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Roller coaster derails, riders plunge 34 feet

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Two passengers fell 34 feet (10 meters) to the ground when a roller coaster derailed and authorities had to pull eight others to safety high above the Daytona Beach Boardwalk.

"The front car which was holding four passengers completely came off the tracks," said Daytona Beach Fire spokeswoman Sasha Staton, adding that two of them suffered traumatic injuries when they fell from the Sand Blaster ride Thursday night.

"The other two were still in the car dangling. They had to be rescued from firefighters on the ground," she said.

Firefighters also used ladders to rescue six other passengers in two cars that were still on the track.

"They had to use the tower ladder to get to them and then bring them on board and guide them safely back down," Staton said.

Six of the 10 passengers were taken to the hospital. Staton said she did not know the extent of their injuries.

The accident is under investigation.

"We don't know what happened," Staton said.

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."


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