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Roller-coaster riders at one of Beijing's major amusement parks were left hanging upside down for almost 20 minutes when a bird stood on one of the ride's safety sensors.

The Happy Valley Amusement Park in the Chinese capital said it took 18 minutes to bring the 26 riders to safety during the incident on Saturday afternoon. The roller coaster was back in operation later in the day.

The park said in a statement that a bird had landed on the sensor and in doing so activated an emergency procedure, immediately stopping the roller coaster as it travelled upward.

Ironically, the Happy Valley park describes the ride on its website as "the feeling of flying like a bird."

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