Amusement park thrill rides are supposed to feel dangerous without ever actually being dangerous. Unfortunately, while rare, it is sometimes true that things can go wrong and people can be actually hurt. Several people suffered injuries last night in a roller coaster incident at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, leading to five people being hospitalized.
The incident took place at about 7:30 PM last night near the conclusion of the run of the El Toro roller coaster. Details of what happened, beyond that a malfunction occurred, are unknown, but the result, according to NBC New York, was at least a dozen people suffering back injuries, with five people requiring hospitalization. The ride was closed for the rest of the evening, it was only about 30 minutes until the park closed at that point, and the cause of the malfunction is under investigation.
The El Toro is the flagship attraction of Six Flags Great Adventure. When the ride first opened it was one of the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the country, if not the world, and is still in the top three in most major categories and considered one of the best roller coasters in the country.
El Toro was built by Intamin, one of the world’s major attraction manufacturers, responsible for rides like the Harry Potter coaster/dark ride Escape From Gringotts at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and California Screamin’ (now the Incredicoaster) at Disney California Adventure.
This isn’t the first time recently that El Toro has had mechanical problems. In June of last year a train partially derailed, leading to the closure of the ride and an investigation by Intamin. The exact cause of the problem has never been released, but the ride was closed until April of this year.
Luckily, it appears that all the injuries here were minor. Despite the fact that some were hospitalized, there’s no indication that any of the injuries are serious, though that could still turn out to be the case.
This incident follows several cases this year where amusement park attractions have led to much more serious injuries and even death. In March a teenager fell from a drop tower in Florida’s Icon Park and died. Then in July another teenager was killed in an accident on a roller coaster in Denmark. Earlier this month, a 57-year-old woman died when she fell from a roller coaster in Germany.
As of this writing Six Flags Great Adventure has yet to open for the day, but it seems all but certain that El Toro will remain closed. The investigation will remain ongoing and it’s more than likely that some work will need to be done on the coaster before it is deemed ready for riders once again.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.