Extra thrills: Riders left hanging after U.S. roller coaster derails

Four people were injured and rescue crews had to work into the evening to free 22 riders who were stranded some 9 metres above the ground on Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Ninja roller coaster late Monday after it hit a tree branch. TV news reports showed at least one of the cars, which normally are suspended beneath the track, dangling at an angle and derailed at the front. Firefighters and park maintenance workers in harnesses were seen removing the riders one by one from coaster cars at the park that is about 40 kilometres north of Los Angeles.

We were going across one turn and all of a sudden a loud noise happened. I ducked down just in time. A hard branch hit me in the head. I was there bleeding from my head.

Jeremy Ead, one of the injured riders

The riders could be seen waiting patiently as firefighters tried to reach them through a tangle of track and trees, some talking with each other and others resting with their eyes occasionally closed. The park’s website advertises that the Ninja swoops through the trees to give riders a thrill.

As you shoot down the snake-like steel track you’ll grip the hillsides and blast through the trees swiftly, slicing through the landscape. Ninja pivots with precision as you narrowly miss tagging land and water, whipping around at 55 miles [88 kilometres] per hour.

Online description of the ride