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Roller coaster riders rescued from 205-foot drop amid mechanical issues

A screenshot from a video by a Cedar Point rider shows the view at the moment the Magnum XL-200 begins a 200-foot plunge. Passengers of the ride were evacuated near this point on Tuesday after the roller coaster faced a mechanical issue.
Screenshot by NPR
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Cedar Point
A screenshot from a video by a Cedar Point rider shows the view at the moment the Magnum XL-200 begins a 200-foot plunge. Passengers of the ride were evacuated near this point on Tuesday after the roller coaster faced a mechanical issue.

Riders aboard a record-breaking roller coaster got a little more thrill than they bargained for Tuesday after the Magnum XL-200 froze at the top of a 205-foot drop.

About a dozen people were forced to evacuate the ride at the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, after a mechanical issue caused the ride to stop suddenly, according to local media reports and accounts of the incidentshared on social media.

A spokesperson for the park did not return NPR's request for comment but told Fox News Digital that the incident was a "standard ride stoppage" triggered by a "check engine light" situation. The steel-framed ride couldn't immediately be restarted.

Photos posted on social media show park staff leading the riders down a steep set of stairs, gripping a handrail. All passengers appeared uninjured.

When the Magnum XL-200 debuted in 1989, it was awarded a Guinness World Record for being the world's tallest roller coaster, the first to top 200 feet in height. Cedar Point, which calls itself the roller coaster capital of the world, has beaten its own record twice since then, most recently with the 420-foot-tall Top Thrill Dragster, which was closed after repeated issues.

A video shared by Ohio amusement park shows a view of the Lake Erie shoreline visible from Magnum XL-200's first drop. "If it's a clear day, you might be able to see the coast of Canada on the horizon," Cedar Point claims on its website.

The ride's steep plunge propels the coaster through a series of hills and tunnels, twists and turns, culminating in a "pretzel turnaround," which the park describes as its "signature" engineering feat.

The ride was still closed as of Thursday, according to Facebook users ina public group dedicated to discussing the park.

The incident is the latest in a string of roller coaster malfunctions that made national headlines this summer.

Last month, eight passengers of the oscillating Fireball at a Wisconsin festival were stuck upside down for several hours as rescue teams scrambled to conduct a mid-air evacuation.

Just days earlier, a 325-foot-tall roller coaster in North Carolina was closed for repairs after visitors reported seeing a complete fissure in one of its steel support beams. Inspectors later detected a second structural issue with the ride and declined to issue a certificate of operation,the Associated Press reported.

Another Cedar Point ride, the Wild Mouse, stopped unexpectedly twice during a preview phase in May, according to a report from Akron Beacon Journal. No passengers were reported injured.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.