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Ninja Train Hits Tree Branch At Six Flags Magic Mountain

By on 07/07/2014

Just before 6:00 pm this evening, a tree limb fell onto the Ninja roller coaster track at Six Flags Magic Mountain, obstructing the path of an oncoming train according to Magic Mountain’s Communications Manager Sue Carpenter. The train came to a stop on the track with the front car partially derailed from the track. Here is some aerial video footage courtesy of KTLA, taken shortly after the incident occurred:

This is a photo taken by a women stuck on the ride, showing the lead car dangling from the track:

SFMM_Ninja_Rescue_4

Credit: hokaythxbai via reddit.com

This is part of the tree struck by the train, taken by the same passenger:

SFMM_Ninja_Rescue_2

Credit: hokaythxbai via reddit.com

This aerial shot not only shows how big the tree was that fell on the track, but it also shows the considerable damage that was done to the wheel assembly of the coaster:

SFMM_Ninja_Rescue_3

Credit: KCAL News

Park personnel trying to secure the coaster from moving prior to the evacuation of the riders:

SFMM_Ninja_Rescue_5

Credit: Unknown

The rescue crews were staging on the backside of the park, in front of Apocalypse. You can just barely see the red and white Ninja roller coaster peeking out from the heavy foliage on the far left side of the photo:

SFMM_Ninja_Rescue_1

Credit: KTLA News

Check out all of the news helicopters flying over the park to cover this event:

helicopterssfmm

Here is the official statement from Six Flags Magic Mountain, as of 8:38 pm:

Earlier this evening, a tree branch fell on the track of the roller coaster, Ninja, obstructing the train.  Park medical staff and local paramedics were immediately called to the scene. Of the 22 guests safely evacuated, two were transported to a local hospital for precautionary measures.

The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority and as a precaution, the ride will remain closed until a thorough inspection of the area is complete.

It’s never good when there is an accident at a theme park, especially on a roller coaster. Being such a roller coaster enthusiast, I’m very happy to know that this was caused by an act of nature and not a mechanical failure, and more importantly that nobody was seriously injured.

For more information about the Ninja roller coaster, please read my full ride profile here.

33 Comments

  1. Domingo

    07/07/2014 at 10:31 pm

    Wow I can’t believe this im literally shaking right now but this was an act of nature but thank God no one was hurt. Didn’t a tree fall on revolution?

  2. Anon

    07/07/2014 at 10:46 pm

    It could have been a lot worse. When it hit the tree is made a very loud boom and park employees rushed over to handle the situation. I guess it will be closed for a while

    It shouldnt scare you to ride the roller coasters at magic mountain though this was a tree that fell and hit the train, not the trains wheels falling off or something. It was an act of mother nature. Not roller coaster related.

  3. Jimmy T

    07/07/2014 at 11:07 pm

    So glad no one was seriously hurt. The impact looks like it was hard. Good thing those restraints keep everyone safe in place.

  4. chilton Schilling

    07/07/2014 at 11:16 pm

    Two tree incidents this year. I hope they don’t start taking those trees out and have it look as bare as it once did when those trees were young. I love revolution and ninja because its cool going through all those trees. Ninja is also the very first coaster at magic mountain, actually very first big coaster I have ever been on. Glad everyone was OK.

    • Domingo

      07/07/2014 at 11:39 pm

      I think there gonna trim down some trees near the track so something like this will not happen again

    • me

      07/08/2014 at 7:38 am

      ninja was not the first coaster at magic mountain

      • Scott C.

        07/08/2014 at 7:44 am

        I think Clinton was saying it was the first he has been on, not the first one at MM.

      • The Coaster Guy

        07/08/2014 at 9:41 am

        Yes, he was saying it was his first coaster, not the first at Magic Mountain.

        • chilton Schilling

          07/08/2014 at 12:24 pm

          Yea I did mean first coaster I have been on. Sorry about that

  5. Matt

    07/08/2014 at 12:32 am

    I was going to go today. But my mom called me to help her with some yard work. Jeez.

  6. Henry

    07/08/2014 at 7:04 am

    Does anyone think the other suspended coaster (Vortex at CW, Bat at KI and Iron Dragon at CP) will be closed?

    • Scott C.

      07/08/2014 at 7:45 am

      This was an act of nature, not a malfunction. There would be no need to close any other similar rides.

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/08/2014 at 9:43 am

      I agree with Scott. As an act of nature, there is no need to close any similar rides for inspections. However, it might make a few parks perform an inspection of any big trees close to their coasters.

  7. Davis S.

    07/08/2014 at 12:20 pm

    I hate how the news report doesn’t mention at all that the derailment was caused by a tree falling on the track. All the have to say is “A car jumped the rail”.

  8. James

    07/08/2014 at 3:08 pm

    That tree is huge! Looks like more than double the size of the spine of the track. I can’t believe that if employees operating the ride or jet stream were paying attention that they wouldn’t have heard or seen something. How strange for a tree of that size to just suddenly fall? That looks like its in the area near the station of the ride, we’re it makes a high left, right before it goes into that 1st big sweeping turn near the jet stream lake. Glad nobody was seriously injured.

