On Thursday, five people were taken to the hospital after riding the 19-story El Toro roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey.
While their injuries were minor, the incident is likely to refocus attention on theme park safety in the United States, especially given that the ride was previously closed due to a partial derailment in 2021.
El Toro rollercoaster malfunctioned at Six Flags Great Adventure
A roller coaster malfunction at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson on Thursday night injured at least five people. According to Six Flags, the roller coaster El Toro jumped forward just as riders were attempting to exit.
According to the park, the incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on the wooden roller coaster.
Six Flags Great Adventure contacted News 12 New Jersey. The park issued the following statement: “After riding El Toro this evening, several guests complained of back pain. Five visitors were transported to a nearby medical facility for evaluation. The ride is currently closed for inspection.” According to police, the majority of the injuries were minor.
El Toro The rollercoaster
El Toro first opened its doors to the public in 2006. The roller coaster has a 176-foot drop and can propel cars up to 70 miles per hour. The ride is 2 minutes and 5 seconds long.
Several people complained of back pain after riding El Toro on Thursday night, and five were taken to a local medical facility for evaluation, according to a park spokesperson. The wooden rollercoaster, which is over 16 years old, is currently closed for inspection
The rollercoaster has previously experienced problems.
According to NJ.com, the coaster partially derailed in June 2021 after a train on the ride did not return to the station, stalling a few yards before the “brake run.” There were people on the ride when it happened, according to a park spokesperson at the time, but no one was hurt.
The ride was closed temporarily but reopened this spring.
Statements by Six Flag’s vice president about el toro accident
According to Jason Freeman, Six Flags’ vice president of security, safety, health, and the environment, “you’re more likely to be injured in your car on your way to a theme park than you are at a theme park.”
“When you look at the 157 million rides we deliver in a year, and when you compare us to other industries, you’ll see that we are a very safe industry,” he added.
However, Six Flags amusement parks have had a number of serious incidents, some with tragic consequences, over the years.
Six flags accidents
On May 11, 1984, the deadliest single incident in Six Flags history occurred at the Six Flags Great Adventure Park in New Jersey, the same location as Thursday’s accident.
A fire ripped through a haunted castle in the park that had no sprinklers or smoke alarms, killing eight teenagers. Following the tragedy, Six Flags Corporation president Dan P. Howell stated that no rules had been broken at the park.
“We believe we complied with all of the codes. We believe we took all necessary precautions to safeguard the public. But the tragedy occurred regardless “he stated at a press conference
During a subsequent two-month trial, Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags were both acquitted of manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter, but later paid $2.5 million to the families of those killed.
On July 8, 2012, a double amputee Iraq war veteran was killed after falling from the ‘Ride of Steel’ rollercoaster at Six Flags Darien Lake in Corfu, New York.
The Department of Labor concluded that the accident was caused by “operator error” rather than a technical error.
In a statement at the time, Christopher Thorpe, then-General Manager of Darien Lake, said the park was “devastated” by the accident and had “enhanced training programs, increased audits of safety procedures and enforcement, and made disability ridership information more accessible” in response.
Since its inception in 1971, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California has seen a number of tragedies.
Bantita Rackchamroon, a 21-year-old park employee, was killed when the Scream roller coaster struck and killed her during a test run before the park opened in the morning in April 2004. Rackchamroon’s presence on the tracks is unknown.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department investigated and determined it was a tragic accident, and the park issued a statement saying, “The safety and security of our guests and employees is our number one priority.”
Carol Flores, 20, was killed in 1978 after falling from Magic Mountain’s Colossus rollercoaster. Following the accident, Colossus was shut down for a year while repairs were made, including the replacement of all of the old carriages.
A bear had to be rescued by firefighters at Magic Mountain in May after sneaking onto the park’s backlot and becoming trapped between two vehicles. A team from California Fish and Game, a government agency, sedated the bear before relocating it.
In addition, three people were injured earlier this month during a shooting in the parking lot of Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.
According to the Global Association for the Attractions Industry, one in every 15.5 million rides on a fixed-site attraction at a U.S. theme park results in a serious injury.
During a typical year, more than 1.7 billion theme park rides take place across the 400 sites monitored by the industry association.
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