NJ inspectors say Six Flags roller coaster is ‘structurally compromised’
JACKSON — A popular wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure will remain closed indefinitely, as El Toro has been deemed “structurally compromised,” according to state inspectors.
The 19-story tall ride has been shut down for nearly a month, since an incident in the evening on Aug. 25 left 14 people hurt — five of them in need of medical attention, theme park and state officials have said.
Ride inspectors from the state Department of Community Affairs responded and found damage to “multiple wooden track support columns in a section of the coaster track.”
Just what caused the damage has not yet been determined and the coaster has been placed under “engineering review,” DCA spokesperson Lisa Ryan said on Wednesday.
“Prior to re-opening, which is expected in time for the 2023 season, the ride will be inspected again, including evaluations by the state of NJ and certified, independent ride safety experts,” a spokesperson for Great Adventure said in a written response on Thursday.
Previously, the count of those injured was slightly higher at 19, according to DCA spokesperson Tammori Petty-Dixon, who said witnesses to the August incident reported "hearing a loud bang and seeing a jolting of the El Toro train during operation."
It was the second notable incident in roughly a year — after a partial derailment in June 2021 had prompted El Toro's closing for months, to undergoing extensive testing, inspections and state certification.
In the summer 2021 incident, there were no reported injuries, though people were on the ride at the time.
The ongoing investigation includes consultation with the ride manufacturer.
Every ride at Six Flags is inspected each day prior to the park opening, according to the Great Adventure spokesperson.
He continued "Additionally, all rides are inspected in the off-season including non-destructive testing such as x-ray and magnetic particle imaging. All manufacturer guidelines for maintenance are followed, at a minimum, with additional requirements as directed by Six Flags’ full-time, credentialed engineers."
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.