SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — A roller coaster ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California turned into a terrifying ordeal Monday evening when a car on the ride partially derailed from the track after hitting a tree limb. Four of the amusement’s riders received non-life-threatening injuries.
According to the Associated Press, 22 riders on the Ninja coaster were left dangling from cars suspended from the tracks 20 to 30 feet in the air as Los Angeles County Fire Department responders staged a rescue.
One rider who was injured on the ride told KCAL-TV that he heard a loud noise as the car rounded a turn and then he was hit in the head by a “hard branch” that gashed his forehead.
Firefighters and park maintenance workers removed the stranded riders one by one, lifting them up through a tangle of trees. Rescue efforts took about three hours, with the last of the riders pulled from the stranded coaster before 8:30 p.m.
According to the park’s website, the Ninja riders “swing all over” as the coaster soars through the trees. “As you shoot down the snake-like steel track you’ll grip the hillsides, slicing through the landscape. Ninja pivots with precision as you narrowly miss tagging land and water, whipping around at 55 miles per hour.”
The park said that the ride would remain closed while the incident is investigated.
Last July, a woman fell to her death after she was thrown off the Texas Giant roller coaster in Arlington, Texas. Park officials denied any wrongdoing in that accident, but the victim’s family is suing the park as well as the ride’s German manufacturer.