State Fair's Stratosphere ride stuck again; riders left hanging for almost an hour

9:08 PM, Aug 24, 2012   |    comments
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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - For the second day in a row, people were stuck high up on the Stratosphere. The new ride on the Midway at the Minnesota State Fair had an undetermined problem, causing it to stall as 24 riders sat 80 feet above the ground for a little more than 45 minutes.

"He's bored to death, he's looking at us now," Shari Haugen said, as her 11 year old grandson Calhai waved from way above. "He's starving all the time so I imagine he's hungry, he can put away some groceries," Shari added. She says the fact that this ride got stuck yesterday made it more of an attraction for Calhai.

The problem on the Dutch-engineered ride was different than what caused it to shut down the day before (leaving riders stuck high in the sky for 20 minutes); that adventure was blamed on a default switch.

David Dean passed the time in the sky by talking to his buddy Nathan Arnold, who passed on the Stratosphere because he doesn't like heights. Dean snapped some nice shots on his iPhone that we featured on KARE 11 News. His friends, Olivia and Gabby Jungmann, who were in the gondola behind Dean, didn't share his sense of amusement. "I screamed, I had to go to the bathroom really bad," Olivia said with a smile. "I was calling people telling them I love them in case I die," Gabby joked, once on the ground.

The state fair's ride inspector says he's working on trying to determine what happened. He did say the ride, which was previously at the Wisconsin State Fair, had voltage problems in the dairy state and they have since been corrected. "As far as safety, it's absolutely a safe ride; it's not running correctly at this time. It's like your car, your car runs but doesn't necessarily run the best and that's what we have right now," Joe Bixler said.

Bixler said part of the fix will come from a conversation with engineers in the Netherlands. He expected the ride to be up and running in 24 hours.

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