Green Lantern incident - the facts so far
Yesterday afternoon the Green Lantern coaster at Warner Bros. Movie World suffered an incident that saw several riders stranded on the coaster while rescue crews worked to safely release them. As online speculation continues, we sum up a few of the observation and known facts.
- Green Lantern is an El Loco roller coaster built by USA ride manufacturer S&S Worldwide.
- The ride opened at Warner Bros. Movie World in 2011.
- It is the largest El Loco in existence, and the only one to feature eight-seat cars instead of four.
- Like all roller coasters Green Lantern is powered by gravity; there are no motors or other components onboard the cars that propel it along the track.
- Each car features four wheel bogies, which each feature three sets of wheels: two road wheels sit atop the rails, two on the outer edge known as guide wheels, and two underneath the rail known as upstop wheels.
- The incident occurred around 12:50pm yesterday, Sunday March 15, 2015.
- Riders were all safely on the ground by 4:25pm.
- Village Roadshow Theme Parks have thus far only confirmed that it was "an issue with a wheel".
Riders onboard reported hearing unusual sounds before the ride stopped. Rachelle Williams, one of the riders on board told the Gold Coast Bulletin: "We heard like a grinding noise and all of a sudden we stopped really hard... we had no idea what was going on but there was a jolt and we could tell that we were tilted."
The car that stopped on the course was not in one of the block brake sections of the ride; it stopped on a turn that indicates that it was unexpected mechanical friction from the dislodged wheels that caused the car to stop, not the ride's safety systems. A second car was stopped on the lift-hill, either because of the ride's safety system, or from a member of the ride's crew manually activating the emergency stop.
The riders trapped on the lift hill were able to be safely evacuated as in a standard scenario such as a power outage, as there were no apparent mechanical faults with this car.
The first responders allegedly told the other riders trapped on the course that there were only two bolts holding the car on the track. Rescue teams first worked to secure the damaged car to the track with nylon straps before starting to unload the riders.
At least two sets of wheels have been seen to have become separated from the car. One on the ground underneath the ride, one on one of the platforms next to a section of brakes.
Both bogies appear to be missing at least one set of wheels each. The guide and upstop wheels appear to be missing from the front set, while the back set appears to be missing its upstop wheels, and its guide wheels appear to be disconnected from the bogie but sitting on the track directly beneath the bogie.
There is a possibility that rescue crews have removed some wheels once the car was safely secured to the track, in order to facilitate the safe removal of riders.
The front right bogie is entirely intact with all six wheels. The back right bogie is missing its guide and upstop wheels. None of the wheels on the car appear to be engaged with the track as they are under normal circumstances; the car at this point is balanced on the track completely unattached and unaided by any safety mechanism or system.
The guide and upstop wheels are the only mechanism designed to hold the cars securely on the track. When these wheels failed, it would appear that the car came to a stop where it did through chance rather than the intervention of any specifically designed safety or backup mechanism.
The cause of this incident is likely to be the focus of intense investigations from Village Roadshow Theme Parks, ride manufacturer S&S Worldwide, as well as local authorities to determine the cause.
At this stage all we have to go by is that no one was seriously injured, and all accounts suggest that it is a serious incident that could render Green Lantern closed for weeks or months.