A night of fun turned into a living nightmare. A roller coaster in Florida nearly came off the tracks, sending a pair of passengers plummeting while stranding others in a dangling car!
What should have been an early summer joyride nearly turned deadly. The Sand Blaster roller coaster at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk malfunctioned around 8:15 PM ET on June 14, as one of the roller coaster cars completely derailed and was left hanging from the track, according to USA Today. The accident sent two passengers plunging 34 feet to the ground below! Authorities quickly rescued the remaining riders – ten in total – and six of the unfortunate passengers were taken to a local hospital for medical treatment. There were no causalities immediately reported, but the condition of the passengers was unknown at the time of publication.
The Daytona Beach Fire Department shared pictures of the damage to their Twitter account, including a blood-curdling pic of a dangling roller coaster car. One of the videos posted showed the stranded riders being rescued via a ladder. “Daytona Beach Firefighters did an amazing job tonight rescuing the 10 very frightened passengers on the rollercoaster,” Sasha Staton, a Daytona Beach Fire Department spokesperson, told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “They were faced with dangerous conditions as they worked as fast as possible to successfully extricate everyone safely.”
The Sand Blaster opened in August 2013, but it was already 40 years old at that point, as it was purchased from a closed amusement park in Delaware. It’s a coaster that runs 85 feet high and has more than half a mile of track. The three coaster cars involved in the incident were on a line that was about 34 feet above the ground. After the derailment, two passengers remained strapped in the front car, hanging for more than 30 minutes while firefighters to pull them out. Just imagine what it was like to be them, hanging in a barely-suspended car, looking at the ground below. Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying.
“I feel like the ride wasn’t checked well enough,” Trevor Guiterrez, 13, of Atlanta, who says he last rode the coaster less than a year ago (he says his family takes annual vacations to Daytona.) “I am not riding on that thing again.”