Sheikra roller coaster stuck; passengers rescued
TAMPA (FOX 13) - Dozens of passengers aboard the Sheikra roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay had to be rescued from 200 feet up after the ride became stuck on the tracks Thursday afternoon.
A park spokesman told FOX 13 that 64 people were stuck on the ride for about an hour. The view from SkyFOX showed park rescue teams helping each rider out of two separate cars -- one of which was stopped just before the top of the ride's 200-foot-high initial hill, and the other a few yards ahead, just feet from the big drop.
"We're just kind of going up there and, right before the drop, five feet before, it just kind of stopped," recalled Ryan Cannon, who said he was on the ride when it became stuck.
He added it took about 30 minutes from the time the ride halted for workers to even being evacuating riders.
"I didn't think I had a fear of heights, but I guess being up there, it was pretty scary," he said, describing the moments when park workers helped get riders out of their seats and down to the ground. "It was pretty scary. I mean, everyone's kind of up there, kind of joking about it, and then... time passes and we're starting to get freaked out."
Busch Gardens staff evacuated all the riders using steps next to the coaster and a cart that rode up the side of the track to the stranded cars.
VIDEO: Watch raw SkyFOX video of the rescue
PHOTOS: Aboard the ride
Mercifully, a nearby storm stayed away from the park, sparing the stranded riders from having to cope with a soaking rain as they waited.
Not long after 6 p.m., all of the riders had been rescued. No one was injured.
It was not immediately clear why the ride had gotten stuck.