DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on a roller coaster derailment in Florida (all times local):
Florida officials say a roller coaster passed a state inspection only hours before it derailed and sent two riders plummeting to the ground.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Jennifer Meale said Friday that the Sand Blaster at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk had been seen Thursday by state inspectors.
Meale’s statement says the roller coaster “was found in compliance with state law.” It says the agency is investigating the cause, and says “anyone who should be held accountable will be held accountable.”
Daytona Beach Fire officials say two riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) to the ground when their car derailed and was left dangling from the track. They were hospitalized along with four other people who had been on the ride Thursday evening.
Authorities say two riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) to the ground when a roller coaster derailed and eight others had to be pulled to safety high above the Daytona Beach Boardwalk.
Daytona Beach Fire spokeswoman Sasha Staton says the front car came off the tracks Thursday night, and two of its four passengers suffered traumatic injuries falling to the ground. Firefighters extricated two others from the dangling car.
She says six of the 10 riders were hospitalized Thursday night. She said the extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately known.
She also says the cause of the accident is being investigated.
The ride had passed a state inspection just hours before the derailment, according to a statement Friday from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Jennifer Meale.
“Department inspectors conducted a thorough inspection of the ride, and it was found in compliance with state law,” Meale said.
Meale added that “anyone who should be held accountable will be held accountable.”
The Sand Blaster was already 40 years old when it opened at the boardwalk in August 2013, after being purchased from a closed amusement park in Delaware, according to a Daytona Beach News-Journal report.
Trevor Gutierrez, a 13-year-old from Atlanta whose family vacations in Daytona Beach every year, told the newspaper that it had been one of the few roller coasters he was willing to ride.
But the ride seemed too bumpy the last time he tried it, and after Thursday night’s derailment, he decided to never try it again.
“I feel like the ride wasn’t checked well enough,” he said. “I’m not riding on that thing again.”
This story corrects attribution of statement in 11 a.m. item from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to spokeswoman Jennifer Meale, not Commissioner Adam Putnam