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Passengers shaken when brakes fail on Kennywood's Pirate Ship ride

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. — Several people became nauseous after brakes failed on a ride at Kennywood Park, and crews were unable to stop it for 10 minutes.

The Pirate Ship ride swings like a pendulum, up and down, from left to right. The issue impacted the braking system, causing the ride to continue for 10 minutes until it could be safely stopped. A normal ride lasts around two minutes.

EMTs were on hand to help any riders who became sick once the ride stopped. No injuries were reported, but Kennywood said some children were shaken up.

The park says the pirate ship is 35 years old and has a good safety record, but 11 Investigates examined incident reports for the ride over the last seven years and learned the amusement park also had a similar issue with the Pirate Ship in December.


The ride was temporarily shut down after it operated longer than intended and one rider claimed to have passed out.

“After the issue in December, most of the internal components of the ride were replaced out of precaution,” said spokesman Nick Paradise.

Paradise told 11 Investigates that one of the components in the ride's drive motor that was recently replaced malfunctioned, causing Wednesday's issue. It was repaired and retested.

Paradise said the park inspects its rides daily, going beyond state safety requirements.

“Safety's our top priority here at the park; it has to be,” he said. “Our livelihood depends on the park being a safe place for our guests and our team members.”

The Pirate Ship was operational again Thursday.

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