NC Launches Carowinds Roller Coaster Review Amid Discovery of ‘Rare’ Crack

The Fury 325 roller coaster at Carowinds, one of the tallest and most popular coasters in the world, has been under investigation since Monday, when a guest discovered a break in a support pillar.

The steel roller coaster was shut down that day, but many questions remain about the events leading up to that point at Carowinds, including what caused the crack, when it first showed, how the crack was missed during Carowinds’ daily ride inspections, and how close the amusement park came to a potential disaster.

The Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau of the North Carolina Department of Labor was at the park on Monday as part of an ongoing investigation. The organization is responsible for inspecting amusement parks. Jim Seay, president and owner of Premier Rides in Baltimore, which makes roller coasters and other attractions, compared the inspection process to that of an airplane.

Premier has collaborated with Cedar Fair Parks, the parent company of Carowinds, for three decades. Minor defects in a steel weld can lead to cracks and fractures, according to Seay. According to Seay, the park will likely organize the repair with Bolliger and Mabillard, the Swiss company that manufactured Fury 325.

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Seay remarked that the crack was really unusual. He also noted that it is extremely unusual for an amusement park patron to notice a problem with a ride before the park’s technicians and operators do. Premier has not had a comparable incident with its rides. Monday, Carowinds failed to reply to inquiries seeking comment.

In a statement to The Charlotte Observer on Saturday, Carowinds said, “The park’s maintenance team is conducting a thorough inspection, and the ride will remain closed until repairs have been completed.” Fury 325 is located in North Carolina at the Carowinds amusement park, although the ride itself goes into South Carolina.

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An official from the North Carolina Department of Labor told the Observer that “the ride has not been problematic in the past.” Observer news partner WSOC reported that the roller coaster passed its most recent inspection on February 23. Spotting the Fury 325 Vulnerability This year marks a special landmark for Carowinds; it is the park’s 50th season of operation.

Eight years ago, in March 2015, Fury 325 premiered to considerable excitement. With drops of 300 to 399 feet, Fury 325 is a “giga” coaster. At its highest point, Fury 325 is nearly 20 feet higher than the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Then, the coaster begins its 81-degree drop.

NC Launches Carowinds Roller Coaster Review Amid Discovery of 'Rare' Crack (1)

According to Carowinds, the maximum capacity of Fury 325 is 1,470 riders per hour. The duration of the ride is around 3 minutes and 25 seconds, and its top speed is 95 miles per hour. On June 25, Carowinds marked the 500,000th rider of the season on the coaster with a social media celebration.

On Friday, June 30th, over a week after the initial incident, a video was released showing bikers passing over a broken pillar. According to Wagner, the top of the pillar moved as the roller coaster car passed by it. According to WSOC, it took over an hour for Carowinds to shut down the ride after he reported it to the fire department.


Seay claimed that after watching the footage, he was no longer concerned about anyone’s safety. He said that the coasters are built to withstand strain and include backup systems to prevent breakdowns. Manufacturers, parks, governmental agencies, and insurance companies all have inspection requirements. Hardware and fasteners are inspected on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Spotter scopes, as well as the increasingly common use of drones, can be used to inspect the columns without having to climb them. Seay claims that both Carowinds and Cedar Fair are quite reputable in the amusement park industry. “I know (B&M), which is a competitor of Premier, but they are a gold-standard producer of equipment to the highest standards,” he said.

You should be much more concerned in getting to the park safely and getting home than getting on the rides that have all these layers of inspections going on.” Seay urged park visitors to notify the ride operator or another employee if they noticed a problem with a ride.

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According to Carowinds, every day before the park opens, technicians verify each ride, checking its mechanical, structural, and electronic components. A full ride cycle is also part of the inspection process. The inspections of each ride are conducted using a corresponding checklist.

The National Safety Council’s 2021 Fixed-Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey has an injury rate of 0.9 per million rides. In excess of 6,000 entertainment industry members from over 100 countries are represented by the International Association of entertainment Parks and Attractions, for whom the aforementioned research was prepared.

Approximately 400 North American fixed-site facilities host over 385 million guests and 1.7 billion rides annually, as reported by IAAPA. Caitlin Dineen, a spokesperson for the IAAPA, said, “As an industry, we work to continuously improve the safety protocols of the global industry.” IAAPA board member Seay was referred for comment on the Carowinds incident, which she declined to discuss.


Eight years ago, you could ride the Fury 325’s three open-air trains down its 1.2-mile track. For the past six years, the trade magazine Amusement Today has awarded it the best steel roller coaster in the world. According to Amusement Today, the FAA had to approve the coaster’s construction at Carowinds because of its height and proximity to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Bollinger and Mabillard, the company that built the Fury, also made the Vortex and the Afterburn, two additional roller coasters at Carowinds. Construction cost around $30 million, not including public funding for the land it occupies. Company representatives did not return requests for comment on the Carowinds tragedy.

Steel roller coasters like Apollo’s Chariot at Virginia’s Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Florida’s Mako, Ohio’s Diamondback and Ohio’s Orion, Pennsylvania’s Candymonium, and New Jersey’s Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure are all the work of Bollinger and Mabillard.

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There have been a few incidents with guest safety at Carowinds: The Flying Cobras at County Fair at Carowinds broke down last year, leaving riders stranded for 30 minutes. The park reported an unanticipated ride interruption on the lift on April 29, 2022.

On April 10, 2022, riders on the Electro-Spin ride became suspended upside down in the air. The attraction can reach heights of 64 feet and rotates around a 360-degree axis. Guests were “returned safely to the ground” “within minutes,” Carowinds told Newsweek.

The theme park also denied the allegation of carelessness in a federal complaint brought by a guy who had his hand severed while on the job at Carowinds in 2019. Fury 325 got caught at least three times in a week after it first opened in 2015, but no one was wounded. It was a safety feature, according to park officials. There were no casualties or passengers who needed to be evacuated.

After investigating the situation, Tommy Petty from the Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau concluded that “it’s probably more safe than your automobile.” After getting stuck about 20 feet in the air on April 4, 2015, the Observer reported that 20 passengers had to be removed from the Flying Ace Aerial Chase ride in the Planet Snoopy kids area.

When the mechanism that holds the seats in place detached during a test ride of The Borg Assimilator roller coaster (now called Nighthawk) in March 2007, the Observer reported that seven of the sixteen personnel on the ride suffered minor injuries.

This was the week before the park opened for the season. The ride’s built-in safety feature kicked in, and the car the maintenance personnel were in came to a halt at the bottom of the vertical loop when the ride’s mechanical failure was detected. Carowinds claimed at the time that a worker had unintentionally pressed a button that removed seat locks, forcing the cars to halt at the bottom of a loop.

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