Two thrill-seekers fell out of a roller coaster, and six others were hospitalized, after the ride derailed at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk in Florida on Thursday night, June 14.
The roller coaster, called the Sand Blaster, somehow malfunctioned, leaving the front car dangling off the track. Two of the passengers in the lead car fell out of it, dropping about 34 feet to the ground, reported CNN.
According to the Daytona Beach Fire Department's Twitter page, which was tweeting accident status updates all night, authorities were able to rescue 10 other riders by using a ladder truck. Six of those people were taken to the hospital. The extent of their injuries is currently unknown.
"Daytona Beach Firefighters did an amazing job tonight rescuing the 10 very frightened passengers on the roller coaster," said Sasha Staton, a spokesperson for the Daytona Beach Fire Department, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "They were faced with dangerous conditions as they worked as fast as possible to successfully extricate everyone safely."
The Daytona Beach Police also tweeted about the accident, stating that it was assisting the fire department.
A group of tourists told reporters that they heard a loud bang and then saw two women on the ground by the roller coaster. "One of the women was not talking but 'seemed out of it' while the other was screaming and crying," according to News 6 WKMG.The News-Journal said that the Sand Blaster was 40-years-old when it was purchased from an amusement park in Delaware in 2012. The ride opened in Daytona Beach in August of 2013. It reportedly reaches a height of 85 feet and has more than a half-mile of track. In 2017, eight people were stranded on the upper part of the 120-foot-tall Joker roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington during a rain and lightning storm, reported People. Strong winds allegedly triggered a sensor that automatically caused the ride to stop.
"We were holding hands, and we prayed a lot," said Christian Chaney, one of the passengers who was rescued from the ride after being stuck for more than three hours, to the KTBS news.
"My friend and I thought we were going to die, just because there was lightning, and we didn't think anyone knew we were up there," she added.
"I had a pair of shorts [on], and once I got off the ride my legs were red from where the rain had been hitting them so hard. I was bawling. I was just so happy to be on the ground. It really hit me then, as I was coming down the ladder, that I was really in a life-threatening situation."