Carowinds could open for the season next weekend without its tallest roller coaster if workers can't fix a mechanism that malfunctioned this weekend on the Borg Assimilator.
Employees were riding the coaster on its 51st test run of the season Saturday when the mechanism that keeps the seat in position disengaged, said park spokesman Scott Anderson. The ride had already passed a state inspection this year.
That failure triggered a safety precaution built into the ride: The car the employees were riding in stopped at the base of the vertical loop. The ride hits 115 feet -- 11 stories -- at its highest point, according to the park.
When the car stopped, the 16 employees riding it were about 8 feet from the ground and climbed down a ladder to get out, Anderson said. Seven were treated and released with minor injuries at Carolinas Medical Center, Anderson said.
The S.C. Department of Labor will investigate. The theme park is scheduled to open for the season next Saturday. The park will open as planned, although the coaster will not operate until they know what went wrong and fix it, Anderson said.
Workers are taking the passenger train completely apart to find and fix the problem, he said. This is the first time in four seasons that the park has had a problem with the coaster, Anderson said. 'We're not going to open it until it's safe, and we know what happened and whether it will happen again,' he said.