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Oaks Park Ride Malfunctions

Crews Rescue Trapped Riders

Triage Area (Photo Courtesy of Portland Fire & Rescue)


On Friday, June 14, at approximately 3:00 p.m., callers to 911 reported that an amusement park ride, the AtmosFEAR at Oaks Amusement Park, had stalled. Callers stated the ride was stuck with an estimated 30 riders belted in and upside down. Within moments, Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) 911 call takers and dispatchers triaged the call and dispatched a high angle rope rescue response to the scene. This put in motion the multi-unit response with the closest fire Engine and fire Truck, along with the high angle specialty rescue team consisting of one fire Engine, one fire Truck, two Squads, as well as a Battalion Chief to oversee the command of the incident as well as the operations once on scene.


Dispatch also initiated the response of a medic unit from American Medical Response (AMR).


While enroute to the location, dispatchers updated the responding units and notified them that everyone on the ride was reported to be safely restrained by the ride’s safety equipment and that all riders were awake and breathing. Crews arrived on scene within about five minutes after dispatch. They then made their way to the ride, established command, and began to work with Park facility staff to troubleshoot the best course of action.


Simultaneously, out of an abundance of caution, a Medical Branch with a patient triage was established so that once the riders were returned to the ground, their medical condition could be evaluated. To augment the initial AMR medic unit that was dispatched, Command requested an AMR Supervisor and additional AMR medic units should there be multiple individuals needing transport.


Coincidently, approximately one year ago, Portland Fire & Rescue’s high angle rope rescue team was invited to participate in an evacuation exercise/drill for this very ride by Oaks Amusement Park. This training opportunity provided a strong working relationship and background for all involved as well as established a good pre-plan. As a result, PF&R and Park staff were able to manually override the system and safely return the ride and all riders to the ground. The ride was reported to have returned to the ground about nine minutes after this manual process began.


Prior to the riders being released, a medical evaluation was completed by PR&F and AMR medics to ensure there was no medical need and all vital signs were stable. The task of reuniting the riders with their parents once it was determined safe to do so was the next important task. PF&R worked with Park staff to reunite all riders with a loved ones who had made their way to the Park.


Out of an abundance of caution, it has been reported that one rider was transported to a hospital for observation after this incident. No further information will be provided about the patients age, gender, or transport location.

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