The ratings Gods threw a bone to the local TV media yesterday afternoon when the famed Silver Bullet roller coaster broke down at Frontier City with eight passengers aboard. The coaster was climbing a hill nearly 100 feet in the air and about to embark on the famed "Frontier City Fall of Death" when the malfunction occurred.
Always looking for a good story to appease the rubberneck inside all of us, Channel 4 and Channel 9 both scrambled their Bob choppers and sent them to the scene. Channel 25, which is not beholden to a national 5:30 news broadcast, shot the not-so-harrowing rescue from multiple camera angles while terrified onlookers munched on Dippin' Dots.
Oddly enough, the truck driver who crashed into the May Ave. bridge was one of the passengers. Actually, I'm kidding. I heard he spent the day getting trashed at White Water.
It was a ride at least a dozen passengers on board the Silver Bullet say they'll never forgot. Just as the Frontier City roller coaster reached the top, something went wrong.
Frontier City told News 9 a malfunction was the result of the lift stalling Wednesday afternoon. The car simply didn't have enough momentum to make it over the first hill.
According to the Frontier City website, riding the famed Silver Bullet roller coaster is "like being shot from a cannon as you rocket through high-speed steel." Based on the fact that it couldn't make it over a hill, it may be time to update the description or get a new cannon.
For more than an hour, eight Silver Bullet riders were stuck at the top of the ride.
“It took a while. When it just stopped clicking,” said Ruben and Coltan Flores.
Ruben and Coltan were two of the first off the roller coaster, helped down by Frontier City staff since their car was near the stairs.
“At first they told us they would just get us over the hill and finish the ride. But then after a while they said they couldn't and they will just get out down,” said Flores.
But those at the front of the ride were forced to wait for rescue crews to arrive. Fire crews handed out water and ice packs to the eight stuck on the ride first, then secured each car as they prepared for the rescue.
“It was scary. It was scary to watch,” said Elizabeth Rivera.
On a positive note, at least Frontier City figured out a way to make the ride scary. Also, I guess the survivors are lucky Kansas or The Village People weren't playing a concert when the mishap occurred. I would have hated to see people jump for their lives.
Anyway, I haven't been to Frontier City since I was in high school, which was a dark ancient time when teenagers used pagers, but I've been looking for an excuse to go back. Maybe this is it. I've never been stuck on a roller coaster, and considering you get a free bottle of water and some TV time out of the deal, it doesn't look like all that bad of an experience. Hell, maybe they should get Coors Light to sponsor it and make the malfunction a standard attraction. I'd be for it.