Falling tree injures roller coaster riders

February 11, 2024, 11:33 AM · A falling tree injured 14 riders on a roller coaster in Spain this morning.

The accident happened on Tomahawk, a CCI family wooden coaster in PortAventura park. Five people were hospitalized, with two suffering what local authorities called serious injuries.

PortAventura released a statement about the incident.

This Sunday morning, due to an episode of strong winds, a fortuitous event occurred when a tree fell near the Tomahawk attraction. Some of the branches hit customers who were on the ride. After activating our emergency protocols, the people affected were immediately attended to by our first aid teams alongside EMS, and some were subsequently taken to hospital for further medical attention. PortAventura World is monitoring the evolution of their condition, with full readiness to offer any necessary assistance at this time, as well as full support for the families.

This is an incident completely unrelated to the operation and maintenance of our attractions, which meet the highest safety standards and are subjected to rigorous daily checks.

We are offering our full cooperation to authorities, and thank our team and emergency services for their efficiency and professionalism.

PortAventura is Spain's most-visited theme park, attracting 3.75 million visitors in 2022, according to the TEA/AECOM Theme Index attendance report. The park has eight roller coasters, including Uncharted: The Enigma of Penitence, which opened last year.

* * *
To keep up to date with more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider's weekly newsletter.

Replies (2)

February 11, 2024 at 11:54 AM

Allow me to push back on the park's assertion that this incident was "completely unrelated to the operation and maintenance of our attractions."

Attraction maintenance includes the monitoring and maintenance of the environment surrounding the attractions. A park needs to be monitoring weather conditions, soil and water, as well as wildlife and foliage that can affect and impede safe attraction operations. That includes ensuring that the trees surrounding a ride pose no danger to riders.

The routine way that parks do this is through envelope testing. But just because something is not currently violating a ride envelope does not guarantee that something might not fall into that envelope at some point.

Yes, this was a freak accident. I suspect that it will push parks around the world to call arborists for health and safety checks on trees near their rides - which parks should be doing on a regular basis anyway.

February 12, 2024 at 8:21 AM

wasn't there a tree that fell on ninja at SFMM that caused the ride to valley and several riders were injured? i grew up in the OKC area and had a local park called Springlake. the legendary Big Dipper was the star attraction and its out and back course ran through some pretty big woods. on one visit, there were thunderstorms with lots of rain. i'm sure the teenagers operating the ride were not properly trained and the ride should have been closed, nonetheless. as teenagers, me and my cousins didn't think anything of not being safe but the rains caused the trees to get heavy and sag low so we were dodging branches during the whole ride. later, it stopped on the lift hill and everyone had to be evacuated. thankfully, we weren't on that one. reading this story from Spain, i count us very lucky nothing bad happened.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive