Riders 'flung' 34 feet as rollercoaster car derails at Daytona Beach, Florida
A rollercoaster at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk derailed on Thursday night, dropping two people 34 feet to the ground, leading to scenes of mass chaos.
Daytona Beach Fire Department rushed to the scene and used ladders and a crane to rescue the other trapped carnival goers. In footage from the scene, the heroic fireman can be seen ushering people across a bridge to be lowered down into the walkway below.
10 people were freed from scene, which occurred after one car completely derailed and another two became stuck on the tracks. Of the six people taken to hospital, two are believed to be in a critical condition.
The rollercoaster derailed just after 8:30pm on Thursday night. Four people were in the front car that derailed, with it being left pointing nose-down to the ground with barely anything connected to it apart from the car behind it. It's believed that the two riders to have been chucked from the ride were two of the people in the first car.
Shasha Staton, a spokeswoman from the Daytona Beach Fire Department told the News Journal that another four were inside the second car and two more were trapped inside of the third car.
Speaking about the heroic efforts of the fire department, Staton said:
"Daytona Beach Firefighters did an amazing job tonight rescuing the 10 very frightened passengers on the rollercoaster. They were faced with dangerous conditions as they worked as fast as possible to successfully extricate everyone safely."
The rollercoaster in question was the Sand Blaster. It opened back in August 2013 and is 85 feet high with more than half a mile of track.
"I feel like the ride wasn’t checked well enough," said 13-year-old Trevor Gutierrez, who last rode on the coaster less than a year ago. According to Trevor, he and his family take annual vacations to Daytona Beach area.
Trevor claims that he believed something was wrong with the rollercoaster when he last rode it. According to the teenager, he had complained that the ride was too bumpy and says that after seeing what took place on Thursday, he won't be riding it again.
The ride was already 40 years old when it opened in 2013, with it being purchased from a closed amusement park in Delaware at the beginning of 2012.
In an inspection report obtained by the News Journal, it was revealed that the Sandblaster had a 'stop operation' order imposed on it after an inspector from the Department of Agriculture discovered 'numerous problems' with the ride.
The inspection report cited a worn and damaged handrail, four safety cables not properly secured, three worn and damaged braces, a missing brace, 10 worn and damaged deck braces, a damaged seat bracket, two seats not properly secured, corroded fencing, cracked supports and damaged lighting fixtures.
Despite the report, The Boardwalk's website claims the attraction has since been repaired, passed inspection, and become operational again.
Our thoughts are with those impacted by the incident.