The Six Flags Great Adventure roller coaster that malfunctioned at the end of a ride at the New Jersey theme park last month, injuring more than a dozen people and hospitalizing five of them, will remain shut down because of structural damage to the support columns that could endanger riders, state community affairs officials said Wednesday.
New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) workers conducted a preliminary field investigation into the Aug. 25 incident involving the El Toro coaster and initially identified the structural column damage. The agency now says those damaged columns structurally compromise the park’s ability to operate the ride in a safe manner.
El Toro will remain closed for an unspecified period of time, DCA said. It will conduct an engineering review as it works to determine the cause of the structural issues, which thus far remains unknown. It is consulting with the manufacturer.
The Aug. 25 fright on El Toro happened around 7:30 p.m. that August night as the ride was ending. Something malfunctioned and more than a dozen injuries of varying severity were reported to the riders.
Last year, the wooden roller coaster was closed when the rear wheels of the car lifted off the track. No one was injured, but the state fined the park $5,000 for not calling ride officials right away.
El Toro, according to the park’s website, is one of the fastest and tallest wooden coasters in the world. The ride reaches speeds of 70 mph and climbs up to 19 stories for one of the steepest drops in the country.