Two people were in critical condition Friday after a roller coaster car derailed Thursday night at the Daytona Beach, Florida, Boardwalk.
Two people dropped 34 feet to the ground, while 10 were rescued by the Daytona Beach Fire Department after they were trapped on the Sandblaster. Six of those passengers were hospitalized as a result of the accident, which took place at around 8:15 p.m., according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Rescuers used a ladder truck to remove the victims.
“The front car which was holding four passengers completely came off the tracks,” Daytona Beach Fire spokeswoman Sasha Staton told reporters, noting that two fell from the car, suffering serious injuries.
“The other two were still in the car dangling. They had to be rescued from firefighters on the ground,” she said. Staton said that it took about 30 minutes for firefighters to rescue the two victims, who were strapped into the car.
Inspectors are on the scene in Daytona Beach where a roller coaster hopped the tracks, throwing two people off the ride, leaving two dangling, and 6 others stuck in the train #FOX35 #GDO pic.twitter.com/SN6TxVWFzv
— Dana Jay (@imdanajay) June 15, 2018
Staton said that rescuers dealt with fear and unsafe conditions.
“Daytona Beach Firefighters did an amazing job tonight rescuing the 10 very frightened passengers on the roller coaster,” Staton said, the Daytona News-Journal reported. “They were faced with dangerous conditions as they worked as fast as possible to successfully extricate everyone safely.”
“It was chaotic as you can imagine. The riders were very frightened and the firefighters were doing a great job trying to make sure everyone stayed calm,” Staton added.
— DaytonaBeachFireDept (@DaytonaBeachFD) June 15, 2018
The Sandblaster is 85 feet high with more than a half-mile of track.
“I feel like the ride wasn’t checked well enough,” said Trevor Gutierrez, 13, of Atlanta, an annual visitor to Daytona who had ridden the Sandblaster in the past.
“I’m not riding on that thing again,” he said.
Witnesses said one minute everything was normal, and then chaos erupted.
“We just hear a big loud boom, and we just take off running, too!” CBS quoted one witness it did not name as saying.
“Everybody started screaming and we ran over there and saw the cart dangling,” another unnamed witness said, according to CBS.
The Sandblaster came to Daytona from an amusement park in Delaware, and was 40 years old when it opened in Florida in 2013.
In 2017, the Daytona News-Journal reported that the ride had some safety violations.
The Daytona coaster in the news right now has troubled past.
“In February, a state inspector slapped Sandblaster roller coaster w/a stop operation order after he found more than a dozen problems w/everything from damaged braces to cracked supports.”https://t.co/gIHRIDeNSe
— Andrew Hyde (@OnlineHyde) June 15, 2018
A February 2017 inspection cited four safety cables that were not adequately secured and an assortment of other violations. It was unclear Friday if those violations were fixed.
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