Six Flags’s El Toro roller coaster still closed; ‘structurally compromised:’ NJ DCA


JACKSON, NJ (PIX11) — The El Toro roller coaster at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure remained closed on Thursday, weeks after more than a dozen riders were hurt, officials said.

In all, 14 people were hurt during the Aug. 25 incident. Five of them needed to go to the hospital for treatment. After the riders were hurt, state inspectors headed to the park and found structural damage to several wooden track support columns, a spokesperson for the NJ Department of Community Affairs said.

“Based on initial findings of the ongoing investigation, DCA has deemed these damaged track support columns structurally compromised as it pertains to the continued safe operation of the ride,” a spokesperson said. “Therefore, the El Toro rollercoaster continues to remain shut down and has been placed under engineering review by DCA.”

Inspectors remain unsure what caused the damage. On Aug. 29, a Six Flags spokesperson said initial investigations showed the coaster “completed its ride cycle safely.” Experts determined part of the ride sub-structure needed to be repaired. On Thursday, a Six Flags spokesperson said the ride would stay closed for repairs and reviews.

“Prior to re-opening, which is expected in time for the 2023 season, the ride will be inspected again, including evaluations by the state of NJ and certified, independent ride safety experts,” the amusement park spokesperson said. “Once approved by our engineers, maintenance, and operations professionals, the ride will re-open.”

There have been a number of incidents at the Six Flags location in recent years. In 2020, guests were briefly stuck on rides during a short power outage.

In 2021, a log flume malfunction sent two people to the hospital. The El Toro roller coaster, along with Nitro and Joker, was also briefly shut down over problems in 2021.

Safety is a serious focus for the park, a Six Flags spokesperson said. Six Flags Great Adventure has delivered more than 200 million roller coaster rides in the past 20 years.

“Every ride at Six Flags is inspected each day prior to opening,” the spokesperson said. “Additionally, all rides are inspected in the off-season including non-destructive testing such as x-ray and magnetic particle imaging.  All manufacturer guidelines for maintenance are followed, at a minimum, with additional requirements as directed by Six Flags’ full-time, credentialed engineers.”

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