MONTREAL - Halfway through the roller coaster ride, Alex Paradis's safety harness came off.
The 12-year-old was left dangling, completely and utterly helpless, 35 metres above ground, halfway through his trip on the Boomerang, one of La Ronde's oldest thrill rides.
"I was scared," Alex said in a telephone interview this week. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I tried to lower (the harness). And then I closed my eyes."
Alex and his friend Marc Boudrias, also 12, boarded the coaster just after 4 p.m. during a trip to the amusement park on July 6. Despite the malfunction, they made it back to solid ground with no injuries -just a terrifying memory.
"I panicked a bit," Marielle Lagace, Alex's mother, said of her reaction to the news. "It was dangerous. I was scared for my boy."
The Boomerang, which opened in 1984, is one of La Ronde's most popular roller coasters. It pulls riders up about 35 metres before dropping them through a series of loops at a speed of 75 kilometres per hour. After that, riders are pulled up again, this time backward, only to repeat the same loops again.
It was at the beginning of this second backward drop that the harnesses came undone.
The same thing happened to two other riders in the same car. They left the site before they could be identified.
Luckily, the impressive speed of the ride ended up saving the boys. Thanks to centrifugal force, the youngsters were pushed into their seats for the remainder of the ride.