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Six Flags investigating coaster stall in Maryland

Monday - 8/11/2014, 6:55am  ET

roller coaster Six Flags (Courtesy Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department, PGFD Company 14)
Fire and rescue crews worked Sunday to get all 24 people on the roller coaster off safely. (Courtesy Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department, PGFD Company 14)

WASHINGTON -- Six Flags America in Prince George's County will be conducting an investigation into what caused a roller coaster to stall Sunday, leaving 24 people suspended 80 feet off the ground for several hours.

Fire and rescue crews freed the two dozen people stuck on Jokers Jinx roller coaster Sunday afternoon.

Officials can't yet say what caused the roller coaster to stop, but Six Flags will investigate over the next few days.

"The ride has a sophisticated, computerized safety system that can cause such ride stoppages. While we are not yet sure what caused the stoppage, the ride performed as it is designed to," said Six Flags America in a statement.

The ride became stuck around 2:30 p.m. with 17 adults and seven kids aboard, suspended 80 feet off the ground. Given umbrellas and water by rescue crews while they waited, no injuries were reported.

It was 7 p.m. before the last rider was safely on the ground.

Part of the reason the rescue process was slow was because each person needed to be harnessed in each car before the restraints were released.

"When you release a restraint on individual cars, everyone in the car is in a released position -- that can't happen," said Marc Bashoor, fire chief for Prince George's County.

Before the crews began pulling people off, Bashoor said, "They're either going to be using a crane that's on its way here or use of a rope and bridle system to bring folks down. This is a type of situation where we slow down. Nobody's hurt. They're in an inherently safe position."

Fences and fence posts needed to be taken down to make room for the ladder trucks.

According to the park's website, the Jokers Jinx roller coaster has a launch system that gets riders from 0 to 60 MPH in just over 3 seconds.

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