Man upset he, 10-year-old son, weren't given harnesses to evacuate Cyclone rollercoaster
Fire department said it didn't feel harnesses were needed for safety, park says it followed procedure
A Moncton man says he's concerned about safety protocols after he and his 10-year-old son had to be rescued from a stuck coaster at Sandspit Amusement Park in Cavendish, P.E.I.
Mark Leblanc was at the amusement park with his fiancée and 10-year-old son on Tuesday during a family vacation on P.E.I.
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In an email to CBC, Leblanc said he and his son were on the Cyclone roller coaster when their cart stopped at the top because of an incident with another car on a different section of the track.
Leblanc said he and his son spent about half an hour in the cart before management climbed up the catwalk ladder to try giving the car a push.
"[He] said that the machine had malfunctioned and that it would not restart. He said this had happened before but it always had restarted," wrote Leblanc.
No harnesses provided
Leblanc wanted to get off the ride and was told that he and his son could walk down the coaster catwalk with management.
But Leblanc didn't want to do that without a safety harness.
He asked for the fire department to assist, but when they arrived, they didn't use harnesses.
Several firefighters escorted Leblanc's 10-year-old son and they all made it down safely but Leblanc said he doesn't feel safety was a priority.
"Needless to say my 10 year old was traumatized during and after from this whole experience," he said. "He was crying and screaming throughout the whole ordeal."
Sandspit management responds
In a statement sent to CBC, Matthew Jelley, Sandspit Entertainment president, said the park is "sorry for the concern and stress that this incident caused to the individuals involved."
"Sandspit Amusement Park is committed to providing a safe environment for its guests and staff," said Jelley.
Jelley confirms the ride stopped because of an incident involving another car on the coaster that night.
"One of the occupants requested the assistance of the fire department to get off the ride," he said. "They were told that the standard procedure was to remain in the car and have the ride restarted."
"Given their desire to be evacuated, park management made the call for the New Glasgow Fire Department via 911 to assist," Jelley continued to write.
"All ride systems were thoroughly reviewed and inspected prior to the ride reopening," he said.
New Glasgow fire department responds
New Glasgow Fire Chief Jason Peters said the fire department does provide harnesses to its workers, but did not feel they were necessary during Tuesday's rescue.
"That situation, as far as I could see, was a straightforward manoeuvre from the cart to the catwalk," he said. "If the situation was different and we needed the harnesses or other equipment we certainly would have called it in to do."
Peters said he believes this is the first time his department has conducted a rescue at Sandspit Amusement Park.
Leblanc said he's now considering legal action against the park and believes he and his son were put at risk.
"My 10 year old was traumatized during and after from this whole experience," said Leblanc.
"[He] is experiencing nightmares and has stated that he refuses...to go any rides again," he said. "My fiancée and I are worried about how this has really affected him."
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