Cedar Point’s WildCat reopens
From the Sandusky Register…
Cedar Point officials have confirmed the WildCat reopened at noon today after the park’s staff made adjustments to the braking system.
“What we did after it closed on Sunday was a complete evaluation of the ride’s operating system,” Cedar Point spokesman Robin Innes said.
A four-person car on the ride failed to stop as it came into the loading station at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The brakes on the ride have been adjusted and inspected, Innes said. The ride was reinspected and tested against today before reopening, he said.
Cedar Point put the WildCat back in its cage until the park can figure out if it’s still tame.
One of the WildCat’s four-person cars crashed into a stopped car at the loading station at about 5 p.m. Sunday, leaving seven riders with bumps and bruises. No one suffered serious injuries, said Robin Innes, Cedar Point spokesman.
Park operators still chose to shut down the WildCat until they can make sure it’s safe, Innes said.
The moving car was carrying four people when it ran into the stopped car.
“We transferred seven people to our first-aid station for examination and treatment for bumps and bruises,” Innes said.
Four people left the first-aid station without further treatment, while Cedar Point took the other three to Firelands Regional Medical Center as a precaution. The three received treatment but were not admitted to the hospital, Innes said.
One of the three was met at the hospital by her parents, at which point she apparently called it a night and went home.
The other two returned to Cedar Point. They mentioned they were hungry, so park employees gave them French fries and drinks, Innes said.
Cedar Point told the U.S. Department of Agriculture — which regulates amusement rides — about what happened, said Erica Pitchford, a USDA spokeswoman.
Because the riders weren’t actually admitted to the hospital, the crash was considered an “incident,” Pitchford said.
If anyone had been admitted to the hospital, it would have been classified as an “accident” and Cedar Point would have been required to file a report.
Lamont Burnett, 32, of Detroit, Mich., walked by the silent ride Monday afternoon and learned it was closed.
“I was going to get on it,” said Burnett, who remembered riding it when he was a kid. He had hoped to get his sons, ages 11 and 12, on the WildCat as a relatively tame introduction to the wild world of roller coasters.
But the WildCat has been a wild ride more than once.
On May 16, 2008, a WildCat car traveling up a hill didn’t make it all the way, and instead rolled backward and hit the car behind it. Nine people were injured, eight of whom were treated at the park’s first-aid station.
The ninth person was taken to the hospital, treated and released.
After that, Cedar Point closed the ride for a month, reopening it only after replacing a section of track. Cedar Point has operated two identical WildCat rides since 1970, using one to replace the other.
Like all Cedar Point rides, WildCat still has an impressive record: Since 1970, more than 26 million people have enjoyed it without any problems.
During the last three summers, more than 300,000 people rode it.
By comparison, more than a million people rode eight of the most popular roller coasters at the park.
Park officials have other challenges on their plate still — they continue trying to get WindSeeker going.
As of Monday, training for WindSeeker crews hadn’t started yet, Innes said.
Cedar Point has yet to ask the Department of Agriculture to inspect WindSeeker, a necessary step in getting the ride licensed, Pitchford said.
LaGrange residents Michael Gaydles, 18, and Jeff Wirth, 18, both season pass holders, stood next to WindSeeker on Monday, gazing up at the towering beast.
Gaydles said he’s anxious to ride it because it’s so tall and it’ll swing riders out over the lake.
As Innes walked near WindSeeker, park visitors stopped him again and again to ask about it.
Innes told all of them the ride will be running “as soon as possible.”
“We have a lot of people anxious to ride it,” Innes said. “We’re anxious to get it open.”