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Carowinds thrill ride closed for inspection

A popular ride at Carowinds, the Drop Zone Stunt Tower, has been temporary shut down after an accident at a similar ride in Kentucky sliced off a girl's feet.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. of Sandusky, Ohio, said it closed the Drop Zone at Carowinds on Thursday evening and rides at four other amusement parks "as a precautionary measure."

A 13-year-old girl's feet were sliced off Thursday afternoon, while she was riding the Superman Tower of Power at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, said Wendy Goldberg, a Six Flags spokeswoman.

It's unclear at what point in the ride the girl was injured, Goldberg said. The girl was taken to a hospital, where her condition was not available Friday.

The Superman Tower lifts passengers 177 feet straight up, then drops them nearly the same distance at speeds reaching 54 mph. The 11-year-old Drop Zone at Carowinds is similar, lifting passengers 160 feet in open-air transports before dropping them at speeds reaching 56 mph.

The Carowinds ride was inspected by the N.C. Department of Labor on Friday and a decision was made to replace several of the cables on one of the ride's gondolas, according to a statement from the park. The cables were stretched about .014 of an inch, said the park, which described the stretching as "minor."

It's unclear how long the ride will be closed, said park spokesman Scott Anderson.

State inspectors were at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville to examine the Superman Tower of Power, where the accident happened.

The other rides that were shut down as a result of the accident are at Kings Island near Cincinnati; Canada's Wonderland, in Toronto; Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va.; and Great America in Santa Clara, Calif.

Six Flags shut down similar rides at parks in St. Louis; Gurnee, Ill.; and near Washington as a safety precaution, said Goldberg. She said Six Flags Over Texas, near Dallas, also has a Superman Tower of Power, but it is not the same ride.

There had been no reports of injuries on the ride before Thursday, Goldberg said. "Millions of people have safely ridden this ride in our parks," Goldberg said.

Intamin AG, a Swiss company, made all the rides but did not supply all the parts, said Sandor Kernacs, president of the company's American operations, Intamin Ltd. in Glen Burnie, Md.

Bill Clary, a spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which inspects amusement park rides, said a cause hadn't been determined Friday afternoon.

Brett Barroquere of the Associated Press and Greg Lacour of The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.

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