32 riders suspended 40m in air as Universal Studios Japan roller coaster makes sudden stop

A flying nightmare.

Brenda Khoo | December 15, 2023, 12:24 PM



32 people in a roller coaster were reportedly suspended in mid-air at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, which suddenly stopped on Dec. 14.

The roller coaster ride called “The Flying Dinosaur” stopped midway at one of the highest points at around 10am (Singapore time), according to NHK.

Fortunately, there were no reported injuries.

What happened

In a video circulating on X (formerly Twitter), riders could be seen being suspended in mid-air after the roller coaster appeared to make an emergency stop.

Initially, some media outlets like The Straits Times and Saipan Tribune reported that the riders were left “upside down” or "hanging upside down".

Asahi Shimbun clarified that passengers were in a prone position throughout the ride.

Passengers take this Jurassic Park-inspired ride with their face and body facing downwards to imitate the motions of a flying dinosaur named Pteranodon, according to the official Universal Studios Japan (USJ) website. However, the ride does include 360 degree spins.

A video on USJ's YouTube channel demonstrates how riders are strapped in during the ride.

Screenshot from USJ YouTube.

A USJ park operator told NHK that the ride was carrying 32 people at its full capacity at the time of the incident.

USJ also told TBS News that the ride made an emergency stop “near the summit” just before 10am (Singapore time), which was about 40m above the ground.

No reported injury

The affected passengers were led to safety when staff evacuated them one by one from the roller coaster. The staff directed them to the fire escape route located next to the roller coaster rails, TBS News reported.

Evacuation was completed just after 10:40am (Singapore time), according to TBS News.

There were no reported injuries.

The ride reportedly resumed its operation around 11:30am (Singapore time), about 90 minutes after the emergency stop.

Unknown cause

USJ told TBS News that the roller coaster stopped automatically when “some abnormality was detected” by the sensors on the ride.

However, according to NHK, the exact cause of the incident remains unknown.

Apparently, this is not the first time that such an incident occurred on this ride.

In May 2018, the same ride also made a sudden stop, according to Kyodo News.

Here is the video of what happened on Dec. 14. The captions read, "If you stop at a place like this... 😰":

Top image from BgmBike/X and Flickr.