State inspector says Magic Springs 'not required' to report malfunction unless injury occurs

Reviewing records for Magic Springs roller coaster

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - Roller coasters are supposed to be thrilling and scary, but a roller coaster malfunction is a nightmare to some.

 A day after a roller coaster at Magic Springs broke down and left riders literally hanging for over an hour, we looked to see if there were for any previous problems.

The X-Coaster opened and operated normally Tuesday according to Michael Wampler, the director of marketing and sales at the park. He wouldn’t allow our television cameras on the property on the day after the malfunction, but told us off-camera that management is satisfied with the response to the malfunction.

The ride became stuck at around 2:30 p.m. Safety measures pulled the seats to a vertical position, and then anchors eventually came in to bring the cars back down to the ground. Park personnel brought water to the stuck riders as they waited for an hour to get off the ride.

In the social media response, many said the ride has a history of getting stuck. There was a documented case in 2007, one year after it opened.

We requested state inspection reports since 2013 from the division within the state Department of Labor that oversees amusement park rides.

The X-Coaster was manufactured by the German company Maurer and it opened in 2006.

Magic Springs is the only permanent amusement park in the state and the reports indicate the ride has for the most part been hassle-free.

Magic Springs runs seasonally, and there are state inspections at the start and end of the season.

In April 2013, the park appears to have changed the wiring for the ride. Inspectors wanted documentation from the manufacturer that those changes met Maurer’s guidelines.

The next year, four more notations:

  • Inspectors demanded a battery for the backup power supply.
  • A wire leading to the control panel had become exposed. That's not up to electrical codes.
  • The fire extinguisher didn't appear to have been checked monthly, and the sign for height requirements and other cautions needed to be replaced.

In April 2015, the state wanted repairs done to a seat covering and found cracks in a part called the "lap bar plate."

Since then, the X-Coaster has been clear as far as the state is concerned.

We began the process of requesting injury reports at Magic Springs, but state inspector Mark Lawrence stopped us short and said he hadn’t heard of one since he took the job.

Lawrence also said Magic Springs is not required to report a ride malfunction like Monday’s to the state unless someone gets hurt.

He said nobody has contacted them about the X-Coaster specifically, and that reports from the public are usually more for carnival and fair rides that break down.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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