Ferris wheel breaks down with passengers on board at Jambalaya Festival
GONZALES - A Ferris wheel at the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival broke down with passengers on board Friday night.
One rider, Randy Breaux, was at the very top when the Ferris wheel started failing.
"We didn't really think about it at the time, we kind of joked, like, 'well, maybe it's broken, we're going to die,'" Breaux said. "It wasn't funny about five seconds later when it lurched forward and made this slamming sound, we heard metal creaking and it just didn't sound good."
According to event organizers, one of the Ferris wheel's tires went flat which caused the ride to stop.
However, passengers on the ride and other festivalgoers have shared videos with WBRZ showing that the Ferris wheel structure had snapped and that workers had to manually rotate the wheel to get passengers off of the ride.
One rider, Hannah Landry, made a bold decision to make sure she was safe.
"Whenever we were getting close to the ground and they were starting to lose control of it and we were going fast, I just wasn't even thinking. I just grabbed my stuff and jumped off," Landry said.
For others on the ride, jumping wasn't an option. Faith Broussard was on the ride with her young children when the Ferris wheel jolted and almost flung her daughter from the side.
"We're at the top of the Ferris wheel and we felt the second jolt," Broussard said. "The whole entire thing leaned and my two-year-old went through the side gate and almost fell out of the siding.
"My niece and my two-year-old cried themselves to sleep that night because they were both shaken up from what happened and scared. I cried myself to sleep because I was just grateful that my kids weren't hurt or dead."
Her mother, Celine Runyon, watched the whole thing from under the Ferris wheel, praying for her family to make it down safely.
"She looked over at me that time and she was scared and I was scared and it really started sinking in that this can go really wrong," Runyon said. "So I started praying and some ladies on the side of me were praying. Thank God for all those men that came on that platform and tried to control it, they got those people off."
Festival workers were able to get all the passengers off the ride. No injuries were reported.
WBRZ has reached out to multiple officials for comment on the ride's malfunction but has received no response.
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