About 20 thrill seekers have been rescued from a stalled rollercoaster at Gold Coast theme park Movie World, after spending about an hour and a half trapped in stifling heat.

But the theme park has come under fire on social media, after releasing an ill-timed tweet promoting its roller-coasters, as rescue crews worked to free the trapped patrons.

A mechanical issue with a chain caused the Arkham Asylum Coaster to malfunction just before midday local time, as a heatwave swept across Queensland.

The tourists remained dangling for about 90 minutes, Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Paul Young, said, with the last of the passengers freed about 1.20pm local time.


Sixteen passengers were removed using evacuation procedures, via the emergency stairs, but four required help from firefighters, a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesman said.

Two were rescued using a ladder platform, while the other two were harnessed and lowered to safety.

Young said the passengers varied in age from about 10 to 50 years.

He said they were assessed once on the ground but none required medical treatment.

"They all looked a bit flushed and a bit hot as you would imagine, sitting in the sun," he said.

"They were in good spirits, they were laughing.

"No one appeared to be fazed by it."

Emergency services including paramedics and fire rescue crews were sent to Movie World after the Arkham Asylum ride malfunctioned. Photo / Channel Nine News
Emergency services including paramedics and fire rescue crews were sent to Movie World after the Arkham Asylum ride malfunctioned. Photo / Channel Nine News

Movie World general manager Greg Yong said a "mechanical issue with the chain" had caused the Arkham Asylum roller coaster to stop.

He confirmed staff had been in communication with passengers and given them water throughout their ordeal.

Temperatures across Queensland and New South Wales soared today, as a heatwave sweeps across Australia's east coast.

But a poorly timed Twitter message was sent via Movie World's account, even as passengers were being rescued from the ride.

The tweet, sent at 1pm, showed a picture of one of the Gold Coast theme park's rollercoasters with the message: "Tag someone that you think should add these to their New Year's Resolutions! #repost #movieworldaus"

The message led to several negative comments from other social media users, suggesting the theme park rethink its use of autotweets.

The original tweet has since been removed.

The Arkham Asylum rollercoaster travels at speeds of up to 85 kilometres per hour.

Passengers wear a virtual reality mask throughout the ride, where they experience "five stomach-churning inversions".

Yong said Movie World would investigate the incident, including if hot weather had contributed to the ride's malfunction.

"We don't see it being closed for an extended period of time but I can't really tell you any more until we do a full analysis," he said.

"These kind of mechanical issues are something that takes a little bit of time for us to investigate."

Workplace Health and Safety is "making initial enquiries" into the incident.

It comes just months after a malfunction on Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids Ride caused the deaths of Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.

All Gold Coast theme parks underwent exhaustive safety audits after the incident.

In November, the government said every ride at Movie World had been cleared and it said the park had "robust" systems in place for all of its attractions.

Movie World is not owned by the same company as Dreamworld.

- Courier Mail and AAP