere is what caused one of the park's biggest attractions to malfunction. The GateKeeper was operating normally with a train full of guests just before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday evening when a substantial wind gust likely caused the ride to get stuck between two inversions.According to weather observations near Cedar Point when the accident occurred, wind gusts could have easily have reached 40-50 mph for a brief moment. Wind gusts of that magnitude can have impacts on the physics of theme park attractions, including roller coasters. In fact, many rides worldwide cannot operate if certain wind speed and direction thresholds are reached. Per Cedar Point's website, GateKeeper is a "high-speed, wing looping roller coaster which turns rides upside down six times." It is 170 feet tall, has a maximum speed of 67 MPH and allows riders to experience weightlessness and rapid movements from side to side, according to the park's ride description.
The video above was taken by Shannon Drown-Ebeling. It shows the ride rolling back-and-forth numerous times between two hills, sometimes called "valleying." During that part of the ride, the train would normally be traveling at a pretty fast speed, maneuvering through the inversions easily.
Riders were likely removed from the ride via cherry picker, fire truck or ladder due to the nature of the ride and its trains (passengers sit extended away from the track with their legs dangling freely). Fortunately, the area where the train stopped is only feet off the ground.
To make matters worse for riders, rain began falling immediately after the ride got stuck. It rained steadily through midnight local time. It is not known how long riders were stuck on the ride, or how exactly they were let off.