GATLINBURG (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workplace Development granted Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster permission to resume operation Wednesday.
The coaster was closed for repairs after state officials say a passenger was thrown from the ride on Sunday.
The office says a third party inspector was sent to the coaster, but a complete inspection found no issues. The inspector said the roller coaster was in proper working order at the time of the incident.
The victim was the front passenger of a double ride sled and was thrown from the sled. She suffered fractures to both wrists, a knee cap, a wrist, head trauma and possible broken ribs. She was taken to a hospital for treatment. A police report obtained Tuesday indicated she was not wearing her seat belt.
The Department of Labor required the company to comply with “remedial measures.” The department worked with the company to achieve statutory compliance requirements.
The amusement ride, however, said on their Facebook page they decided to close the coaster after they discovered a sensor issue during a system check. The park said they have ordered the part from the manufacturer in Germany and they will be closed for a few days while they wait on the part.
“It was a spur of the moment closing, but it was a decision made with public safety in mind,” said Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. “We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to see you soon.”
A number of visitors to the Smoky Mountains stopped by Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster Wednesday. for a chance at fun.
“It was like a big toboggan ride,” said Mark Ashton visiting from Cleveland, Ohio.
Some riders say they didn’t know the coaster was closed but they aren’t worried.
“I don’t like the fact that it happened but it’s just one of those things,” said Michael Hipp from Great Falls, South Carolina.
The coaster has since been inspected and repaired.
“They paid close attention if you were buckled or not and explained to you thoroughly how to slow down if you wished to do so,” said Ashton.
“They checked me, the seat belt, about five to six times, then they went through all the gestures, asked if you had any questions. Thumbs up if you had anything else about the ride, pull down to go, pull up to stop,” said William Hipp.
The general manager of Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, Anthony Cordina said the fact that the coaster is back open speaks for itself.
Before visitors get on the ride, we noticed, there’s a warning message played on the speakers.
“Keep your seat belt buckled, keep your hands inside the car, if any lost articles drop you can’t get them until the next morning. Don’t bump, don’t stop on the track,” said William and his dad John Hipp.