High winds triggered a safety sensor to stop The Joker roller coaster ride at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington early Saturday morning.
Eight riders were left stranded on the upper part of the 120-foot-tall ride during a high school overnight event at the park.
“We were holding hands, and we prayed a lot,” Christian Chaney, a Durant High School senior who was on the ride with a friend, told KTBS. “My friend and I thought we were going to die, just because there was lightning, and we didn’t think anyone knew we were up there.”
She added: “I had a pair of shorts, and once I got off the ride my legs were red from where the rain had been hitting them so hard. I was bawling. I was just so happy to be on the ground. It really hit me then, as I was coming down the ladder, that I was really in a life-threatening situation.”
Christian told the outlet that the coaster came to a slow stop around midnight and the last person was rescued around 3:30 a.m. She claimed Six Flags did not communicate anything to those stranded for an extended period of time.
“All eight of us were screaming at the top of our lungs, trying to get their attention, trying to get them to say something and we didn’t hear from Six Flags, from anyone. No one came over the intercom for at least 25 minutes, maybe even 30,” she told KTBS.
Arlington firefighters cut a hole in the chain-link fence and put a ladder near the ride to conduct the rescue.
“The safety of our guests is our highest priority. We monitor weather conditions around the clock,” said Sharon Parker, Six Flags Over Texas communications manager, in a written statement. “In this particular instance, a weather update was communicated just as the ride car was dispatched. Our ride crew was immediately notified but the severe head winds ahead of the storm were moving swiftly and caused the ride to stop at a safe location on the track.”
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Christian is back home in Durant, Oklahoma, but says she won’t be riding another roller coasters anytime soon.
“Definitely won’t be going on a roller coasters for awhile if ever,” says Chaney.
The Joker ride reopened Sunday after inspectors checked the coaster, reports CBS-DFW.