Portland Amusement Park Ride Shut Down After Malfunction Traps Riders Upside Down

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
June 17, 2024US News
Portland Amusement Park Ride Shut Down After Malfunction Traps Riders Upside Down
First responders arrive at Oaks Park for a ride that is stuck with multiple riders in Portland, Ore., on June 14, 2024. (Courtesy of Oregon Amusement Ride-Rescue via AP)

A popular attraction at a Portland amusement park has been closed indefinitely after it stalled and left panicked riders dangling upside down nearly 100-feet off the ground.

Video shared on social media captured the scary moments at Oaks Park in southeast Portland on Friday as other park guests gathered below watched in horror.

“The AtmosFEAR ride stopped at the apex position while operating in the 360-degree setting, suspending 28 riders upside down,” the park said in a statement. The ride, which circulates in an up and down motion, reached its peak at 99-feet-high and suddenly stopped, officials said in a statement.

NTD Photo
An amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30 people trapped upside down in Portland, Ore., on June 14, 2024. (Tieanna Joseph Cade via AP)

The ride stalled just before 3 p.m. Friday and staff immediately called 911. Emergency responders arrived about 25 minutes later. Maintenance crews eventually managed to lower the ride manually and return it safely to its unloading position.

All riders were immediately evaluated, according to officials. One person had a pre-existing condition and was sent to the hospital to be further checked. The rest of the riders were released.

Other park guests were instructed through a loudspeaker to leave the park immediately. The entire property was evacuated during the incident, officials said.

The amusement park ride has “not experienced such an incident up to this point,” according to the Oaks Park Association. Officials also noted that park management will contact the manufacturer of the ride and work with state inspectors to identify what caused the ride to stall.

“This attraction is closed until further notice,” it says on the amusement website following the incident.

The park promoted the AtmosFEAR as a “showstopping extreme attraction” and one of its most popular rides. It is described as “two rides in one,” according to its website, where riders can choose the “over-the-top thrill” of a 360-degree ride or a 180-degree “pendulum experience.”

A YouTube video posted in April 2021 teased the opening of the ride and showed the rider’s point-of-view.

“‘The fun never ends,’ Yeah that slogan has a new meaning now,” one person commented on the video while others questioned why the ride was not manually lowered immediately after it got stuck.

A warning under the Rules and Safety section of the park’s website says that guests participate in rides at their own risk. There are “inherent risks” of which “any prudent person is or should be aware,” according to the notice.

In a statement the park thanked the Portland Fire & Rescue and American Medical Response for how they handled the incident as well as park guests who quickly exited the amusement park during the debacle.

“We wish to express our deepest appreciation to the first responders and our staff for taking prompt action, leading to a positive outcome today, and to the rest of the park guests who swiftly followed directions to vacate the park to make way for the emergency responders to attend to the situation,” park officials said.

“Most of all, we are thankful that the riders are safe and with their families,” they added.

Park guests whose visits were cut short due to the incident would be given a full refund or opportunity to reschedule.