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Great America's popular Invertigo roller coaster dismantled for investigation

Effort under way to determine cause of malfunction that left 24 riders stranded

State investigators, and personnel from Great America, are dismantling the Invertigo roller coaster as part of the effort to determine what caused a malfunction that left 24 riders stranded in mid-air for more than four hours last month.

Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said she did not know exactly when the dismantling began. No information will be released until the investigation is concluded, she said.

Preliminary reports indicate that on Aug. 10, the lift chain that pulls riders up the tracks on the roller coaster's 138-foot lift malfunctioned. Urban search and rescue crews from San Jose, Santa Clara and Santa Clara County fire departments conducted a four-hour rescue operation to release 24 riders from their protective harnesses and return them safely to the ground.

Cal-OSHA's elevator, ride and tramway unit is dismantling the ride as part of its follow-up investigation, according to Monterroza. Investigators may send specific parts away for analysis, she said.

The investigation also involves interviewing riders and staff and examining maintenance records for the ride, she said. It's not yet clear when the investigation will be complete.

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