Ride on Kemah Boardwalk malfunctions, broken lightbulbs rain down


by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News


Posted on August 11, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 12 at 4:09 PM

HOUSTON—A grandmother’s plans with her grandchildren made a turn for the worse when a ride on the Kemah Boardwalk malfunctioned.

Barbara Amaton pictured a memorable afternoon with her four young grandchildren at the Kemah Boardwalk Thursday night. She even brought her video camera.

"Everybody was just all excited," she said. "The kids were picking out which rides they wanted to go on."

But their visit became memorable for the wrong reasons after a ride called "The Aviator" malfunctioned just after 6 p.m.

The ride features flying swings. Riders were slowly ascending, and were nearly 30-feet off of the ground, when they heard a loud boom.

"It was pretty scary," Anthony Amaton said, "some of [the ride] collapsed."

"It jerked the ride twice," Barbara Amaton said. "We didn’t know what was going on and then we heard screeching like they put the brakes on."

The ride stopped. Riders could hear orders from below to stay in their seats. Many could also see and hear falling debris.

"I heard someone shout ‘Watch out for your eyes,’" Samantha Amaton said. "I heard a bunch of stuff hitting our car, which I found out was light bulbs breaking."

As they were slowly lowered down, riders learned that no one was hurt.

The boardwalk’s general manager, Mark Kane, later released a statement.

"Our primary concern is always for the safety of our guests and employees," it read. "Our rides, maintenance and safety teams followed safety procedures to get all guests off the ride."

The statement also revealed that they were examining all aspects of the ride to determine a cause.

Barbara Amaton said a representative from the boardwalk gave her and her family free passes to come back. She told 11 News that she does not know how soon she will feel up to using them.