Thursday, August 05, 1999

Lightning struck Kings Island ride

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Paramount's Kings Island officials say Drop Zone, the park's 315-foot high-rise tower, should be up and dropping again this weekend after getting struck by lightning.

        Park spokesman Bill Mefford said the lightning strike occurred late Saturday after the park had closed for the day, so no injuries resulted. He would not release information about the cost of the repairs.

        “We've had crews out working on the ride all week,” Mr. Mefford said. “It could open today or the next day. The damage wasn't very extensive damage.”

        Mr. Mefford said shutting down the ride has not affected attendance at the park.

        Drop Zone is one of two new rides — Face/Off is the other — that Kings Island unveiled this season as a part of its $40 million upgrade project. Park officials estimated the ride, which opened in May, cost around $10 million.

        The high-rise tower is the park's tallest peak, registering 15 feet taller than the 300-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower. Drop Zone sets a record as the world's tallest gyro drop tower, according to park officials.

        Drop Zone spins riders up on a 30-foot ring of 40 seats 26 stories in the air (as high as The Cincinnati Enquirer building at 312 Elm St.) and then drops them at a 67 mph free-fall to the ground.


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