California's Great America has finally reopened the Invertigo rollercoaster, almost a year after a mechanical failure left 24 people trapped on the ride.
The Vekoma inverted shuttle rollercoaster was closed on August 10, 2009, when the incident left riders stranded 70 feet in the air. All of the trapped guests were rescued safely after firefighters were called to the scene, but the ride has remained out of action while safety inspectors worked to identify the cause of the malfunction. Invertigo has now been cleared to return to operation, and carried its first guests earlier this week.
Invertigo has suffered from three major mechanical failures since opening in 1998, including a similar incident in April 2000 which saw 25 riders become trapped on the coaster. None of the incidents has resulted in serious injury. The 2009 incident was blamed on a problem with the ride's lift chain.
The coaster sees riders boarding inverted trains, with seats arrayed in a "face-to-face" formation. This leaves half of the passengers facing forwards during the first trip around the "boomerang" course, and the other half facing backwards. During the return leg, the situation is reversed as the train traverses the course in the opposite direction.
Invertigo features a total of six inversions (three in each direction) and a 138-feet first drop.