Riders Plunge 34 Feet, 6 Injured In Roller Coaster Derail
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Two roller coaster riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) when their car derailed and was left dangling from the track, and firefighters used ladders to pull eight others to safety high above the Daytona Beach Boardwalk.
"The front car which was holding four passengers completely came off the tracks," said Daytona Beach Fire spokeswoman Sasha Staton.
Two of the four fell from the Sand Blaster ride Thursday night and suffered traumatic injuries, while "the other two were still in the car dangling," she said.
Fire department photos show the red car hanging at an odd, perpendicular angle, with another car jammed behind it.
Firefighters climbed up to rescue them as well as six other passengers in two cars that were still on the track.
"They had to use the tower ladder to get to them and then bring them on board and guide them safely back down," Staton said.
Six of the 10 passengers were taken to the hospital. Staton said she did not know the extent of their injuries.
The accident is under investigation.
"We don't know what happened," Staton said.
The Sand Blaster was already 40 years old when it opened at the boardwalk in August 2013, after being purchased from a closed amusement park in Delaware, according to a Daytona Beach News-Journal report .
Trevor Gutierrez, a 13-year-old from Atlanta whose family vacations in Daytona Beach every year, told the newspaper that it had been one of the few roller coasters he was willing to ride.
But the ride seemed too bumpy the last time he tried it, and after Thursday night's derailment, he decided to never try it again.
"I feel like the ride wasn't checked well enough," he said. "I'm not riding on that thing again."