Photos: Stratosphere ride gets stuck at State Fair again

Stuck stratosphere
The Stratosphere ride was stuck, leaving riders hanging for more than 30 minutes at the Minnesota State Fair on Friday, August 24, 2012.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Minnesota State Fair inspectors are working to determine what caused a new ride to malfunction for the second day in a row. The Stratosphere -- a 180-foot tall spinning tower with swings -- remains closed, after breaking down again Friday morning.

About two dozen people were stranded about 100 feet in the air for about 40 minutes Friday morning. Riders were safely removed and no injuries were reported. The ride also malfunctioned on Thursday.

The Stratosphere, which was made in Holland, is making its debut at the Minnesota State Fair this year.

Fairgoers have no reason for concern, according to Joe Bixler, the head of ride safety at the fair. He said today's amusement park rides have highly sensitive computer-run diagnostic systems. "These things are a little bit more like race cars," he said. "They are high performance so you're apt to have issues from what you're asking the ride to do. I just want everybody to know that this is a safe industry, and this ride chooses some of the best operators in the United States."

Head of ride safety Joe Bixler says initial inspections indicate the problem is electrical, not mechanical.

Once the cause of the malfunction is identified, crews will cycle the ride at least 100 times to ensure it's fixed, said Bixler. If no additional problems are found, the ride will be reopened.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.