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State shuts down carnival ride

The Power Surge, which stranded 20 riders, will probably stay closed for the rest of a church festival.

Published October 14, 2006

PINELLAS PARK - A carnival ride that stranded 20 riders in the air when it malfunctioned Thursday night will probably remain closed for the rest of the Sacred Heart Fall Festival, state officials said Friday.

Allan Harrison, an operations management consultant for the state Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection, said the state issued a stop operation order Friday that would prohibit carnival workers from operating the Power Surge ride until it was repaired and reinspected.

"This happens from time to time with rides," Harrison said.

The Power Surge has spiderlike arms that lift people up and down as they spin. When it fizzled Thursday night, some people were stranded in the air for three hours. No one was injured.

The incident took place just as many other local churches and community organizations in the area are gearing up to put on their own fall festivals.

State inspectors examined the Power Surge on Wednesday and cleared it for operation. A state inspection examines components of a ride before it is assembled, during the assembly and after the assembly.

But the ride conked out Thursday night because of electrical problems, Harrison said. It is unclear what caused those electrical problems.

The ride cannot be opened to the public until state inspectors examine it again and clear it for use.

The Power Surge at the Sacred Heart Fall Festival was operated by a company called Myers International; company officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The festival began Wednesday and runs until Sunday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the 8000 block of 46th Street N in Pinellas Park. The riders who were stranded Thursday night were offered their money back and a wristband good for unlimited rides for the rest of the weekend.

Church officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Harrison said some Power Surge rides had electrical problems when they were first released about six years ago. But he said the state had not heard of the rides breaking down frequently.

The Power Surge machines are manufactured by an Italian company called Zamperla Inc.

[Last modified October 14, 2006, 06:00:32]

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