El Toro riders share fears after 5 hurt at Six Flags Great Adventure

El Toro riders share fears after 5 hurt at Six Flags Great Adventure

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Thrill-seekers who rode El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure flooded social media with their own horror tales after learning that five people were hospitalized.

And insiders who say they work at Six Flags have been raising alarms about turnover among workers who inspect rides at all Six Flags, including the park in Jackson, NJ, as The Post reported.

Several riders complained of back pain and five were taken to the hospital after riding the 19-story-high wooden roller coaster Thursday night.

El Toro riders posted that the ride jerked so much that they chipped their teeth and bit down on their tongues.

After the news broke, one parent described the coaster as the “roughest ride I’ve ever experienced” in a Reddit post about a July 18 visit, adding that “My 10 year old was sick for hours due to it.”

Another parent wrote on Reddit: “The last 2 times my son rode it – last week and last month – he came home the next day and complained of pulled back muscles.”

“Rode this last week for the first time in a few years – both my kid and I left seeing stars. Such a shame as it was always intense, but never painful. It needs some serious TLC,” a third parent wrote on the social media site.

Emergency vehicles at El Toro on Thursday.
Riders complained of back injuries from El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure.
WVPI

After the El Toro incident, a Reddit user who claimed to work in the maintenance department wrote that the company has been “going through a crazy staff shortage,” adding that “many of the team members working [at El Toro] were recently trained or don’t work the ride very often so they don’t [really] know the ride any more than how to operate it and what to do during breakdown procedures.”

Other insiders on Reddit said that the Arlington, Texas-based company is struggling to hire and keep veteran ride technicians who inspect and maintain the equipment, as The Post reported.

“It’s become increasingly difficult to hire skilled labor to maintain our infrastructure and rides,” a Reddit user who claims to be a Six Flags employee wrote earlier this month. “We’re just hiring bodies at this point to fill the positions, and that’s not good. Safety is going to suffer.”

Six Flags did not respond to requests for comment about the ride or accusations of staff shortages.

El Toro at night with emergency vehicles below.
Six Flags’ El Toro ride partially derailed last year and had just reopened in April.
WVPI

Last year, El Toro partially derailed when the rear wheels of the rear car were elevated on the track. Six Flags was fined $5,000 for failing to notify the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs by phone immediately after the incident, according to a NJ.com report.

Selim Bassoul
Selim Bassoul was named chief executive of Six Flags in November 2021.
Takreem

The ride reopened in April, but will remain closed now as the state investigates the latest incident.

“Any maintenance and repairs necessary will be completed and the ride will be re-inspected by our engineers, maintenance professionals, our third-party independent safety inspectors and the state of New Jersey prior to re-opening,” a Six Flags spokesperson told the Asbury Park Press on Friday.

The incident is just the latest setback to bedevil the company, whose new chief executive, Selim Bassoul, stirred up controversy during an earnings call this month when he said the parks had become “cheap day care centers for teenagers.”

Bassoul has been raising prices at the 27 parks, which has angered longtime season pass holders who say nothing has improved at the parks to merit such hikes. The company also disclosed that it had lost nearly 2 million customers this year, in large part due to the higher prices.

Bassoul says he wants to raise the quality of the customer who frequents the parks and to discourage “rowdy” teenagers from attending.

The company’s shares were down more than 7% on Friday afternoon.

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