By Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — About two dozen people were trapped for nearly three hours on the Ninja roller coaster at Magic Mountain amusement park and four of the riders were injured after a tree branch obstructed the high-speed ride, officials said.
The ride was in a “precarious position” as the people were suspended about 40 feet above the ground on the roller coaster, said Michael Pittman, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatch supervisor. Magic Mountain is in Valencia, north of Los Angeles.
Pittman told the Los Angeles Times that the four injuries appeared to be minor.
The 22 people on the ride were safely evacuated around 8:30 p.m., Magic Mountain spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said. She said two of the riders were “transported to a local hospital for precautionary measures.”
A tree branch somehow obstructed the roller coaster, stranding the car and forcing the ride to be shut down shortly before 6 p.m., officials said.
Fire Inspector Fred Flores said the branch was lying across the tracks, derailing the first car.
A specialized urban search-and-rescue team, which has extrication and clamping tools, was dispatched to the park. Firefighters positioned ladders next to the roller coaster, which was amid thick foliage, according to television news footage.
Stranded passengers could be seen talking to firefighters who were next to the car working to free them.
Magic Mountain bills the Ninja ride as “The Black Belt of Roller Coasters,” racing along a twisting track at 55 mph.
“Your whole body will swing out to the sides as you take winding snake-like turns at nearly 4G,” the park says on its website.
The ride will remain closed while inspectors survey the track and the area, Carpenter said.
“The safety of our guests and employees is our No. 1 priority,” she said.
Earlier this year, a Los Angeles Times analysis of more than 2,000 accident reports from Southern California theme parks found that accidents were rare.
The most common accidents and incidents were fainting, nausea, and dizziness. People were more likely to get sick or hurt on older attractions than on newer rides. And about 1 in 8 accident reports, as they are called, involved riders who were hurt while getting on or off an attraction.
The analysis examined 2,089 injury reports filed from 2007 through 2012 with the state Department of Industrial Relations, which oversees the safety of theme park rides.
Photo via WikiCommons
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