RED SPRINGS, NC (WBTW) – A ride at the Red Springs Carnival is closed after it stranded four people about 100 feet in the air for more than an hour Wednesday night. According to the ride owner, this isn’t the first time the machine has malfunctioned, and engineers are now inspecting the ride to make sure it’s safe.
The Starflyer ride has a safety brake that stops the ride if it begins to come down too quickly. Wednesday evening, that brake kicked in unexpectedly, trapping the four riders.
Four different agencies were dispatched to the scene; the Red Springs Fire Department, Pembroke Rural Fire Department, Red Springs Rescue and the Red Springs Police Department.
Red Springs Fire Chief John Ammons says 1st responders worked together to safely remove the people from the ride.
“We train to use the ladder trucks all the time for fire situations but this is the 1st time we’ve ever had to use it for an actual [ride] rescue,” said Chief Ammons.
Midway Rides of Utica owner Dana Peck says the malfunction at Red Springs Carnival isn’t the first problem the ride has experienced.
“It’s happened one other time,” admits Peck. “At that time we made a minor adjustment and we didn’t have any other problems last year.”
Following Wednesday’s malfunction, engineers and mechanics are checking the ride to make sure it does not lock up again. Despite the scare the riders experienced, Peck says traveling carnivals are actually safer than other parks that host rides because of the daily inspections and knowledgeable staff.
“They are machines,” says Peck. “It’s a situation where the state comes in and they inspect us. We have daily inspections that we carry out ourselves. It’s a situation where things can happen.”
Red Springs Police Chief Ronnie Patterson says the carnival doubles as a fundraiser for the Christmas Shop with a Cop program.
“All my officers and administrators, we get together and find the kids that need it the most and we give them $100 apiece. We take them to Walmart and pick out the items they want for Christmas,” explains Chief Patterson.
The Red Springs Festival is the first carnival and fundraiser in two years because the last vendor was using outdated equipment, according to Chief Patterson.
“So far everything was going fine until this happened. But we will get it corrected and make sure that the kids are safe out here,” assures Chief Patterson.
The ride is closed, but the Red Springs Carnival will be open until Sunday, then the traveling carnival will head to Georgia.