Yup. Some are saying the ride has been stuck since 2:30. Riders were given ponchos when the quick impending weather came and now the fire department is in the process of the evacuation.
What strikes me is that they didn't push the train forward/ backward and evacuated the riders in the designated stopping areas. In case anyone was wondering, no the train wouldn't launch if they pushed it into the second trench. If the ride system is off or E-Stop activated, then the train will hit the brakes at the bottom of the trench. And there is a special catwalk down there to get the riders off. This is the same thing that would happen if they pushed it back into the first launch. So there must be some reason that they didn't do this.
I can't tell from the pictures. But I don't see anything around the wheel assemblies to hold it in place. Of course I haven't seen the best pictures or any close-ups. Maybe they are just running on hope . This is why they open the restraints one at a time in situations like this though. If something did occur and the train rolled, then the other riders are still secure.
EDIT: Just saw this article.
Tampa Bay said:
Park personnel tried to nudge it free so that it would roll back to the platform on its own, but that didn't work, so they called Tampa Fire Rescue to get everyone off the ride.
In my edit in my above post, the article stated that the train was lodged when they tried to roll it back.Which means a loose article, wheel damage, axle damage, ect. could all be the reason. Certainly is weird to randomly happen.
Also it's weird that the operators may or may not have noticed an issue as the train was rolling through the station as well as how it successfully completed the launch.
Chances are it will be closed at least through tomorrow, if not several days. In an event like this, the state usually will come out and review things, along with the internal investigation that will certainly be launched.
Yes, I would like to chip and say that with a launch coaster, it's highly expected for the ride to stall out on the crest of a hill (even possible on other coasters). Look at Top Thrill Dragster, it has stalled out 4 times I believe now. For Top Thrill Dragster they just push the train backwards and relaunch them once some adjustments are made.
In this case it is a bit different and the state having to be called might be a little much. The only thing I can see it being warranting a re-inspection is that the fire department was called for the evacuation because it couldn't be moved.
Also adjusting the launch up 5mph would have done nothing, the issue would have just been somewhere else since it sounds like a component in the ride vehicle malfunctioned.
Will that specific train not be in operation for a day or two or even longer, more than likely, but I do suspect that after the overnight reveals that there is nothing wrong with the launch (or maybe there is, in which case the ride will be closed) or the track, I can actually see the ride being open tomorrow. Of course a few un-manned test launches will occur just to be on the safe side on top of a careful eye by the operators.
A few other things that can speculate is that something broke away in the launch track and found its way into between the gap between the track and the wheel lodging it. There are a lot of variables here obviously. Hopefully the maintenance team will be able to solve this mystery quickly. If anyone knows which train was on the helix, I would keep an eye out on it to see if it's in operation the next time it opens.
By far one of the worst comments made in regards to this specific issue:
That ride needs to be torn down. I waited 3 hours to ride it 2 years ago and never got too because of mechanical problems.
The things that urks me with this comment was it is 2 years old. In that 2 year time frame it had been operational much more than Mach Tower at BGW. People should realize that this type of incident has not occurred previously. In fact I just feel like the general public is very confused. Half of them seem to think that it was shut down to severe weather and then complain that when it stopped there was no severe weather. Another half think that the ride gets stuck in odd spots such as this one all the time, which is partially true but not exactly. Then there are some who think the ride has had nothing but consistent incidents back to back since opening day because they couldn't ride it the only time they have even visited the park right when it opened.
I just find it absurd that someone who probably has not visited the park in not just weeks or months but years would assume that because of their one experience years ago that it has been consistently like that and this is just icing on the cake to closure. People really should learn to use critical thinking because you know it is critical. If you ride it close to it's opening it is bound to have a few errors especially with a large machine like a coaster. The only fair thing you could really say is that you try to find out what the issue was last time compared to this time. I am fairly certain this had not happened previously because it is making news, making the situation more complicated than just 'mechanical error'.
However, thanks Evan and Bill for keeping us informed about what the situation is and hopefully keeping further coverage as the situation develops.
I was at Busch Gardens yesterday and rode the Cheetah Hunt twice in a row minutes before it got stuck (I was actually walking through Edge of Africa when I heard the announcement that the ride would be closed).
After the initial launch, the train is sent around the first corner to the lower tunnel for the second launch. It was apparent when I, along with my sister, rode it the second time that it was barely making it over the first turn. It was so noticeable that we, at the time, mentioned that if it were to fall back, it was engineered to brake us where it had propelled us earlier.
Thus, it had been running slow prior to its final run, and not just that particular time. This was 1.5-2 hours before the storm came through, and it was not windy, so that had nothing to do with it. Also, they were running only the first train yesterday with the second one roped off (typical during the week in the off-season). So, there may be an adjustment to how fast the train is propelled when it's coming from a dead stop (second train waiting for the first to clear) and when it's got a rolling start (when the first train is launched).
I was there this morning too, and no, it was definitely closed. The ride operators were all standing outside of the ride apologizing to guests (Skyride was closed as well):
Also, maybe BG management can take this as a hint that the Cheetah Hunt is too tame
I don't think anyone is saying that weather was the issue, it just happened that the storm popped up after the start if the incident and they had to wait things out before they could actually do much, this of course is what I believe based on the reports I'm hearing.
I think it was noted earlier, but the speed of the launch is not the problem either. While it may seem right there, it was more than likely designed with that in thought. Thus the system allows for the train to be rolled back and relaunched, I'm assuming that is just typical operations and it probably happens more than you think about it.
The real issue that is causing all the main attention is that the train got stuck, like it could not be moved forward or backward. This issue is what is so unusual and this is the reason why this incident is newsworthy because this just doesn't happen all the time. Rollbacks, sure they are whatever, but getting stuck mid-ride, not so much.
So what is the status of the train? Is it still stuck in place? Was it able to eventually be pushed forward or backward? If the train was blocked in place and unable to be rolled back into the first launch then if they were able to move it since the incident, would they have noticed anything on the track that may have blocked the train and essentially the source of the problem?
Of course, just trying to make sure it's clear, I'm gathering all this from what I have heard and from what I understand. i'm not expert nor am I on location in Tampa, but I'd like to clear up the issues so I can understand the facts.