Carnival ride owner speaks out after children rescued from roller coaster


15 Children had to be rescued from a roller coaster in Lackawanna County after a ride malfunction Friday night. Now the owners of that ride are clearing the air.

Stephen Swika III, owner of Swikas Amusements LLC, says the roller coaster did exactly what it was supposed to do: stop in its tracks the second a problem arises.

The incident happened at the annual Jefferson Township Volunteer Firefighter Carnival. The children were rescued by firefighters after being stuck for two hours. None of the children were hurt.

Swika says there was some sort of mechanical issue that is being looked into. He says although the ride was safely tested after the incident, the decision was made to take the ride down and get to the root of the problem.

"In this state we have a very good safety record," Swika said.

Swika says he is a certified inspector and that rides are checked everyday.

The ride in question is a new only-one-of-its kind backspin roller coaster that debuted this summer.

Despite this incident, many people still showed up to the carnival the next day. "We've been to a couple of these and we've never had any problems so I don't worry about it too much," Ryan Coleman said.

Coleman attended the carnival with his young son.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's website has tips for you to stay safe at carnivals and amusement parks. It reminds patrons that all inspected rides have a registration plate mounted on them as well as information posted about inspections. It also asks patrons to follow all ride instructions and to properly use safety equipment.

Members of the Jefferson Township Volunteer Firefighter Carnival Committee say this is the first incident to occur since they have partnered with Swikas Amusements 12 years ago.

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