Florida State Fair patrons get stuck upside-down on ride

Florida fairgoers got stuck upside-down on a ride that malfunctioned at the state fair Friday in a “nightmare” situation that left them thankful to be alive.

The Ferris wheel-type ride, which features enclosed carriages that swing and flip upside-down, slowed down due to its safety mechanism acting up — which caused some of the carts to get stuck upside-down as riders held on “for dear life,” according to patrons and local news station WFLA.

The attraction, called the Enterprise, does not have safety belts and some riders said they feared they would fall through the open-air carriages as they waited up to a half hour to be rescued.

“The ride … malfunctioned on us, leaving us stuck in midair upside down, no seat belts with gaps big enough to lose grip and fall,” Alexis Cresong shared on Facebook. “We were hanging on for dear life to the bars as they got us down, without knowing what was to come.”

The Enterprise normally moves at a speed in which the centrifugal force keeps riders pinned to their seats, according to the NBC-affiliate station. Without the momentum, patrons were left falling within the carriages and grabbing onto the bars.

Cresong said she thanked god she got home safe, calling the Florida State Fair “an absolute nightmare.”

“I truly can’t describe how it felt to see your life flash before your eyes,” she added. “God was definitely with us. I’m definitely holding my baby closer tonight.”

Another woman who had been trapped on the ride with her terrified children said she suffered bruises while being knocked around in the Ferris wheel cart.

“im [sic] a little bruised the kids were traumatized .. but we have our life it could have been a different ending” Janine Chantelle wrote on Facebook and attached photos of her black-and-blued arm and leg.

Ferris-wheel type ride at Florida State Park
Riders said they held on for dear life when the ride malfunctioned.
Brandi Freymuller via Storyful
Ferris-wheel type ride at Florida State Park
The ride has no safety belts, instead relying on momentum that keeps riders pinned to their seats.
Brandi Freymuller via Storyful


Ferris-wheel type ride at Florida State Park
Fair officials said the ride’s safety mechanism was triggered which caused it to slow down.
Brandi Freymuller via Storyful


The mom also shared a video she took while stuck high above the park grounds on the ride as she held onto her young son Noah.

The frightened child started crying on the ride as they waited to be brought down.

“I promise I’m going to be a good boy for the rest of my life,” Noah said in the heartbreaking video. “I promise everybody.”

The video shows several workers moving the ride by hand as they worked to get everyone off. Two workers on a cherry picker truck help two girls off another cart onto the platform of the raised cherry picker.

The boy then said he was happy his sisters are OK as workers send their carriage back up higher in order to keep the ride balanced with the number of people onboard.

“Mommy, my legs, my arms are slipping,” Noah cries out as the pair grips the bars of the cart high above the ground.

“I got you, son,” Chantelle assured her son. “As soon as those people get off, they can let us back down, OK? A couple more seconds.”

The manager of the Florida State Fair told WFLA that the safety mechanisms of the Enterprise were activated, which caused the ride to shut down “as designed.”

“We swiftly began exiting guests from the ride, in the most safe and timely manner,” said Frank Zaitshik, owner of Wade Shows and midway manager of the state fair. “All safety and emergency protocols were followed. A thorough inspection will be conducted into what triggered the safety mechanisms.”

The ride remained closed for the remainder of the state fair “out of an abundance of caution,” Zaitshik said.

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