A roller coaster tragedy hit the amusement park on Daytona Beach in Florida on Thursday night.
The car of a moving roller coaster derailed, sending two riders plummeting to the ground from a height of about 34 feet. Two more riders were left dangling midair while the remaining riders on the roller coaster held on tight for dear life.
The Daytona Beach Fire Department rushed to the spot to lower them to safety using ladders and crane. The injured were taken to Halifax Health Medical Center.
'Chaotic and time-sensitive'
Fire department spokeswoman Sasha Staton said, "Firefighters had to get ladders on the ground. We have a tech rescue team specializing in high-rise rescues. They were the ones that successfully removed the two dangling riders to the ground."
"It was definitely chaotic and time-sensitive," Staton said. "We didn't want the dangling car to fall any further."
She said, "Police kept many bystanders from all directions far enough away for their own safety because we had a lot of equipment and for the firefighters' safety so they'd have plenty of room to work and evacuate the riders."
Injured victims in critical condition
The fire department personnel managed to rescue ten people from the ride, two of whom are said to be in a critical condition. The roller coaster is supposed to be a thrilling ride but turned into an absolute nightmare on Thursday night at Daytona.
Jennifer Meale, a spokesperson for the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said, "First and foremost, we're concerned about the individuals who were injured last night. Their well-being and recovery (are) of the utmost importance."
Was the roller coaster safe to ride?
According to the News-Journal, the roller coaster, Sand Blaster was opened at the Daytona boardwalk in August 2013. It was already 40 years old when it was bought from a closed amusement park in Delaware in 2012. In February 2017, a stop operation order was imposed on it.
"Just yesterday, department inspectors conducted a thorough inspection of the ride, and it was found in compliance with state law. We have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident, and anyone who should be held accountable will be held accountable" Meale added.
The roller coaster had reportedly failed two inspections earlier this year due to multiple irregularities, but officials claim it was rectified before the accident on Thursday night.