Kingda Ka broken strap inspires this New Jersey mom’s Christmas card
A Monmouth County mom used her scariest moment of 2018 as inspiration for her family's holiday greeting card.
Sandra Morelli of Marlboro is a self-professed thrill-seeker, but says she doesn't ever remember being as terrified as when her shoulder harness broke on Six Flags Great Adventure's tallest and fastest roller coaster (the second fastest in the world).
Morelli visited the Ocean County theme park this past August and boarded Kingda Ka solo, as she had several times before. Her two young daughters waited behind with their grandma, Morelli's own mother. This time, Morelli said, one of her shoulder straps came loose an instant before the coaster lurched forward on the track (The theme park has pointed out that the ride's lap bar remained secure).
When the ride pulled back to the platform, attendants quickly saw what had happened.
Six Flags Great Adventure spokeswoman Kristin Fitzgerald released this statement: "The safety of our guests is our No. 1 priority and we apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused Ms. Morelli. Every ride in the park is equipped with a custom-designed restraint system. The shoulder straps on Kingda Ka are for comfort only, and are not part of the safety system. The lap bar holds guests securely in place, and it functioned properly. The strap in question was replaced and our records indicate that our Guest Relations management spoke to the guest at length on August 31, explaining that the safety system functioned properly during her ride and that she was safe at all times."
Morelli said she's been disappointed with how her situation has been handled — she was eventually offered and accepted a discount on season passes.
She does have the ride photo of her harrowing moment as a keepsake. The memory also made for a lively Christmas card this year, as Morelli used her design skills and enlisted her family to help re-enact the ride.