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Cracked support pillar on Carowinds roller coaster will be replaced and reinspected before ride reopens, amusement park officials say


By Jamiel Lynch, CNN

(CNN) — After a parent spotted a cracked steel support pillar at the top of a North Carolina roller coaster last week, Carowinds amusement park said in a statement Thursday that its maintenance team is working with the damaged ride’s manufacturer.

The Charlotte-based amusement park and Bolliger and Mabillard Consulting Engineers Inc., the company that made the Fury 325 roller coaster, were working “in close coordination … to remove and replace the existing support column,” Carowinds said in a newly released statement.

Bolliger and Mabillard will build the new support column, which amusement park officials say they expect to be delivered to the park next week.

“Following the installation of the new column, and as part of our normal protocol for rides such as Fury 325, we will conduct an extensive series of tests to ensure the safety and integrity of the coaster,” the statement read.

Those will include an accelerometer test that uses sensors to measure any variations in the ride experience, Carowinds said in the statement.

Afterward, the ride will operate for 500 full cycles with tests and inspections of the entire ride occurring during the cycles.

“Once this phase is completed, we will ask (Bolliger and Mabillard) and the third-party testing firm to perform a final inspection to ensure the ride exceeds all required specifications,” the statement said.

Park visitor Jeremy Wagner recorded and zoomed in on the damaged pillar using his phone on June 30, CNN previously reported.

The video showed the cracked pillar moving slightly as the roller coaster’s passengers whizzed by.

Additional inspection procedures will also be implemented to address future potential issues, according to Carowinds.

The company’s website lists the Fury 325 as “the tallest, fastest, longest giga coaster in North America” with a peak height of 325 feet.

Giga roller coasters feature between 300- and 399-foot drops, according to Ohio-based Kings Island amusement park.

The Fury 325’s reopening date will be finalized after inspections and testing are completed.

The amusement park also plans to work with the North Carolina Department of Labor’s Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau to prepare for the ride’s reopening, according to the statement.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Marnie Hunter, Mitch McCluskey, Jillian Sykes and Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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