A man by the name of Jeremy Wagner used to work as a paramedic and volunteer firefighter in the town of Conover, North Carolina, so he’s got an eye for detail when it comes to scoping out potential disasters. Thanks to his training and excellent camera work, and his insistence with local park security, he was able to ensure that everyone left Carowinds without a scratch on them. And that almost wasn’t the case.
“It takes just one time, just one time,” Wagner stated. The former paramedic noticed a huge crack in one of the support beams holding up the theme park’s Fury 325 rollercoaster. That’s pretty much every person scared of coasters worst nightmare. Can you imagine what might have happened to those on the ride if Wagner had not spotted the crack and intervened? Horrifying.
According to WBTV, Wagner just happened to be at the right place at the right time to help avoid a major tragedy. He was waiting for his children to finish one last ride near the entrance of the park, when the Fury 325 flew by and something got his attention.
“And I look up and I see a light, come through the pole,” Wagner stated. He said that as the next car whizzed by, he got his phone out and began taking video footage and watched it back. That’s when he saw the crack. “When the car came by, I saw it move.”
Wagner immediately took action, showing security at the park the video, urging them to shut down the rollercoaster. However, much to his shock, the park did not give him a clear answers as to whether or not they were going to shut the ride down. However, Wagner decided to call the local fire department and discovered that the park did shutdown the Fury.
“My heart was like relieved because I was just afraid, being the 50th anniversary, and the 4th of July weekend, are they gonna do the right thing? I just didn’t want to see something bad happen,” the former volunteer firefighter said. Caroline, Wagner’s daughter, took the Fury for a spin a total of 8 times, and wondered why her father was able to catch the problem before park employees. “I’m really surprised that someone from the parking lot had to get that crack because I feel like the employees should’ve gotten it,” she stated.
So how long had the damage been on the support beam? A whole lot longer than it should have, that much is for sure. A photograph was sent to WBTV by Tiffany Newton that shows the damage is present and is dated June 24. You can distinctly see the crack in the support beam when you zoom the picture in, which means this had been forming for at least a week.
Carowinds released a statement about the ride saying, “Carowinds today closed Fury 325 after park personnel became aware of a crack at the top of a steel support pillar. The park’s maintenance team is conducting a thorough inspection and the ride will remain closed until repairs have been completed. Safety is our top priority and we appreciate the patience and understanding of our valued guests during this process. As part of our comprehensive safety protocols, all rides, including Fury 325, undergo daily inspections to ensure their proper functioning and structural integrity.”
The theme park says that the coaster, along with the rest of the rides, are given a daily inspection, however, upon being pushed harder to explain how the crack was overlooked for a solid week, the media was told the park did not have any further comment.
American Amusement Park Museum posted on Facebook: “After the discovery of the cracked support on Fury 325 at Carowinds this is what guests will see coming to the park today …a shrink wrapped support column.
(The ride is closed until further notice, this is real and was taken this morning and is just a way to cover the crack until fixed)”
Photo: cropped screenshot from Jeremy Wagner video/American Amusement Park Museum on Facebook
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