Incident on New Jersey Coaster Leaves Riders Injured

August 26, 2022, 12:08 AM · There's been another incident on El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure's award-winning Intamin wooden coaster.

Several riders reported injuries, with five people taken to local hospitals for evaluation, according to officials at the New Jersey park. Social media reports said riders reported a "pothole" on the track that left jaws and backs hurting.

Six Flags closed the ride for inspection after the incident. Last summer, a partial derailment of El Toro on June 29 led to the ride remaining closed for the rest of the 2021 season. After modifications, reportedly to address an issue with up-stop wheels, the coaster reopened this spring.

El Toro ranked among the top 10 coasters in our Theme Park Insider survey last year and was a two-time winner of our Theme Park Insider Award for Best Coaster.

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Replies (15)

August 26, 2022 at 1:22 AM

Well, I’m glad I grabbed a few rides on this earlier this summer, because this might be the end for the best woodie in the world.

August 26, 2022 at 2:19 AM

The fact that SF seems to be in more turmoil now than ever is really saying something.

August 26, 2022 at 4:16 AM

I rode El Toro for the first time exactly 1 month ago, and for me the lap bar was more like a “torso bar” clamping down right at the bottom of my rib cage. I really felt nervous about sustaining a rib injury. Let me tell you too, going on that ride while being nervous is a perfect recipe for a miserable experience.

It’s clearly on another level as far as wooden roller coasters go, but no way I would ever go on it again, even if it reopens.

I just got back from Cedar Point yesterday night, where I haven’t been since 2015, and what a difference in park operations between there and Six Flags Great Adventure. I’ve only been to 3 of the Six Flags parks, but I now completely understand why they have the “bottom of the barrel” reputation that they do.

August 26, 2022 at 7:29 AM

@chopper31 … I agree on the lap bar. I have never been pinned into a seat so hard as I was on El Toro. Not a pleasurable experience. On the complete opposite end of the scale … I absolutely loved Phoenix at Knoebels. Now that’s how riding a woodie should be.

August 26, 2022 at 7:58 AM

That’s unfortunate, but it seems like it was all pretty minor injuries. I would be shocked if it was closed for any extended period of time.

August 26, 2022 at 8:10 AM

Are we married to the term "woodie" ("best woodie in the world", "riding a woodie", etc)?

August 26, 2022 at 8:26 AM

this is concerning and i'd like to know more about this "pothole"...sounds very dangerous. i have only experienced ET once in 2009 and it was a stunner (was gonna go for a second ride but they dropped to one train operation and the wait was too painful). i wondered then, as i watched the trains get punished over each drop, how long this ride could stand the test of time.

August 26, 2022 at 1:18 PM

As easy as it is to jump the gun here and point fingers and blame the ride itself We still dont have all the facts yet. Perhaps it was the ride operators at fault?
For example, the incident at El Loco at Adventuredome Las Vegas was someone being allowed to ride who should have not been all to if ride operators had done their due diligence. And theh there is the tragedy at Icon Orlando Drop Tower which I won't go into obviously.

August 26, 2022 at 2:01 PM

why jump the gun and blame the ride when we can jump the gun and blame the people running the ride?

August 26, 2022 at 2:49 PM

"Best woodie in the world."


August 26, 2022 at 4:07 PM

I highly doubt this is the end of EL Toro, maybe for the end of this season yea, but not indefinitely. Let's not forget the GP has an extremely short memory, especially given the reports of the injuries. Nevertheless this is still very unfortunate but thankfully it wasn't worse. I would have to disagree with others in the comments as I had no problems with the lap bar at all this season.

August 26, 2022 at 4:45 PM

I am seeing far too many people jumping to the conclusion that El Toro will likely be deemed unsafe and permanently closed by the state of New Jersey as a result of this. However, we know next to nothing about what actually happened and the severity of it, so such conclusions are absolutely baseless. The biggest question that really needs to be answered is "Was this at all related to last year's incident, or was it an isolated occurrence, and if so could it reasonably be foreseen?" If it is the latter, chances are the ride will reopen once the root cause can be fixed and repairs made. If the former, particularly if it was caused by substandard repair work after the derailment, then the ride and park could be in a whole lot more trouble. But until we have more details on what exactly happened, any conclusion about the fate of the ride at this point is completely baseless.

August 26, 2022 at 7:37 PM

Agreed that not enough is known to jump to conclusions. El Toro is my favorite coaster of all the ones I've ridden and I'm tempted to think that this latest incident is a failure of proper maintenance but again that's speculation. I do hope that once the problem is identified Six Flags will make an effort to restore this treasure to mint condition. It's not only one of the park's premier attractions but a masterpiece of design. It comes close to being perfect. Also, to the best of my knowledge, it's only one of two wooden coasters to utilize a cable lift, the other being T Express at Everland in South Korea.

August 26, 2022 at 10:31 PM

We know that Six Flags does not love this ride like the community does.

August 27, 2022 at 12:26 AM

Unlike the posters above I will jump to conclusions, this is shoddy maintenance. Remember when the drop tower at SFKK cut the girls feet off because SFKK was trying to save money on maintenance. The ride is 16 years old if there is a design flaw it should have been noticed and addressed a long time ago.

I highly doubt the ride is going to be removed because, like TTD, its still one of the most iconic and highly rated coasters in the world and extremely popular. But this is really bad look for SF at the worst possible time, the Guest satisfaction is not going to go up (like the CEO says he is so obsessed with) when your best coaster at your biggest market park is closed two years in a row for two separate incidents.

Anyone who has worked at a SF park will tell you the #1 thing they can do to improve the parks is hire more maintenance people, its as simple as that. Better ride uptime = happier customers. But you can't accomplish that when you are doing literally the exact opposite every year by trimming more and more people off the payroll. I can't really speak in regards to what Selim Bassoul is doing because I haven't been to any SF parks under his tenure, but I remember sitting in a meeting with Mark Shapiro where he talked about how to fix up the parks and he brought up how people thought the parks were understaffed, and one day he had an epiphany. He was at a Cubs game and saw the snack vendors wearing bright yellow highlighter shirts which made them easy to notice. So he decided that if the employees in the parks wore bright yellow highlighter shirts people would notice the employees more and hence think they are better staffed.
(here is a picture of the SF employee uniforms from 08-2011)

I wish I was making this up but this is the way some people who are in executive positions think. I've seen this happen over and over (especially with SF) where they lay people off to trim labor costs in order to fund capital, but then whatever they spent money on ends up falling into disrepair because they don't have the labor to maintain it properly. It seems Selim similarly has been jacking up the prices but also hasn't been willing to spend any money to actually improve the parks.

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