Lowndes, Valdosta rescuers prepare for disaster - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes, Valdosta rescuers prepare for disaster

By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

November 4, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Wild Adventures prides itself on the safety of the park and it's visitors. But what if their worst case scenario happens?

Eight riders get trapped on the very top of their Hangman roller coaster. That's more than 120 feet above the ground.

"It can happen. It probably won't but we want to be prepared for the worst," says Vice President of Park Operations Steve Honeycutt.

100 rescue workers from Lowndes, Valdosta and Wild Adventures put this scenario to the test today.

"We just wanted to get everyone together, make sure we had the resources to meet the needs of the park if they should call on us and to make sure everyone is communicating properly," says Paige Dukes of the Lowndes County Commissioners Office.

Then performed high angle rescues to get each of the trapped riders down.

Performing a high angle rescue is no easy job because to rescue these trapped riders, firefighters must dangle 12 stories off the ground.

"Their high reach is not tall enough to reach that. It's 110 feet tall so they have to repel the folks down to the bucket," Honeycutt says.

Practice and patience were the name of the game Tuesday. It took them more than three hours to get everyone to safety.

But it's time well spent because a disaster like this could happen any time.  "This is not the only high angle situation here in Lowndes County so it's great for us to have training opportunities such as this," Dukes adds.

If it does, these rescue workers believe they are ready.



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