At least seven people have been injured after a rollercoaster at a Scotland theme park flew off of its tracks and landed on another ride below, Sky News is reporting.
At about 3:40 p.m. local time (about 10:40 a.m. Eastern Time), the Tsunami rollercoaster at the M&D Park fell about about 20 meters (about 65 feet) onto another ride below. The Tsunami carried a car full of riders when it fell.
My heart goes out to all the kids who were on the Tsunami roller coaster at M and Ds who got injured???????????? pic.twitter.com/Vg7HtTORee
— BrEn_Is_LyFe (@chloemccC1) June 26, 2016
In a statement, the park confirmed that at least seven people have been injured.
“We can confirm we are currently working with other emergency services to ascertain the full extent of the situation. We can confirm there are injured parties — approximately seven people.”
The park has been evacuated as emergency crews are at the scene.
Witness Katie Burns had just ridden the rollercoaster and was walking through the park when she heard the riders’ screams.
“Literally got off the Tsunami at M&D’s and then walking past and the next lot of people get on and the full thing goes off the tracks… Kids and adults are still on it upside down, it’s like something out a horror film, children crying and everything.”
Witness James Millerick described a similar scene.
“You heard shrieks from other customers at the theme park. When we got there the rollercoaster had come off the track entirely. (It) was upside down on the concrete path.”
— SapyNews (@SapyNEWS) June 26, 2016
As of this writing, it is not clear how or why the Tsunami malfunctioned. It was cold and rainy in Scotland Sunday afternoon, and witness Katie Burns is of the opinion that the wet tracks may have played a role.
“Honestly never been so scared in my life, with this weather they should not be on.”
According to the M&D Park’s website, the Tsunami rollercoaster is “Scotland’s only inverted rollercoaster.” The approximately one-minute ride reaches speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, going through various twists, turns, and corkscrews along its approximately 2,132 feet of track.
This is not the first accident on the Tsunami rollercoaster — the ride malfunctioned in 2011 and nine people had to be rescued. Similarly, another M&D rollercoaster, the Tornado, malfunctioned in March of this year; eight people were rescued when their ride vehicle became stuck 20 feet above the ground.
Although tens of thousands of people ride roller coasters daily around the world and suffer no harm, rollercoaster accidents do happen, with sometimes fatal consequences. The worst rollercoaster accident in history, according to a 2015 report in the Mirror, happened in England in 1972.
Already ancient in 1972, the wooden Big Dipper at Battersea Park suffered a mechanical malfunction as a car full of passengers was ascending the hill. The car rolled backwards down the hill and slammed into another car in the boarding area, killing five people — all children — and injuring 13 more. The park closed forever shortly thereafter.
Still, riding rollercoasters, at least in the United States, where theme parks are tightly regulated and rides are subject to routine inspections, is relatively safe. About two people die each year, on average, on theme park attractions in the United States, according to the Metro, and “countless” others are injured. However, the vast majority of those accidents can be traced to rider negligence — that is, riders ignoring warning signs and not properly obeying safety precautions.
This is a developing story. More information will be provided about the Scotland rollercoaster accident as it becomes available.
[Image via Shutterstock/MyImages – Micha]