28 People Trapped Upside Down on Amusement Park Ride AtmosFEAR Rescued by Fire Department in Oregon

“I was just crying. I was more happy, I was alive,” a rider said after being taken off the ride and safely returned to the ground

<p>Portland Fire & Rescue/Facebook</p> Passengers stuck upside down on Oaks Amusement Park

Portland Fire & Rescue/Facebook

Passengers stuck upside down on Oaks Amusement Park's AtmosFEAR in Portland on June 14, 2024

More than two dozen people are recovering after a theme park ride in Oregon left them hanging upside down for more than 20 minutes.

On Friday, June 14, 28 passengers were riding Portland's Oaks Amusement Park's AtmosFEAR at around 2:55 p.m. when the ride stopped in its place, suspending them all upside down in its "apex position," the park said in a statement shared to X (formerly Twitter).

According to the amusement park, the ride operators working on AtmosFEAR — which can operate on either a 180- or 360-degree setting as it sends its riders flipping through the air on a loop — called 911 and began initiating "emergency procedures."

First responders, including Portland Fire & Rescue, arrived on the scene around 3:20 p.m., the park said. Within minutes all of the riders were taken off the ride and safely returned to the ground.

"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," park officials wrote in the statement. "Most of all, we are thankful that the riders are safe and with their families."

Park visitor Daniel Allen told local ABC affiliate station KATU that the experience stunned him so much that he began to cry when he finally touched the ground.

<p>Portland Fire & Rescue/Facebook</p> Portland Fire & Rescue responding to the incident on June 14, 2024

Portland Fire & Rescue/Facebook

Portland Fire & Rescue responding to the incident on June 14, 2024

"I was crying, not of joy, not of anything, I was just crying. I was more happy, I was alive. I don't think I've ever appreciated my life more. This is really an acknowledgement moment for me," he told the outlet.

Fellow AtmosFEAR rider Jordan Harding also told the outlet that although she did not suffer any medical issues from being stuck upside down, the entire experience was uncomfortable.

"My entire waist below was asleep," she said. "[A fellow rider] told me, he was like, 'You have to hold your legs back.' It was so hard. It was so bad."

"So there's this like woman firefighter, and she's like tiny, and she's like, 'Oh I got you,' " Harding continued, describing her rescuer. "I'm like, 'Are you sure?' And she literally, like, picked me up, and I was just so overwhelmed and everything, I gave her, like, the biggest hug."

One rider, who had pre-existing health conditions prior to the incident, was transported to a local hospital as a precaution, the park said. All other riders were assessed by first responders and given the go-ahead to go home.

According to a Facebook post shared by Portland Fire on Saturday, June 15, rescue teams had previously trained for this scenario, and the amusement park added in its statement that the team had even been trained to respond to an emergency on this exact ride.

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"[Firefighters] have preplanned this scenario and were en route to the site ready to deploy to put our plan into action," the fire department wrote in the post. "It may have taken a few minutes longer to return everyone to the ground, but we are ready for this and many other unique emergencies. We leave nothing to chance as we preplan and train on what 'could' happen before it actually happens."

According to the park, AtmosFEAR first opened in 2021 and has "operated without incident" until Friday — which was also the park's first day of operation for the 2024 summer season.

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Oaks Park told KATU that it would initiate an investigation with the help of the ride's manufacturer and state inspectors in an attempt to figure out what caused the ride to stop.

The park closed for the day soon after the incident, officials added, and Oak's website states that the attraction will be closed until further notice.

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