Kennywood Pirate Ship Ride Malfunction Leaves Riders Frightened And Sickened

WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — Several people spending the day at Kennywood were shaken up Wednesday afternoon when the park’s popular Pirate ship ride malfunctioned and crews were unable to stop it for about 10 minutes.

No injuries were reported, but several of the riders became nauseous.

The giant ship swings back and forth like a pendulum, but officials say the malfunction caused the brakes to fail.

Kennywood has now shut down the Pirate ship’s operations, but many riders say they’ll never get on the ride again.

“I was terrified. My kids are crying. There was people behind us panicking. There was a guy in front of us, he was ready to get sick,” said one rider who did not want to be identified.

“It just kept on going, and I just got really scared, and I was feeling really sick, and I was crying. I was just terrified,” said rider Evan Paulick.

The ship is supposed to operate with controlled pendulum swings, left and right, up and down. It is set up to have a controlled stop, but the malfunction caused it to keep swinging.

“The ride is usually only about a two-minute ride. We were on there at least 15 minutes,” another rider said.

He also did not want to be identified, but says when they finally got off, the park was prepared for the worst.

“When the ride stopped, there was a team of mechanics out there, escorting us off the ride. Also, EMTs were there, helping anybody that was sick,” he said.

A spokesman for Kennywood calls it a relatively minor issue. They say the ride finally stopped using a secondary brake system.

The Pirate ship is 35-years-old, and Kennywood says it has a good safety record.

This malfunction comes one day after the new Thomas Town train went off the tracks. Kennywood says because of the newness of the ride, it still needs some adjustments. It reopened to the public today.

Meanwhile, riders trapped on the Pirate ship may skip the ship next time.

“I would never go on that ride again,” Paulick said.


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