Fifteen people suffered minor injuries Friday evening when a roller-coaster train rear-ended a second train that was stopped on the tracks at Disney's California Adventure, marking the first significant accident at the Anaheim theme park.
The crash occurred about 6:39 p.m. on the California Screamin' ride, a popular roller coaster designed to propel riders through a silhouette of Mickey Mouse's head. The trains, each carrying 24 passengers, were about to reach the end of the ride, at a point where both vehicles were supposed to stop.
About 100 firefighters from Anaheim and surrounding cities descended on the theme park, along with 18 ambulances. Most of the passengers were able to get out of their trains and walk to safety on their own using the roller coaster's catwalk. Eight passengers were on a higher point on the ride, with their car leaning at a 45-degree angle, and could not get to the catwalks, so firefighters helped them descend 15 feet to the ground using ladders.
California Adventure is next to Disneyland, which has seen several high-profile accidents in the last few years.
In 2003, a 22-year-old man was killed by the derailment of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Disneyland. The state blamed the accident on faulty maintenance.
The Big Thunder Mountain crash was the third major accident at Disneyland in the last six years in which ride maintenance has been an issue. A park visitor was killed in 1998 when he was hit by an iron cleat that a taut rope tore from the Columbia sailing ship. Two years later, nine passengers were injured on Space Mountain when a bolt broke on a wheel assembly.