28 rescued after ride malfunctions at century-old amusement park in Oregon


Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers at Oaks Park to manually lower the ride, but crews had been prepared to conduct a high-angle ropes rescue if necessary. All riders were being evacuated and medically evaluated, and there were no reports of injuries.

One rider with a pre-existing medical condition was taken to a hospital for further evaluation as a precaution, Oaks Amusement Park said in a statement posted on social media. Medics released all other passengers.

Rider Daniel Allen told CBS News affiliate KION that the ordeal was “just crazy.” 

“My entire bladder hurts. I was holding back throw-up. My legs are killing me,” said Allen. 

Oregon Amusement Ride Rescue
In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with people trapped upside down in Portland, Ore., on Friday, June 14, 2024.

Tieanna Joseph Cade / AP


The ride, called AtmosFEAR, operates like a pendulum, with the capacity to swing riders completely upside down. Jordan Harding, another passenger on the ride, told KION people were “praying to God, screaming for their life, throwing up, passing out,” while they waited for help.

“The ride went up, the kids got stuck on the ride and they were just dangling,” Lavina Waters, a witness to the incident, told KION. “And somebody came in and said ‘Hey, the kids are stuck on the ride’ and I look up, and sure enough, they were stuck on the ride.”

When the ride stopped, park staff immediately called 911 and emergency responders arrived about 25 minutes later, the park statement said. Park maintenance workers were able to return the ride to its unloading position minutes after first responders arrived.

Portland Fire said about 30 people were on board. The amusement park statement said there were 28 riders. KION also reported 28 riders. 

Oregon Amusement Ride Rescue
First responders arrive at Oaks Park for a ride that is stuck with multiple riders in Portland, Ore., Friday, June 14, 2024.

Oregon Amusement Ride-Rescue via AP


The ride has been in operation since 2021 and has not had any prior incidents, the park said. It will remain closed until further notice. Jon Harrell, a Portland Fire and Rescue spokesperson, told KION that crews are familiar with the attraction.

“I know that our high and go rope rescue team has specifically drilled as recently as last year on this ride and extrication of individuals from this ride,” he said.

The park said it would work with the ride’s manufacturer and state inspectors to determine the cause of the stoppage.

“We wish to express our deepest appreciation to the first responders and our staff for taking prompt action, leading to a positive outcome today, and to the rest of the park guests who swiftly followed directions to vacate the park to make way for the emergency responders to attend to the situation,” it said.

Oaks Park first opened in 1905. Its website says it offers a “uniquely Portland blend of modern thrills and turn-of-the-century charm on a midway that has delighted generations of Northwesterners.”



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