Six Flags Magic Mountain, located in Santa Clarita, California, is the second most popular park in the Six Flags’ portfolio. From its fairly humble beginnings in the early 1970s, the park has developed into a destination for thrill-seekers due to its elaborate roller coasters and other thrill rides. Up to roughly 2008, Six Flags Magic Mountain was tied with Ohio-based Cedar Point for having the most roller coasters, but it briefly relinquished the record due to transitions within the park. However, in May of 2013, the park’s 18th coaster opened thereby vaulting the park into the lead for the greatest number of roller coasters in a theme park worldwide.
However, even large parks with experience in operating thrill rides and roller coasters can have accidents. Similarly, people often assume that an injury cannot happen at a park owned and operated by multi-million or, in the case of Six Flags, a company with billion-dollar revenues. However, accidents can happen anywhere and at any time.
How Did the Accident Occur?
While details are still emerging regarding last night’s roller coaster accident, major news organizations like CNN and the Associated Press have reported on many of the major details. The organizations report that at around 5:30 PM on July 7, 2014, a tree branch fell onto the Ninja coaster’s track. The Ninja is a suspended roller coaster where the track is above riders and riders dangle somewhat precariously from their harness. For those familiar with the local Six Flags Great Adventure park, the Ninja is somewhat similar to the configuration of the Batman roller coaster in that it hangs from the track, but riders’ legs and feet are contained within a car rather than exposed.
This fallen branch became lodged on the track and did not fall to the ground. While the details are not yet entirely clear, the ride operator apparently did not see the hazard land and remain on the coaster’s tracks. When the roller coaster’s train was launched, it hit the debris on the track and became disabled with the front car derailing. The derailed front car jutted out from the tracks in a fashion that appeared to give its riders a full – and terrifying — view of the ground 20 feet below.
Firefighters and park maintenance workers secured by safety harnesses toiled to rescue the 22 people on board the coaster. Passengers were removed one-by-one from the roller coaster while being suspended nearly 20 feet in the air. By the time the last passenger was removed from the roller coaster train the ordeal had lasted for 3 hours.
Four minor injuries were reported due to the coaster derailment. In this case, it appears that the riders and their families were lucky in that the physical injuries were minor. However, each of the 24 victims of this accident was still subjected to severe mental stress and turmoil as they waited for rescue. Read an update on the accident here.
Thrill Seekers Beware – Accidents Can Happen Anywhere
This accident occurred following last year’s fatality on a roller coaster after a woman fell to her death while riding the Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas. According to statistics compiled by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio nearly 100,000 children were injured by amusement park rides between the years 1990 and 2010. That works out to roughly 4,000 injuries to children each year due to amusement park rides.
If you have been injured at an amusement park, an experienced amusement park attorney can work to hold the negligent parties accountable for your injuries. For more than 34 years the attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have fought for those injured or wrongfully killed by a negligent or reckless person. To schedule your free and confidential initial consultation call (215) 246-9000 or contact us online today.