The request for help came last Tuesday after the roller coaster car they were riding in stopped on the track due to an issue with one of the other cars.
Fire Chief Jason Peters said while the department has responded to medical calls at Sandspit in the past, it was the first time it was necessary to evacuate someone from the ride.
He said the rescue was “smooth as could be” and described it as a straightforward assist since the cart had stopped next to the catwalk staircase and handrail.
“(The man) was quite happy that night with us and thanked us. Everything was great, the kid came and had a tour of our fire truck and got a little souvenir firefighter helmet,” said Peters, noting that the evacuation saw one firefighter walking in front of the father and son and another behind them.
Peters said he was quite shocked when he saw media reports this weekend with the man saying he was concerned the incident put himself and his son at risk due to no safety harnesses being used in the rescue.
“No one was hurt. I understand he was trying to make a point that safety harnesses should have been used, but there was no indication (he wanted one),” said Peters, adding that firefighters would have stopped and retrieved a harness if they had been asked to. “But based on where the cart was stopped (next to the catwalk) there was simply no reason to make it any more serious than it was.”
In a statement provided to media, Sandspit Entertainment President Matt Jelley said the park was sorry for any concern or stress the incident caused to the individuals.
“Sandspit Amusement Park is committed to providing a safe environment for its guests and staff,” stated Jelley.
He said the ride stopped because of an incident with another car on the roller coaster.
The park’s standard operating procedure being to send an operator up to the stopped car and then restart the ride with the individuals still in the car.
In this case, Jelley said one of the occupants instead requested the assistance of the fire department to get off the ride, so the call was made to New Glasgow Fire Department via 911 to assist.
He said the ride was reviewed and inspected prior to its reopening. He also thanked the fire department.
“We commend the volunteers of the New Glasgow Fire Department for their prompt and professional response.”
Peters said he was unsure of how long the cart was stopped before firefighters arrived. He said the time between receiving the call and getting the occupants off the ride was about 12 minutes.
He also said he felt the rescue was safe and added that all members of the department are volunteers.
“We assist in lots of situations we don’t know when we get there what we’re up against and our feeling is we don’t do anything we’re not trained for,” said Peters. “I have no issues with what took place, and if it happened again tomorrow I’d probably say that we’d do the same.”