4 Hurt on Ninja Roller Coaster Accident at Magic Mountain - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

4 Hurt on Ninja Roller Coaster Accident at Magic Mountain

Posted: Updated:
Valencia, CA -

(FOX 11 / AP) A roller coaster hit a tree branch at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park Monday, dislodging the front car, leaving four people slightly injured and keeping nearly two dozen summer fun-seekers hanging 20 to 30 feet in the air for hours as day turned to night.

Two of the four people hurt on the Ninja coaster were taken to a hospital as a precaution, but all the injuries were minor, fire and park officials said.

"We were going across one turn and all of a sudden a loud noise happened," Jeremy Ead, one of the injured riders, told news media outlets. "I ducked down just in time. A hard branch hit me in the head. I was there bleeding from my head, which was a little worse than this," he said, pointing to a gash in his forehead.

The coaster hit the branch about 5:30 p.m. and stopped, said Michael Pittman, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatch supervisor. It was nearly three hours later before all 22 of the riders were rescued.

Televised news reports showed at least one of the cars that normally are suspended beneath the track dangling at an angle, derailed at the front.

Firefighters and park maintenance workers in harnesses could be seen removing the riders one by one from coaster cars. The riders could be seen waiting patiently as firefighters tried to reach them through a tangle of track and trees, some talking with each other and others resting with their eyes occasionally closed.

All were alert and communicated with park staff during the evacuation process, Six Flags said in a statement.

The park's website advertises that Ninja swoops through the trees to give riders a thrill.

"As you shoot down the snake-like steel track you'll grip the hillsides and blast through the trees swiftly, slicing through the landscape," the ride's online description says. "Ninja pivots with precision as you narrowly miss tagging land and water, whipping around at 55 miles per hour."

The ride would remain shut down while the accident was investigated, park spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said in a statement.

Six Flags Magic Mountain is in the Valencia area of Santa Clarita, about 25 miles north of Los Angeles.

The accident comes nearly a year after a woman was ejected from a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington and died. The death was ruled an accident, but her family has sued both Six Flags and the German company that built the coaster's trains, both of whom denied any wrongdoing.

In September 2012 at another Southern California amusement park, Knott's Berry Farm, riders were left dangling at 300 feet for more than three hours when its Windseeker ride broke down. No one was injured in that breakdown.

From Bob DeCastro:

The Ninja roller coaster at Magic Mountain remains closed. A park spokesperson says the ride will be inspected to make sure it is safe, and engineers will try to figure out exactly what happened.

It was not the thrill these park guests had expected. 22 people left suspended about 40 feet above the ground. The high-speed Ninja roller coaster ride coming to an abrupt stop about 6 o'clock Monday night, after a tree branch fell across the tracks. The first car slammed into it and derailed.

A specialized urban search and rescue team responded, using special tools to free the riders. Firefighters used a cherry picker to raise rescuers into position. They pulled riders off one by one.

The Six Flags Magic Mountain website bills Ninja as "the black belt of roller coasters," which swings 90° each way. With a top speed of 55 mph it is supposed to be a quick ride, but it took rescuers nearly 3 hours to safely remove the stranded passengers.

Officials say four people had minor injuries. Two were transported to a local hospital as a "precautionary measure." One complained of neck pain. Another complained of knee pain.

Update From Hal Eisner:

Literally, before the newscast LA Co. Fire Inspector Rick Flores told me two people came back to the park saying they felt injured and wanted to be treated. So, the total number of injuries stands at 4. "All minor," according to Flores.

 Ninja! This is a ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain that is suspended under tracks instead of riding on top of them.

What happened here you don’t hear about very often. A tree falling on tracks.

Fire officials say the coaster was heading downward. LA County Fire Inspector Rick Flores says right after the chunk of tree hit the tracks the first “car comes around and hits the tree.” The coaster stops some 30 feet above the ground. The first car dislodges from the track, but was still connected. Flores says it was still connected. But, “For an extra precaution the fire department added chains from the car to the track.”

The park says it immediately called medical staff and local paramedics to the scene. LA County fire sent out its urban search and rescue team to help remove riders. A slow process. Unimaginably slow, no doubt, if you’re on that ride.

About a tree stopping a ride, park employee Kimana Marquez says, "I was really shocked at first. I had no idea that that could even happen. It’s just a really big shocker.”

Especially for those 22 people that had to be carefully removed from the cars of Ninja. Two of the people on the ride had to be taken to a hospital for what park officials called “precautionary measures.” Fire officials say the injuries were minor.

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