4 hurt in LA-area roller coaster accident

2014-07-08 10:15
(AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News, Andy Holzman)

(AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News, Andy Holzman)

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Clarita - A roller coaster hit a tree branch at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, dislodging the front car and leaving four people slightly injured and about two dozen others stranded about six metres in the air for hours, authorities said.

The Ninja coaster struck the branch about 17:30 and stopped, said Michael Pittman, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatch supervisor.

Televised news reports showed at least one of the cars that normally are suspended beneath the track dangling at an angle, derailed at the front.

Firefighters and park maintenance workers in harnesses could be seen removing the riders one by one from coaster cars. Others waited patiently, some talking with each other and others resting with their eyes occasionally closed. A few passengers remained on board nearly three hours after the accident. Twenty-two people were on board.

Pittman said four people on the ride received minor injuries, but they and other riders remained on the stalled coaster, stranded six to nine metres in the air, more than an hour after the accident.

The Ninja coaster can hold up to 28 riders.

"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," according to the amusement park's website.

Six Flags Magic Mountain is in the Valencia area of Santa Clarita, about 40km north of Los Angeles.

The Associated Press was unable to reach Magic Mountain representatives after-hours.

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