Jiashira Rivera was planning to go on the Lumberjack at Canada’s Wonderland Saturday night but when she got to the ride, she noticed that it was stopped with guests being held upside down.
Rivera said she initially thought it was being done on purpose, as if it was a part of the ride experience, but soon realized something was wrong.
“After we saw that everybody started recording, and my sister-in-law actually next to me kept telling me, ‘I think they’re stuck. I think they’re stuck,'” Rivera told Global News.
“I’m like, ‘No, they’re not. They can’t be.’ That’s when I started recording…. It was crazy. It was really scary, actually.”
Rivera’s video of the riders stuck upside down on the ride has since gone viral.
A statement from Canada’s Wonderland confirmed that riders were stuck upside down for around 25 minutes.
At around 10:40 p.m. Saturday, the Lumberjack ride “became inverted with guests onboard,” the amusement park, which is located in Vaughan, said.
Maintenance staff responded and the ride was brought down by 11:05 p.m., the statement said.
Guests were then unloaded and assessed by first aid staff before being released.
“Two guests reported chest pain and were attended to at the park’s health centre before being released without need for further medical attention,” the statement continued. “The safety of our guests is always our first priority.”
Rivera said when the riders were stuck, they started screaming.
“They kept screaming, ‘Get us down. Take us down. When can we go down?'” she said.
“Others were screaming, ‘Call 911. Oh, my God, we need to call 911.’ There were parents scared around us. After about 20 minutes, people started crying. It was definitely traumatizing.”
Rivera has a seven-year-old son and said she would have let him go on the ride had he been tall enough, prior to realizing it had gotten stuck.
“I don’t know how tall you have to be for the ride, but if my son could have got on, I would have probably let him get on it,” she said.
It’s not clear if there were children on the ride at the time.
Rivera said as she stood watching the ride stuck, she prayed that the situation would resolve safely.
“I just kept wondering, is anybody going to come? Because we were standing there for a while,” she said.
Rivera said a lot of those who were stuck on the ride “were in shock.”
“A lot of them were just holding onto their seats so tight because the guy on the mic kept telling them, ‘Hold on tight, hold on tight,'” she said.
“I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing.”
That was her first time visiting Canada’s Wonderland, and she had travelled from Buffalo to do so.
She said her visit was “definitely unforgettable.”
She said she doesn’t think she will be getting on the Lumberjack ride any time soon.
Alexandra Campbell, spokesperson for the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), said they are now investigating.
“We do have an inspector on-site. Wonderland and the ride manufacturer are co-operating with us. And so right now, we’re gathering information and doing that investigation,” she said.
Campbell said the ride has a capacity of 48 people and it’s believed it was at capacity at the time. She said nothing “of this nature, this magnitude” has happened with that ride before.
“A couple of years ago, this same ride did stop for a brief period of time,” Campbell noted.
“But certainly what happened on Saturday with riders being stuck for about 24 minutes on the ride, that is a very extended period of time. That should not happen.”
She said the ride will remain shut down until it’s understood what happened.
Campbell said “most … if not all” of the guests who got stuck went home after the incident, but part of the investigation will be gathering information to see if there were any “serious or lasting” effects.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Canada’s Wonderland said Monday that compensation is being offered to the affected guests but was “not able to provide” specifics.
The spokesperson said the investigation into what may have caused the incident is ongoing, but noted that there are various reasons why a ride might stop, as listed on the park’s website.
— With files from Catherine McDonald