911 calls detail panic surrounding Daytona Beach roller coaster derailment
6 injured after roller coaster derails, throws 2 passengers to ground
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Calls to 911 detail the panic bystanders felt moments after a popular roller coaster in Daytona Beach derailed Thursday night, throwing two passengers more than 30 feet to ground and injuring a total of six people, officials said.
One caller said people nearby were working to keep a dangling passenger from falling out completely until rescue crews could arrive.
"They've got a bunch of guys holding her up from the cart. It's hanging right now," a woman told dispatchers. "I just need somebody out here as soon as possible."
Another caller told dispatchers he could hear screaming as he saw the ride hanging from its tracks.
In a separate 911 call, a man said he could see people on the ground and someone else hanging.
"There's a couple people on the ground and a girl's hanging right now. (I) bet she can't breathe and they can't get her out," he told dispatchers.
Another caller tried to stay calm as he described what was happening.
"The roller coaster completely broke off," he said. "We need an ambulance, please."
The dispatcher asked him to describe the victims' injuries.
"Somebody fell from the top of the roller coaster and somebody is stuck inside, he told the dispatcher.
The caller told the dispatcher people nearby were trying to help the victim stuck in the hanging cart get down safely.
Ten people were on board the Sand Blaster when the derailment took place on the Boardwalk ride and caused one of the three cars its made up of to dangle off the track, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department.
According to a report from Daytona Beach police, the first car was hanging off the side of the ride, the middle car was off the tracks and the third was stationary on the tracks.
The two people who fell to the ground were riding in the front car before the incident caused them to be thrown from it, police said.
The front cart was still seen dangling from the other two on the track Friday morning, hours after the rescue was complete.
It's unclear if the coaster had any reported issues that may have caused Thursday's derailment, but the ride's history suggests it's had problems in the past.
According to a report by the Daytona Beach News Journal, the ride was cited for multiple issues in a report as recent as last year.
Officials with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the ride underwent a thorough inspection hours before Thursday's derailment and that it was in compliance with state law.
Investigators were at the scene Friday morning working to determine what may have caused the derailment.
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