CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – A popular roller coaster at the Carowinds amusement park in North Carolina has officially reopened to the public after an alarming break on one of the coaster’s pillars caused a weeks-long shutdown.
On Thursday, Aug. 10, Carowinds reopened the Fury 325 coaster following repairs, testing, and a final inspection by the NC Department of Labor’s Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau.
“The return to operation marks the end of a comprehensive plan dedicated to ensuring the safety and operational readiness of the coaster,” Carowinds said on Thursday.
Recent concerns over the coaster’s safety were prompted by a video recorded by a parkgoer in late June, which appeared to show a significant break in one of the ride’s support beams — while the ride was in operation.
“I’m like, I can see light through that,” parkgoer Jeremy Wagner, who filmed the break, told News 2’s sister station, NewsNation, in early July. “To be sure, I checked the other support beams close by, and then the car came by and shifted as it did. And I knew then.”
The support pillar was replaced in July with a new steel column fabricated by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride manufacturer, ensuring alignment and fastening of the track and column connection. But later that month amid inspections, the North Carolina Department of Labor confirmed with News 2’s sister station, WJZY, that they were notified of a “weld indication” — essentially another crack or break — on the coaster.
Park officials confirmed shortly afterward that each indication would be evaluated, tested, repaired and inspected “before the ride is deemed operational.”
“Additionally, as is customary, we conduct test cycles to ensure its smooth operation before guests are allowed on the ride,” Carowinds officials said.
The ride has since been tested over 500 times, according to Carowinds. B&M and a third-party testing firm conducted a final inspection before Fury 325 reopened.
Since its reopening Thursday, plenty of parkgoers were not only willing, but excited to get back on the coaster.
“We asked the first guy [we saw], we’re like, ‘Oh, is Fury open?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah,’ and then we ran there,” one young visitor told WJZY.
Brandon Stoff, a theme park enthusiast, rode the coaster multiple times during his trip to Carowinds this week.
“It was an amazing feeling,” he said. “I rode the back row, then the very front row. It was the feeling I’ve needed in my life these past six months.”
Another visitor said the ride’s quick reopening gave him pause, but only temporarily.
“We came today, and we saw people riding it today, and I was like, ‘What in the world? Are you serious? Already?’ But I’ve got trust in these guys. They know what they’re doing.”