The unfortunate accident happened shortly after 5.30pm on July 7th at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park in Santa Clarita, California.
The derailment was caused by a falling tree branch that fell on the tracks, dislodging the front car from the roller coaster and sending it flying into the trees. The front car was dangling from the track as the passengers were trapped for hours.
Firefighters rushed to the scene and worked with park maintenance to remove the riders one by one from coaster cars. A specialized rescue team was also called in to assist the evacuation of the riders who were suspended about 30 feet above the ground.
Twenty two riders were on board. A few passengers were still stuck in the coaster car 3 hours after the accident.
One of the injured riders, Jeremy Ead, told KCAL-TV, “I ducked down just in time. A hard branch hit me in the head. I was there bleeding from my head, which was a little worse than this”, pointing to a wound on his forehead.
Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatch supervisor, Michael Pittman told Associated Press that two of the four people who suffered minor injuries were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The Ninja roller coaster, dubbed as “The Black Belt of Roller Coasters”, is an Arrow Dynamics suspended coaster with a speed of 55 mph and capacity of 28 riders.
According to Six Flags Magic Mountain’s website, “As you shoot down the snake-like steel track you’ll grip the hillsides and blast through the trees swiftly, slicing through the landscape. Ninja pivots with precision as you narrowly miss tagging land and water, whipping around at 55 miles per hour”.
A YouTube video shows a point-of-view perspective of what it is like to ride the Ninja Roller coaster, clearly showing how close the coaster cars are to the trees along the route.
Six Flags Magic Mountain will be closing the ride until further inspection of the surrounding area is complete.