The Ninja roller coaster ride turned into real terror when the coaster cars derailed after hitting a tree. This left 22 frightened passengers dangling 40 feet above Six Flags Magic Mountain, according to the Los Angeles Times on July 8.
The ups and downs and twist and turns of a roller coaster is anxiety provoking enough, but can you imagine being a passenger traveling at about 55 mph and seeing a tree across the tracks? When the realization hits that you are headed right for the tree limb without brakes at your disposal, the thrill ride quickly turns into terror.
CNN News reports today that a tree limb had fallen across the roller coaster tracks and when the first car hit the limb, it derailed the car, sending it into a nearby tree with the other cars following. Witnesses said they could hear the crackling of the wood breaking and the rustling of the leaves along with screams from the passengers on the ill-fated ride.
The passengers were stuck dangling 40 feet for about three hours, the last passenger was rescued at about 8:30 p.m. by the firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire department brought in a cherry-picker to get to the stranded passengers. The stranded riders were put inside the bucket of the cherry picker and safely lowered to the ground.
Four people had minor injuries when it was all said and done. The fire department called in a “specialized urban search and rescue team” to assist with evacuating the dangling riders because the situation was dangerous.
The passengers seemed to be more at ease once seeing the rescue get underway, they were seen talking to the rescuers who made their way up to them in the bucket of the cherry picker. The accident has prompted the officials at Six Flags to close down the Ninja Roller Coaster so that it can be inspected before putting it in operation once again.
The roller coaster became an addition to the park in 1988 and it has a great safety record. Magic Mountain advertises this twisting and turning coaster as “The Black Belt of Roller Coasters.”