VALENCIA, Calif. (SignalSCV.com) - Two young men sitting in the first car of the Ninja roller coaster were hurt in an accident at Six Flags Magic Mountain late Monday afternoon, which stranded 22 people on the thrill ride for more than two and a half hours, according to park and fire officials.
“There were two people transported with minor injuries,” said Inspector Rick Flores of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “We thought there were four (hurt) but, no, it was the two in the first car were the ones with minor injuries, the other two (behind them) were fine.”
One of the men suffered an injury to his neck, the other complained of pain in his knee, he said.
Aside from the two injured men, none of the remaining 20 riders were hurt, he added.
“They were pretty calm, anxious -sure - to get off,” Flores said of the stranded riders freed about 8:30p.m. “Firefighters treated everybody that came off and nobody complained of any injuries.
“Everybody is off now, they removed everybody from the car,” he said. “The last ones were removed by the cherry picker they put in place.”
The accident at 5:37 p.m. Monday, when a tree branch fell across the path and onto the track of the roller coaster, resulting in injuries to the two young men in the ride’s first car, according to park and paramedic sources.
“A tree branch fell on the track of the roller coaster, Ninja, obstructing the train,” park spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said in an official statement.
“Park medical staff and local paramedics were immediately called to the scene,” she said. “Of the 22 guests safely evacuated, two were transported to a local hospital for precautionary measures.”
At 5:55 p.m., paramedics rushed to the center of the amusement park on The Old Road for a report of four people injured on the roller coaster, said Fire Department Supervisor Miguel Ornelas. They were at the scene at 6:07 p.m.
Rescuers included members of the Fire Department’s Urban Search & Rescue team, a couple of paramedic squads and firefighters from two of the department’s engines, Flores said.
“They used ladders to assist the people off the roller coaster and onto the cherry picker,” he said.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m., more than two and a half hours after the tree branch fell across the ride’s path, the last of the stranded riders was safely removed from the roller coaster.
Flores said a muddy shrub-covered terrain made rescue efforts complicated.
“It wasn’t a very easily accessible area of the park at that part of the roller coaster,” he said. “It was a little muddy, at the side of a hill with shrubbery around there. so it took a little longer.”
As rescuers worked to free them, the Ninja ride roller coaster hung at an odd angle about 20 to 30 feet off the ground, leaving riders at the front of the ride sitting at an awkward angle.
“The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority and as a precaution, the ride will remain closed until a thorough inspection of the area is complete,” Carpenter said.
According to the park’s website” “There’s a reason Ninja is known as ‘The Black Belt of Roller Coasters.’ This thrill is a suspended swinging roller coaster. There are only four of this kind in the entire U.S. You’re hanging from the track … swinging all over, a full 90 degrees each way.”