WindSeeker Rides Shut Across Nation For 'Internal Review'
BUENA PARK, Calif. (KTLA) -- The parent company of Knott's Berry Farm has shut down its WindSeeker rides nationwide after a malfunction earlier this week stranded 20 riders in mid-air for hours.

Cedar Fair, which operates a dozen amusement parks, will conduct an internal review on the $5-million Windseeker rides at parks in California, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Canada.

"Safety is our No. 1 priority, and the company will not open a WindSeeker ride until an internal review has been completed," Cedar Fair said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Cal/OSHA investigators determined on Thursday that a brake failure caused the ride to stop on Wednesday.

"When the brake froze, the ride safety mechanism did what it was supposed to do; it stopped the ride," said Erika Monterroza, a Cal/OSHA staffer.

The riders were stranded in their seats for nearly four hours 300 feet above the ground. Cal/OSHA says that it wants to know why they were stuck for so long.

The WindSeeker, a 32-person gondola ride that goes up to a height of 301 feet, stopped swinging at around 4 p.m. when the safety security system activated, according to Knott's.

The ride was lowered and the riders were returned safely to the ground by about 7:50 p.m., the theme park said.

No medical emergencies were reported among the passengers, according to a park spokeswoman.

Donna Garrison, who was one of those stuck on the ride, told KTLA that she was terrified that the whole thing would plummet.

KTLA also spoke to a woman who showed up to wait for her friend, who was stuck up in the air but was using his cell phone to communicate.

"He was really scared," she said, remarking that she could hear a change in his voice.

On Sept. 7, an electrical problem shut down the same ride, leaving passengers stuck for several hours.

"Safety is Knott's number one priority and we are committed to the protection of all our guests," Knott's said in a statement.

"Each of our rides is inspected, check-listed and properly maintained daily. Knott's will continue to consistently monitor and inspect the rides and operation thereof."

The WindSeeker, built by Dutch-based Mondial Rides, opened to the public on Aug. 24.