Ninja nightmare: Pulling off a tricky rescue - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

Ninja nightmare: Pulling off a tricky rescue

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(CBS 8) – The Ninja roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain remains closed one day after a tree fell on the track and caused a derailment. Nearly two-dozen people were left stranded 30 feet off the ground until firefighters were able to get them down.

When firefighters raced to the amusement park on Monday, they had their work cut out for them to free the 22 people trapped on the Ninja coaster.

"I ducked down just as a hard branch hit me in the head. I was there bleeding from my head, which was a little worse than this. It took about 45 minutes to get any type of response," rider Jeremy Ead said.

An array of tools for high-angle roller coaster rescues takes months of training in the Chula Vista Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue Team. Brad Carlin of the CVPD says such a complicated, lengthy rescue requires patience from riders to execute and precision from firefighters to plan.

"Communication is very important for us, because we are dealing with heights, we're dealing with moving ropes and we're dealing with victims, and their lives are in our hands," Carlin said.

Belmont Park's Giant Dipper roller coaster is checked for maintenance issues daily, and that's required of all rollercoasters in California. Even though firefighters train at different rides throughout the county, there's relief that the training isn't put to use too often.

"We do have millions of riders every year on rides in California, and it's very rare that anyone gets seriously injured on any ride in California," Wendy Crain of the San Diego Coaster Company said.

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