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California coaster hits tree branch, derails

Visiting one of California’s amusement parks is the highlight of the summer for many young people. However, the fun times can quickly come to a screeching halt when unsafe rides put park-goers in danger.

Unfortunately, that appears to be what happened on Monday at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park in Santa Clarita. According to reports, four riders were injured when the “Ninja” rollercoaster struck a tree branch and the front car of the coaster derailed.

Around a dozen people were left hanging about 20 or 30 feet in the air for hours while firefighters carefully worked to rescue them from the ride. Two of the four who suffered injuries were taken to the hospital for an evaluation, though all of the injuries were reportedly minor.

Twenty-two riders were on the coaster when it struck the tree branch at about 5:30 p.m. and came to a stop. Photos show at least one of the coaster’s cars derailed and dangled from the track. Thankfully, all of the riders appear to have been properly secured on the ride or the results could have been deadly.

Less than a year ago, a woman visiting Six Flags Over Texas died when she was ejected from the Texas Giant rollercoaster. Her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Six Flags and the company that manufactured the rollercoaster’s cars.

While amusement parks are supposed to appeal to thrill-seekers, they should never put people’s lives in danger, especially since many amusement park visitors are children.

When people of any age are injured or killed at amusement parks, it is often the result of negligence on behalf of the park operators, which means a civil lawsuit might be possible in order to help compensate the victims for their losses.

Source: Star-Telegram, “Four riders injured when coaster hits tree branch at Six Flags park in California,” July 8, 2014

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