Dozens of people stranded on a roller coaster at a Santa Clara amusement park were safely freed after a rescue effort that lasted nearly four hours, fire officials said.

Rescue workers responded to the call of 28 people stuck on the Invertigo ride at California's Great America about 1:45 p.m., said Santa Clara Deputy Fire Chief Augie Wiedemann. The last riders were rescued at 5:45 p.m.

The riders were seated in an upright position in the shade while stuck on a 45-degree slope.

Firetrucks with ladders and baskets were brought in to retrieve them.

Riders were as high as 80 feet off the ground.

"Everyone's very calm, we're able to have good access to all the people," Wiedemann said during the rescue operation. "It's going to be a long, methodical process because we'll have to take each one individually, one at a time." About 40 fire department and emergency medical service personnel assisted in the rescue.

According to the park's website, Invertigo is classified as a "thrill ride" that takes riders "through loops and boomerangs."

-- Corina Knoll

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