Firefighters Rescue 2 From Bungee Ride

Man facing fear of heights on bungee ride gets stuck for hours

A man trying to get over his fear of heights on a bungee ride at a Dallas amusement park instead dangled at least 50 feet in the air for three hours.

Dallas firefighters used a fire truck ladder to free William Macera and Thalia Rodriguez from a ride at the Zero Gravity Thrill Park along Interstate 35 Monday night.

They were checked at the scene for possible heat stress on an evening when temperatures were near 100 degrees. Neither were injured in the incident.

Macera said he promised Rodriguez, his fiance, he would ride the Texas Blastoff to face his fear of heights.

But his fear of heights "won again," Mancera said.

"I'm never riding anything of that sort ever again," he said, laughing.

Riders on the Texas Blastoff are strapped into racing seats, then catapulted 150 feet into the air using bungee cords attached to two giant poles, much like a slingshot.

"I was pretty confident: 'It's going to be over with in less than 60 seconds; no problem,'" Mancera said.

His 60-second thrill ride ended as a three-hour ordeal.

"We just went for a fun ride, and it turned out to be the worst ride of my life," Mancera said.

Dallas Fire-Rescue was called when management couldn't repair the problem. But the first fire truck that arrived did not have the equipment needed to rescue the couple.

A special fire engine with a basket attached to the ladder was used to bring Mancera and Rodriguez to safety.

The couple, who are marrying in February, said the ordeal brought them closer together.

"If we can get past that, I'm sure everything else is good," Mancera said.

The Texas Blastoff remains closed as the company investigates why the malfunction happened.

The Zero Gravity's website touts a "flawless safety record."

The Texas Department of Insurance, the entity that inspects amusement parks and thrill rides, said all of Zero Gravity's rides are in full compliance. The Texas Blastoff was inspected in February of this year, department spokesman Jerry Hagins said.

Zero Gravity has no injury reports for the last five years.

Each thrill ride in Texas is inspected yearly and should have a sticker with a date that is less than a year old, Hagins said. An expired sticker should be reported to local law enforcement.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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