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WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — First responders mobilizing, roller coaster riders slowing returning to base and a general sense of confusion on the boardwalk. That was the scene Tuesday evening when power went out for more than an hour in parts of Wildwood and North Wildwood.
“We just saw all the lights go out, we weren’t sure and then we just heard people panicking a little bit,” recalls James Matteo who was with his wife and daughters on the Wildwood Boardwalk.
Without providing details, Morey’s Pier says their staff was able to safely get all the passengers off their rides.
Eyewitness News wanted to know more about what safety measures are in place to protect amusement riders during power outages.
Anthony Catanoso, president of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, is a board member and past president of the New Jersey Amusement Association.
He says when it comes to power outages every ride is mandated by the state to have an emergency evacuation system in case there’s a power failure.
“Every ride is inspected several times a year by the state and every single day by us and they go through emergency evacuation scenarios for each ride during the inspection process,” says Catanoso.
For most rides, gravity will return passengers to the “back home” position under the control of manual brakes.
Rather than a large park-wide generator, back-up power is supplied directly to many large rides through batteries.
That’s when riders must forget the thrill and try to just chill.
“You come down at a very slow pace but you come down,” says Catanoso.