Riders Stuck on Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Due To Malfunction

5:36 PM, Aug 12, 2011   |    comments
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  • Viewer Photo: Stuck passengers exit from the Ride of Steel.
  • Viewer Photo: Stuck passengers exit from the Ride of Steel.
  • Viewer Photo: Stuck passengers exit from the Ride of Steel.

DARIEN, NY--  Some park goers riding the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Thursday had some tense moments after the ride malfunctioned.

According to witnesses and riders on the ride, a chain on the ride snapped while the car was going up a hill.

Passengers were stranded at the top of the hill for a short while before officials could get them down. The 32 passengers on the ride had to walk down the side of the track to get off the ride.

It does not appear anyone was injured.

One of those passengers was 12-year old Sentrain Gibson.

SENTRAIN: We just went up and stopped and braked real hard. And I didn't know the chain popped until I looked back and all of the chains were messed up.

REPORTER: You saw that, and looked back down, and what were you thinking?

SENTRAIN: I thought that we were just going to fall back down, on the roller coaster, and just go back... The people came up the steps and told us We were going to have to walk down.

REPORTER: Down those big tall steps behind you?


REPORTER: What was that like?


His father, Jamar, watched nervously, knowing that, just a month ago, Army Sgt. James Hackemer, a 29 year-old double amputee, fell from the Ride of Steel and died.

An accident investigators determined Hackemer's death was caused by operator error, not mechanical error.

REPORTER: Were you watching as all this was happening?

DAD: Yes I was.

REPORTER: What were you thinking?

DAD: Everything. I was thinking everything. The worst. But everything came out fine.

But Jamar Gibson was upset, saying park security ordered him and other parents to leave the area around the Ride of Steel while the stuck passengers were removed from the ride.

REPORTER: They told you to leave while your son was still stuck up there?

DAD: Yes they did.

REPORTER: What did you tell them?

DAD: I wasn't leaving. So they called security on me, and I just told them, 'listen, are y'all parents?' They said 'yes.' They understood. They left me alone for a minute. They didn't want me to take no pictures, though.

A Darien Lake spokesperson sent 2 On Your Side the following statement from Chris Thorpe, general manager of the park.

"Due to the quick, trained response of the DL team, our guests were on the ground within 30 minutes of the breakdown. In addition, all redundant safety systems functioned precisely as planned including the immediate train stop. Ride of Steel will be closed until further notice."

On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office confirms to 2 On Your Side that the Department of Labor is in the final stages of creating an online database that will allow New Yorkers to search inspection violations for amusement rides

This decision came after the tragic death of Sgt. Hackemer.

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