A state labor official revealed that an amusement park in North Carolina operated its high-speed roller coaster, known as the Fury 325, for approximately six to ten days while one of its steel support pillars was cracked. Carowinds amusement park eventually closed the ride on July 1 after receiving notification of the fracture at the top of the pillar.
North Carolina Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson stated that the crack may have been visible as early as ten days before the roller coaster was shut down. Photographs taken during that period showed the initial signs of the crack, which eventually led to the complete severance of the pillar.
A visitor to Carowinds, Jeremy Wagner, recorded a video on June 30 that displayed the wobbling of the Fury 325’s track as a coaster car zoomed past the cracked pillar. Wagner expressed his concern to park staff, who, according to him, appeared unconcerned about the situation.
Carowinds promotes the Fury 325 as North America’s tallest, fastest, and longest giga coaster, likening it to an enraged hornet in pursuit of its target. The ride reaches speeds of up to 95 miles per hour, boasts a peak height of 325 feet, and includes features like a 190-foot tall barrel turn and an 81-degree drop. To ride the coaster, visitors must be at least 4 feet and 6 inches tall.
A Carowinds representative stated that the ride’s manufacturer, Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers Inc., designed the roller coaster with safety redundancies in place to protect guests in the event of issues like the cracked beam. The park has already ordered a replacement support beam, scheduled for delivery within the next week. Following its arrival, the ride will undergo thorough examination, including accelerometer testing and inspection during 500 full cycles. Additionally, the park plans to incorporate drones equipped with cameras to access and inspect challenging-to-reach areas.
Carowinds has not yet responded to inquiries regarding Commissioner Dobson’s statements.