Hairy moments guaranteed for thrill-seekers
A new attraction at Ocean Park promises to be a hair-raising experience as visitors twist, turn and plunge at mind-blowing speeds.
It's the Hair Raiser, the city's first floorless roller coaster that is touted to be the scariest of five new rides opening to the public today.
Tourism sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, invited by the park to try out the new rides yesterday, was stunned by the Hair Raiser, which travels at 88kmh.
'It's like going through heaven and hell ... Luckily I'm back to earth after 45 seconds,' said Tse.
The rides are all at Ocean Park's new Thrill Mountain themed zone, which sits on a hilltop and is dedicated to mechanical rides.
The area is the third expansion zone launched by the park this year, following Aqua City in January and The Rainforest in June.
The two attractions helped attract 6.6 million visitors in the first nine months of this year, 12 per cent above the same period last year.
Park chairman Allan Zeman said: 'We are expecting a 20 per cent increase [year on year] in the number of visitors this Christmas.'
Apart from the Hair Raiser, the other new attractions include a Whirly Bird, that spins passengers around 30 metres up in the air, a bumper car ride, a family-friendly ride that swings to music and a bungee trampoline.
Another ride, the Flash - which swings in full circles and suspends passengers upside down at its peak height of 22 metres - opened earlier this year.
The new Thrill Mountain lifts the total number of rides to 27 - a figure that could raise some eyebrows in the light of several setbacks at the park over the past few months.
Its 27-year-old Dragon roller coaster trapped passengers for an hour due to a faulty sensor, while the Mine Train roller coaster, with 23 passengers, ran into the back of an empty car. No one was hurt.
Zeman stressed that the new rides had been well tested before the launch today. Regarding the recent mechanical breakdowns, the park had sought advice from consultants and was upgrading hardware more frequently than standard procedures required, he said.
A Polar Adventure themed zone is set to open in the middle of next year featuring penguins and spotted seals.
Youngsters said they were satisfied with the speed and views from the Hair Raiser.
'Unlike other roller coasters [which only go up and down], this one starts spinning after it goes uphill ... I was worried that my shoes would fall off,' Jason Wong Ho-ting, 21, said.
Student Angela Leung On-ki, also 21, said she had enough time - and courage - to keep her eyes open to take in the sea view as the ride turned upside down.