An amusement park roller coaster malfunctioned at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, injuring several people and sending five to the hospital. According to park officials, the El Toro roller coaster had a minor accident on Aug. 25 at around 7:30 p.m.
During the ride’s final moments, something malfunctioned, causing multiple injuries to its passengers, reported WNBC. A total of 14 people were injured, and five were hospitalized. The park shut down the roller coaster shortly before the park was scheduled to close at 8 p.m.
According to spokesperson Tammori Petty-Dixon, the state Department of Community Affairs’ amusement ride incident hotline informed them that witnesses heard a loud bang and saw the El Toro train jolt during operation, Asbury Park Press reported.
Six Flags spokesperson Gabriel Darretta said everyone was able to exit the ride after its regular run. “Several guests reported back pain and minor injuries after riding El Toro last evening,” Darretta said. “Thirteen guests were evaluated at the park, of which five were taken to a local medical facility for evaluation, where they were treated and released.” The ride remained closed for inspection Friday.
Petty-Dixon said that one neck injury, two back injuries, and two mouth injuries were treated. “Any maintenance and repairs necessary will be completed and the ride will be reinspected by our engineers, maintenance professionals, our third party independent safety inspectors and the state of New Jersey prior to reopening,” he said.
El Toro is one of the fastest and tallest wooden coasters in the world, according to the park’s website. It has a drop of 176 feet at a 76-degree angle, one of the steepest in the country, and reaches speeds of 70 mph. The wooden roller coaster reopened this year after a partial derailment last summer. The wooden roller coaster was closed when the rear wheels of the car lifted off the track. No one was injured, but the state fined the park $5,000 for not calling ride officials right away.
Following the incident on June 29, 2021, the Department of Community Affairs “red-tagged” the ride, which meant that it was taken out of service and placed under engineering review. According to the department, the rear-up wheel, which prevents the train from lifting, came up on top of the rail, causing a partial derailment. No park visitors were injured in that incident.
“All necessary modifications have been completed, and El Toro is expected to reopen this spring following extensive testing, inspections by internal and external experts, and state certification by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs,” the park said in a statement last February. There is currently an investigation into Thursday’s incident. New Jersey’s Department of Consumer Affairs ordered six Flags to shut down the ride, and inspectors were onsite the following day to investigate, the department said.
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