On Monday, July 7th, the Ninja coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain partially derailed when the suspended coaster struck a tree that had fallen against the track. The first car, containing 4 passengers, was derailed but did not fall the the ground 20 feet below. The four passengers in the first train were evacuated and transported to a local hospital for minor injuries. They were later released. The other 22 passengers were safely evacuated – some after hours of waiting.
Ninja, otherwise billed as the Blackbelt of Rollercoasters, is an Arrow Dynamics steel suspended roller coaster. Built in 1988, It is still the fastest roller coaster of its kind in the world, joint honor with Vortex at Canada’s Wonderland, both with top speeds of 55 mph. The ride, along with the Jet Stream water flume attraction nearby, are both closed as the tree near the accident is cleared and the trains safely removed from the track.
In an official statement, Six Flags Magic Mountain stated the following…
Six Flags Magic Mountain Statement:Of the 22 guests safely evacuated from the Ninja roller coaster, four were transported for precautionary measures – all have been treated and released.The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority and as a precaution, the ride will remain closed until a thorough inspection of the area is complete.
A day after the accident the station sat empty, abandoned, and unattended. In the station, two trains were parked, while a third was in the maintenance bay, and the fourth on the track, still in the spot where the accident occurred.
The accident happened just after the first lift hill and drop. The train crests this hill and then makes an exhilarating turn/dive through a wooded area. The train then weaves through another section of trees headed towards the open area above the Jet Stream flume attraction. It was in this section, just before swooping down to the water, that a tree had fallen against the track. The speed of the trains in this particular section of track is approximately 25 mph, less than half the top speed of the ride.
Until the train is safely removed from the track, it is safe to assume that Jet Stream will remain closed as a safety measure.
As far as accessibility goes, the path that weaved under the track for Ninja has also been closed off. Visitors cannot make the full circle around the park at the moment.
We would like to point out that this is only the second incident that the Ninja roller coaster has had, with the first being in 2008 when a 20 year old male scaled a barrier to retrieve a hat and was hit by a passing train. In this instance a tree simply fell against the track. There was no way for the ride operators to have known that there was an obstruction. Should it have been? Maybe. But that is the nature of the ride and part of its appeal, that it swoops and dives through the terrain. The train did not fall from the track, and aside from the 4 minor injuries, no other guests were hurt.
This begs the question though; what will become of the wonderful terrain surrounding this and other attractions in the park? While it is always necessary to put safety first, we hope that due consideration is also given that the lush surroundings of this attraction are part of the appeal.
In the end, Six Flags Magic Mountain took care of the situation, they safely removed the guests, and the attraction is getting cleaned up.
The accident certainly isn’t keeping me from enjoying the park, nor will it prevent me from riding Ninja in the future.