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13 hurt on El Toro roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure after ride hit "pothole" on track, park worker tells CBS2

NJ Six Flags worker details issues with roller coaster after injuries
NJ Six Flags worker details issues with roller coaster after injuries 02:28

JACKSON, N.J. -- There's new information about a malfunction that hurt more than a dozen riders on El Toro, the popular roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Friday, CBS2's Elijah Westbrook spoke exclusively with a park employee who's familiar with El Toro's operations. 

"El Toro was riding very, very rough since the beginning of the day," said the employee, who wanted to remain anonymous out of fear of losing their job. 

They said on Thursday the mammoth wooden roller coaster hit a "pothole," a term used to describe a slight separation between the track and wooden structure. 

"From what I know, it was mostly a pothole toward the end of it, before the last turn. That was the main area where the injuries happened," the employee said. 

According to Six Flags, 13 people were treated for minor back injuries at the park. Five people were taken to a local medical facility for further evaluation and treatment. 

El Toro opened in 2006. The wooden, prefabricated roller coaster reaches a height on 176 feet, drops riders at an incline of 76 degrees and reaches speeds up to 70 mph. 

The ride requires a maintenance team to check its every move. 

"From what I know, maintenance has know about it and they have tried fixing it. But for how it is, it just keeps happening," the employee said. "The employees keep telling them that there is an issue with the pothole and maintenance has done nothing about it." 

El Toro was shut down for most of the 2021 season due to a partial derailment as a coaster train was making its way toward the brake run, according to the State of New Jersey. 

In a statement, Six Flags said: 

The ride will remain closed for inspection. Any maintenance and repairs necessary will be completed and the ride will be re-inspected by our engineers, maintenance professionals, our 3rd party independent safety inspectors and the state of NJ prior to re-opening. 

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