Shore roller coaster didn’t fail when test dummies plummeted into hotel, operator says

The Gale Force roller coaster at night. (Bill Barlow/for NewsWorks)

The Gale Force roller coaster at night. (Bill Barlow for WHYY)

The operators of a Jersey Shore amusement park say one of their roller coasters is safe after a pair of water-filled test dummies fell off during a recent test ride.

The GaleForce coaster at Playland‘s Castaway Cove in Ocean City, New Jersey was undergoing a routine safety check April 20 when the dummies plummeted into the Ebb Tide Suites next door, damaging the building’s shingles and plywood.

Park officials say the dummies had undetected leaks that made them lose their mass and shape, causing them to fall. They say that wouldn’t happen to humans and that nothing on the ride failed during the test, including the lap bar that secures riders.

Officials say the coaster, which peaks at 125 feet and reaches a top speed of 64 mph, has run problem-free since the mishap and is tested daily for about two hours.

Brian Hartley, a theme park official, told NBC10 that there were no injuries, the hotel was quickly repaired, and the test dummies were then disposed.

“Safety is our top priority. “It’s something we do every single day. We’re checking the rides in and out,” he told the television station. “We’re going to have to do a better job at checking those tubes and making sure there’s no leaks obviously, before we send them out.”

This season marks the amusement park’s 60th year and the roller coaster’s third year in operation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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