Three rescued after coaster gets stuck at Castles N' Coasters

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 01:25:17-04

The Phoenix Fire Department says it was able to safely rescue three people who became suspended dozens of feet in the air.

Firefighters say the Desert Storm Roller Coaster at Castles N' Coasters, near I-17 and W. Peoria Avenue, was reported to be stuck 60 to 70 feet in the air on Sunday.

However, the distance to the ground was closer than that, as firefighters say they were able to reach those on board with a 35-foot ladder. Officials said if anyone had been at the rear of the coaster the ladder would not have reached them due to the incline of the track.

Officials said park employees used their own harnesses to walk along the track and secure the coaster, preventing it from moving while the rescue was in progress.

A firefighter helped escort each of the three people onto the ladder, and then down to the ground.

"This is a low-frequency, high-risk operation for firefighters since we don't see this happen often," said Capt. Reda Bigler in a news release. "Fire crews worked together to develop a plan and had technical rescue crews on scene in case this situation became more difficult."

Officials estimated the people were stranded for about 20 minutes before the rescue began.

A frequent rider of the Desert Storm roller coaster said the incident won’t scare him away.

“I’ll go on it still, as long as it didn’t fall apart and break. From the looks of it, it just lost its momentum," said Casey Johnson. 

What caused the car to get stuck is unclear. Castles N' Coasters did not immediately return a request for comment.