A North Carolina roller coaster closes for repairs after a crack is found in a pillar
An amusement park in Charlotte, N.C., shut down a roller coaster after a crack was discovered in a steel support pillar, park officials said.
The crack was visible in the Fury 325 coaster at Carowinds almost a week ago, according to a visitor's photos shared on social media. On Friday, video of the fissure appeared to show that the pillar had become fully severed.
Carowinds said in a statement that all rides are inspected daily. But it wasn't until Friday that the park closed Fury 325 for inspection.
"The park's maintenance team is conducting a thorough inspection and the ride will remain closed until repairs have been completed," the park said in an email on Sunday.
Inspectors from the North Carolina Department of Labor's Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau plan to be at the park on Monday to investigate, said a department spokesperson.
The park describes Fury 325 — named after its maximum height of 325 feet — as the "tallest, fastest, longest giga coaster in North America," that reaches speeds up to 95 mph. A "giga" roller coaster is between 300-399 feet in height or has a drop within those limits, according to Coasterpedia.
After news of the crack circulated online, recent park-goer Tiffany Collins Newton posted close-up photos of the coaster that she said she took on June 24, showing what she believed was a crack starting to form.
"Looks like it had just started," Newton said in a Facebook post. "Or am I crazy?!"
Former paramedic Jeremy Wagner said on Facebook that he reported the crack to park officials on Friday. He told WBTV that he'd been waiting for his kids when he spotted the damage. In a video he took, a car of riders speeds past the gap, causing the top of the pillar to shift.
"I look up and I see a light, come through the pole," he told the local news station. When the next car went by, he said, "I saw it move."
No injuries linked to the damage have been reported.
"Things happen," Newton wrote. "I just hope this leads to MORE inspections and extensive safety checks in the future."
Once the Fury is repaired, Newton said she still plans to hop on the ride again.
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