    However I hope this isn’t detrimental to the reopening or long term operational status of the ride as I know there are only so many parts left to keep this type of ride up and running. Permanent damage to a car like this is going to at least force the park to use spare parts they wouldn’t typically use during a normal ride rehab.

  9. josh

    07/08/2014 at 3:26 pm

    That ducks for six flags and the people on that train…However it will force a desperately needed rehab on the ninja trains at least the one…it’s just not nearly as fast as it used to be..kinda bumpy too…not rough just not buttery like it should

    • Domingo

      07/09/2014 at 1:10 am

      Ninja is actually not bumpy it’s a pretty smooth and fast ride for its age and height. What I think there going to do is inspect the ninja Track and trim trees near the track and of course fix and inspect the car

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  11. Eric

    07/08/2014 at 4:54 pm

    Where on the ride did this happen? At first I thought it was on the left-hand turn right after the first drop, but after looking at it, this appears to be on the left-hand turn just before heading down to the helix over the lake.

    I hope the park will get Ninja back up and running soon. It’s one of my favorite rides and has been since it opened. There are so few rides of its type left these days.

  12. Scott C.

    07/08/2014 at 5:01 pm

    I think the fact that this train did not fall to the ground really shows how safe, and how well built these rides are. The first car is just hanging there. Imagine hitting a tree like this with your car!

    • Domingo

      07/09/2014 at 1:13 am

      I know and how old ninja is and technology has changed a lot since it has been built and the track was even able to hold the tree

  13. James

    07/08/2014 at 7:30 pm

    Pretty sure after pausing the video when it zooms out, then looking at Ninja on RCDB and Google Maps that this is the 180 degree left turn right before the big drop into the sweeping turn above the Jet Stream lake. Evidence is the 2 maintenance ladders that go up the supports with just 2 beams between them. Which again, this portion of track can pretty much be seen/heard from the Ninja station, as well as the station where employees sit on Jet Stream right before the final drop.

    Not saying the ride ops on either ride should have caught this, but its just strange that a tree of that size would fall, hit the track, probably make an odd dong sound, shake the track a bit, and nobody would hear or think anything might be strange?

    There are a couple things the riders are very lucky about as well, and that is the train coming to a stop, as that would be quite interesting/terrifying if the train continued to circuit as the first car and bogey were dangling from the 2nd car.

    Another thing the riders are lucky about is that the fiberglass car hanging from under the track didn’t just hit the tree trunk, because I could see those things just tearing apart if they hit a big thick tree trunk going 40+ MPH. They’re thick enough to hold people, but I don’t think they could withstand that kind of impact without doing some sort of significant damage to the cars and unfortunately the riders.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the cars on Ninja are connected by a bolt that is about 6+ inches in diameter, which connects a rotating pivot on each car bogey, so a car physically disconnecting from the rest of the train, or even snapping separate, is very unlikely even in this situation with the car 1 dangling connected to car 2.

    Anyway, glad to hear nobody was seriously injured, and I hope they can inspect the track, train, and clearance around the rest of the ride to get Ninja up and running again. Just more evidence that riding on coasters is one of the scariest, but still safest things to do!

  14. Eric

    07/08/2014 at 8:05 pm

    Ninja doesn’t have a block brake anywhere on its course, so once a train leaves the top of the first lift, there’s no way to stop it until the bottom of the second lift. If that tree branch broke between the time the train left the lift, even if the crew heard a strange sound, they couldn’t have stopped the train.

    Just a freak accident all the way around. Glad its outcome wasn’t worse.

  15. Pablo

    07/09/2014 at 9:57 pm

    There have been a few complaints about SFMM grounds-keeping but, at least they were smart and ditched the roller-skates.. I imagine the insurance investigator will file this under “Acts-of-God.”

  16. Matt

    07/10/2014 at 8:11 pm

    Bad news. I poked my head in yesterday, JetStream is closed as a result of the work going on around the crash area. At the height of Summer, the last thing they need is to shut down one of the 3 water rides…

    • tatsuuuUUU

      07/17/2014 at 8:49 am

      they reopened jet stream.

      • The Coaster Guy

        07/17/2014 at 8:55 am

        Sounds like you haven’t read the latest trip report yet. 😉

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  18. tatsuuuUUU

    07/17/2014 at 8:51 am

    when will the ride reopen?

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/17/2014 at 8:55 am

      Nobody knows yet.

      • tatsuuuUUU

        07/19/2014 at 10:52 am

        it reopened today. revolution was closed for several months and, not even a month. i don’t get it.

        • The Coaster Guy

          07/19/2014 at 12:53 pm

          It’s easy. Revolution dragged a tree branch through a block brake doing extensive damage that needed to be repaired. The only damage to Ninja was the train. Once they removed that, the ride was completely operable. It probably could’ve been open even sooner, but they needed to remove some trees and wait for the state to sign off.

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