Ninja partially derails at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Posted Monday, July 7, 2014 10:44 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Ed. note: At the time of publication, the LA station was reporting four injuries. The site was streaming live helicopter video at 7:30 p.m. local time. What I saw was that the front bogie of the first car had derailed, and the car was loaded. Workers were securing the train's position with chains between the second bogie and the track. I saw the four people in the first car having a laugh about something as the workers were climbing above the track. It was difficult to see if the entire train was loaded, but I make the assumption that they would not attempt to evacuate the train without its position secured. -Jeff

Read more and possibly see video from KNBC/Los Angeles.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 More details of the derailment, caused by a fallen tree, from The LA Times.

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Monday, July 7, 2014 10:51 PM
waynethexplorer's avatar

I have to say that while I like having trees around coasters, I've often wondered if it's the best idea when it comes to safety.

Monday, July 7, 2014 11:03 PM
Jeff's avatar

The weird thing is that the hooks around the wheel assembly apparently failed. If a wheel or something came off, you kind of don't want those to fail. Not sure if this ride is more like Iron Dragon or The Bat, though I seem to recall the latter has the failsafe between the wheel pair, low to the track and over the bogie's center, while the former has a bar over the track behind the wheels.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, July 7, 2014 11:15 PM
kpjb's avatar

Wow. You never expect to see a failure that catastrophic.


Monday, July 7, 2014 11:41 PM

That's a scary sight. I can only imagine what it's like for the people on the ride.

One situation that has been in the back of my mind is suspended coasters derailing over water. What if Iron Dragon derailed over the lagoon? Would you be stuck in your harness, drowning? It's a morbid thought, but seeing this Ninja accident made me think of it again.

Last edited by Danimales, Monday, July 7, 2014 11:53 PM
Monday, July 7, 2014 11:45 PM
Jeff's avatar

Gawker has an interesting view of the derailed car:

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:01 AM

Point of view...

Source: Reddit

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 1:10 AM
Walk-Off HBP's avatar

How soon until we're treated to selfies?

The trick was to surrender to the flow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 4:43 AM

That's one big tree...

(credit:KCAL News)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 4:57 AM
Rick_UK's avatar

It's kind of shocking this doesn't happen more often. As an op, you've no idea if a tree has fallen unless you're able to spot it on CCTV (so many rides have massive blackspots...).

Also, if you do spot it - you're pretty powerless to do anything about it unless there's a block between the train and the incident.

I understand why parks stop operations in high winds but branches/trees often fall days/weeks late after being weakened.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 6:31 AM

I've always been under the assumption that parks with coasters in wooded areas would have the area inspected for weakened trees periodically in order to avoid this type of accident. I'll remember that the next time I go to a Six Flags park.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:08 AM
kpjb's avatar

Yikes. That looks like more than a "branch" to me.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:45 AM

The thing to maybe be thankful about in this is that it happened on a suspended coaster. Can you imagine if a limb like that should fall across the track of an upright coaster?

Back in the day you would frequently see old coasters, mainly out and backs, where over the years the trees along side had grown up so they kind of canopied the track in some places. We would reach up, thinking we could grab the leaves. I think anymore parks keep trees trimmed well away from the track to avoid a catastrophe.

My morbid thought has always involved a coaster like The Beast and how possible it might be to someday look up and see a large tree or an animal of some kind blocking the track. Oh, but then there was the actual time that ride caught fire (due to a tossed cig or joint or stray firework or something) and a train full of riders went through the flames, actually burning some of them. It was in a remote enough location that nobody knew til they got back to the station.

Ok, I'm going to leave and go to my happy place now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:50 AM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

There used to be a line of trees next to Magnum's return run immediately after the pretzel turn that were removed. We used to be able to grab those branches as well. I assume the trees being removed are for this very reason.

Of course, like a typical novice enthusiast we bitched. We're over it now :)


Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:12 AM

Thankfully there were no fatalities involved in this incident.

Most comments/posts on stories I've read on the internet range from "Trees are deadly and shouldn't be planted near roller coasters" all the way to "Close down ALL the Six Flags because they aren't safe". Anytime a tree is near a structure, you run the risk of it causing damage in the event that a large branch (or a whole tree) comes crashing down.

Who knows what will happen going forward in order for the park to reopen this ride. How much life is left in this ride?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:17 AM
Thabto's avatar

I imagine the park will trim and inspect the trees around the ride. Many other parks are probably going to do that now as a precaution.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:23 AM
waynethexplorer's avatar

Last night I was wondering how a branch could make the wheel carriage fall off the rails since I knew there were solid braces above the wheels, well after seeing these pics it's pretty clear, the tree was stronger and heavier than the wheel carriage.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:40 AM
Vater's avatar

I'm pretty sure that was an Intamin tree.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:46 AM

Blackie said:

I've always been under the assumption that parks with coasters in wooded areas would have the area inspected for weakened trees periodically in order to avoid this type of accident. I'll remember that the next time I go to a Six Flags park.

I'm sure they do, but you can't always program the freakish aspect of mother nature into a morning inspection. I'll give Six Flags a pass on this one.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:52 AM
Jeff's avatar

Assuming the tree fell between cycles, I don't think you can really blame the park. It just falls in the freakish event bucket. Agreed that it would have been much worse if it were not an inverted/suspended ride.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy


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