FUJIYOSHIDA, Yamanashi Prefecture--A tire blow-out while whizzing about at death-defying speeds and insane inclines on the fastest accelerating roller coaster on Earth takes you from a world of thrills into one of sheer terror.
Seven passengers experienced just that when the Dododonpa roller coaster at Fujikyu Highland amusement park here ground to a halt mid-climb at around 2:50 p.m. on July 16.
The passengers were literally left hanging above the treetops until they were rescued safely 20 minutes later.
The car slowed down, lost the power to climb, and started sliding backward down the loop before coming to a stop with its body inclined at an angle, according to the park.
One of the 51 tires on the roller coaster that the park claims can reach 180 kph within 1.56 seconds of launch had punctured.
The loop rises to 49 meters from the ground, and the passengers were left hanging in midair.
Dododonpa is an updated version of the famed Dodonpa roller coaster and had gone into action the previous day.
“The riders were rescued soon after the stop. So, the situation was not so chaotic,” said a fortysomething woman who saw the emergency.
A park official said the attraction has four cars, and no abnormality was found during the pre-operation checks.
“It is impossible for us to avoid flat tires because tires go flat,” said an official of the roller coaster manufacturer.