Fire Department Rescues 28 People Stuck Upside Down on AtmosFEAR Ride in Oregon

by | Jun 16, 2024 | Adventures

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Over two dozen individuals are recuperating following a harrowing experience on a theme park ride in Oregon that left them suspended upside down for more than 20 minutes.

On the afternoon of Friday, June 14, at approximately 2:55 p.m., 28 passengers were aboard the AtmosFEAR ride at Portland's Oaks Amusement Park when it abruptly stopped, leaving them hanging in its "apex position," as confirmed by the park in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

According to the amusement park, the operators of the AtmosFEAR — capable of rotating on either a 180- or 360-degree axis while flipping riders through the air — immediately contacted emergency services and initiated "emergency procedures." Portland Fire & Rescue and other first responders arrived around 3:20 p.m. and quickly worked to bring all riders safely back to the ground within minutes.

Portland Fire & Rescue responding to the incident on June 14, 2024. PORTLAND FIRE & RESCUE/FACEBOOK

"We deeply appreciate the swift response from first responders and our staff, ensuring a positive outcome today," park officials expressed in their statement. "We also thank the park guests for their cooperation in vacating the area promptly, allowing emergency teams to address the situation. Most importantly, we are grateful that the riders are safe and reunited with their families."

One of the riders, Daniel Allen, shared his emotional reaction with local ABC affiliate KATU, saying he began to cry upon reaching the ground. "I was crying, not from joy or anything else, just from relief. I was just so happy to be alive. I have never appreciated my life more. It was a real wake-up moment for me," he recounted.

Another rider, Jordan Harding, told the outlet that while she didn't suffer any medical issues from being stuck upside down, the experience was very uncomfortable. "My entire lower body was numb," she said. "Another rider advised me to hold my legs back, but it was incredibly difficult."

Harding also described her rescuer, a petite female firefighter. "She told me, 'I've got you,' and despite my doubts, she picked me up effortlessly. I was so overwhelmed, I gave her the biggest hug."

One rider, who had pre-existing health conditions, was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. All other riders were assessed by first responders and cleared to go home.

Portland Fire's Facebook post on Saturday, June 15, mentioned that rescue teams had trained for such scenarios, including emergencies on the AtmosFEAR ride specifically. "Our firefighters have preplanned this scenario and were prepared to execute our plan," the post read. "It may have taken a few extra minutes to return everyone safely, but our training ensures readiness for such unique emergencies. We leave nothing to chance."

The park noted that AtmosFEAR, which opened in 2021, had operated without any incidents until this event. Oaks Park announced that an investigation would be conducted with the ride's manufacturer and state inspectors to determine the cause of the malfunction.

Following the incident, the park closed for the day, and according to Oaks Park's website, the AtmosFEAR ride will remain closed until further notice.

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Written By Tyler James

Tyler James, founder of That Oregon Life, is a true Oregon native whose love for his state runs deep. Since the inception of the blog in 2013, his unbridled passion for outdoor adventures and the natural beauty of Oregon has been the cornerstone of his work. As a father to two beautiful children, Tyler is always in pursuit of new experiences to enrich his family’s life. He curates content that not only reflects his adventures but also encourages others to set out and create precious memories in the majestic landscapes of Oregon. Tyler's vision and guidance are integral to his role as publisher and editor, shaping the blog into a source of inspiration for exploring the wonders of Oregon.

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