A roller coaster at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park hit a tree branch Monday evening, dislodging the front car and leaving six people injured, authorities said. Twenty-two people were on the ride at the time and were left stranded approximately 20 feet in the air, some for hours, authorities said.
The Ninja roller coaster struck the branch at about 5:30 p.m. and stopped, said Michael Pittman, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatch supervisor.
L.A. County Fire Inspector Fred Flores told CBS Los Angeles the coaster struck a large pine tree branch.
Televised news reports showed at least one of the cars that are normally suspended beneath the track hanging at an angled, derailed near the front.
CBS Los Angeles reports that, “A clamp on the number one car connecting the ride to the rail broke off at the impact point. The car could be seen dangling 20-30 feet above ground, held onto the ride by a rear clamp attached to the number two car.”
Firefighters and park maintenance workers worked together to remove the riders one by one from the coaster cars. Others waited patiently, some talking with others on the ride and others closing their eyes waiting for the incident to be over with.
Many riders were stranded for three hours, says CBS Los Angeles, adding that all were rescued by about 8:35 p.m. local time. The Six Flags Magic Mountain Ninja coaster can hold up to 28 riders.
Sgt. Jeff Curran of the L.A. County Sheriff’s office out of Santa Clarita told CBS news six individuals were injured in the derailment and two were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Magic Mountain said in a statement that the ride “will remain closed until a thorough inspection of the area is complete.”
Six Flags Magic Mountain is located in Valencia, Calif., about 25 miles north of Los Angeles.