Tram crash injures 15 at Universal Studios Hollywood

April 21, 2024, 2:21 AM · Fifteen people were injured in a tram crash at Universal Studios Hollywood Saturday night.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the collision just after 9pm Pacific Time. The fire department reported that 15 patients were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries. It is unclear at this time what caused the collision.

A Universal spokesperson released the following statement to local media: "There was a tram incident at the theme park tonight that resulted in multiple minor injuries, confirmed by the LA County Fire Dept. We are working to support our guests and understand the circumstances that led to the accident."

Universal is preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Studios Tour, which first opened July 15, 1964. The park has been retrofitting its Studio Tour trams with their original "Glamor Tram" designs for the anniversary celebration, which kicks off Friday, April 26 and is set to continue through August 11.

Update: A California Highway Patrol report said that the last car on the tram struck a guard rail on the right side of the road as the tram was turning left onto Avenue M, just past the Jurassic Park cars. That location is just behind Amity Village. The collision caused the car to "tilt and eject multiple passengers from the tram."

Universal released another statement Sunday: "Our thoughts continue to be with the guests who were involved, and we are thankful that based on agency reports, the injuries sustained were minor. We are working closely with public agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, as we continue tour review of the incident and safety remains a top priority."

The Studio Tour reopened Sunday morning.

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Replies (19)

April 21, 2024 at 6:27 AM

If this had happened at a Disney park the internet would be on fire right now.

April 21, 2024 at 9:10 AM

Has this happened before? Hope everyone is okay and that Universal makes it easy for them to be compensated. Free season pass maybe??

April 21, 2024 at 9:44 AM

Studio lots can be chaotic - but usually not at 9pm on a Saturday. I really want to see the investigation results on this one. Apparently, the California Highway Patrol is handling that.

April 21, 2024 at 10:44 AM

Did the tram collide with another tram?

Whatever the cause, I’m glad to hear the injuries were only reported as “minor” for all involved.

April 21, 2024 at 11:17 AM

Well, of course it crashed- many sighs say beach closed or road closed...

And Here come the lawsuits....

'My back, George my back'

April 21, 2024 at 11:36 AM

I wonder why initial reports last night said 10 people injured, one of them critically. Photos showed ambulances and fire trucks around the crashed tram vehicle.

What happened to these critically injured individual?

April 21, 2024 at 1:11 PM

Certainly everything will come out. The investigations will be made. Litigation will be processed. Thoughts and prayers of course. But for those of us focused on all aspects of themed entertainment, this is an opportunity to see how the media responds to a Universal incident verses one that happens at a Disney park.

When something negative about Disney appears in a headline, it generates clicks. There is an entire YouTube cottage industry that thrives off of sensationalist headlines that include the name Disney -- supported by graphic, trash thumbnails. Let's be honest, in a few weeks (or days ... maybe hours) the world will little note, nor long remember the incident at USH. However, those that regularly voice opinions about the industry should be willing to call out unbalanced commentary by those who are looking for a $75 YouTube royalty check because State Farm decided to throw another Arnold Schwarzenegger ad at the front of their bash Disney vlog.

April 21, 2024 at 2:05 PM

Also reminding that there is no widely accepted standard for what constitutes a "minor" or "serious" or "critical" injury. Use of that vocabulary can vary from department and institution. Federal patient privacy laws also encourage caregivers to be vague when releasing information to the press, if they say anything at all. So we're pretty much left with using what vocabulary we are given in press releases.

Eyewitness accounts can be helpful, but if they have a different definition of "critical" than everyone else, well, we're right back in the fog, aren't we?

April 21, 2024 at 2:47 PM

Great point Robert. And everyone’s threshold for pain is different as well. So here’s to hoping that all involved suffered only minor injuries, by even the loosest of definitions.

April 21, 2024 at 3:23 PM

Why are we not taking the time to extrapolate this line of reasoning? Why are we not investing the time to monitor the intensity of the spotlight on Universal while hypothesizing what the level of attention would have been had 15 people been injured on an attraction at Walt Disney World?

Maybe I could better explain my point by directly quoting an experienced themed entertainment industry commentator.

Robert Niles January 26, 2023: "When crapping on Universal drives traffic and ad money the way that crapping on Disney now does, expect to see the Internet awash in criticism of whatever Universal happens to be doing, or not doing, at the moment."

Why are we being gun-shy when it comes to acknowledging that the exaggeration of the Walt Disney Company's theme park flaws happens because it is a thriving revenue stream?

April 21, 2024 at 4:34 PM

@TH: I 100% get where you’re coming from, and happen to agree. I mentioned something similar in my comment on the thread about Universal’s delaying of its Donkey Kong Coaster and the different level of excoriation that would’ve been directed towards Disney had it been the one to make the announcement. Speaking for myself, as a theme park fan in general, I’m hoping that everyone involved is okay. But yeah, had this been a collision on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train then it would be part of the chyron circuit immediately.

April 21, 2024 at 4:55 PM

@fattyackin: Based on the quote provided, the proprietor of this website also gets "where I am coming from".

And it goes beyond safety, and other fails. It relates to everything associated with the conventional wisdom associated with the Walt Disney Company.

And because negative Disney news generates clicks, the volume related to everything from ticket prices, to attraction breakdowns, to the cost of the Galactic Starcruiser becomes elevated. As in turned up to eleven.

And as long as Disney bashing headlines create a revenue stream the public (waders) will be inclined to embrace the cliché.

If the Universal accident had occurred at a Disney park, there would already be 25 YouTube videos claiming it would not have happened if Nelson Peltz had been driving the tram.

April 21, 2024 at 6:57 PM

This is what happens when you put Fast & Furious in the tour!

April 21, 2024 at 10:25 PM

Other publications and creators are gonna do what they do. I do what I do. Which, I hope, is accepted as accurate, informative, and insightful.

April 22, 2024 at 3:06 AM

We appreciate your responsible reporting Robert,

As for people's concerns about lawsuits, how about our immediate concern be for the wellbeing of those injured on the tram. A minor injury for some can lead to a lifetime of pain in others. As someone who helps people manage pain on a daily basis I see regularly that two people with the same physiological insult or injury can respond wildly differently based on a number of factors. Whilst litigation rarely helps anyone's pain (and in many cases can worsen it), neither does discounting the experience that people go through.

I hope that they are all safe and well cared for.

April 22, 2024 at 6:59 AM

@Robert Niles: Make no mistake, when it comes to covering the themed entertainment industry, Theme Park Insider is peerless. For more than 20 years, TPI has set a standard for accuracy, integrity and credibility.

Among the content to which I am referring are several dozen YouTube channels (vloggers) that generate clicks and the ensuing income by attacking Disney at every turn. I will certainly not identify any of them on the TPI site. I wouldn't even consider providing with an opportunity to garner any more attention.

April 23, 2024 at 5:52 AM

Here's another news story that would seem to illustrate the "Disney double-standard". Variety (04/18/24): "Netflix will no longer report subscriber numbers — which has been a key metric for streaming services for years — beginning with the first quarter of 2025. The company made the announcement in releasing its first-quarter 2024 earnings Thursday."

The "bash-Disney-generate clicks-make cash vlogiverse" over on YouTube would lose its collective mind if the Walt Disney Company announced that Disney+ would no longer be releasing its subscriber numbers to the public.

April 27, 2024 at 12:49 AM

News reports say that certain individuals were injured more seriously than Universal claimed and the park is attempting to downplay the seriousness of the injuries.

"The tram was passing the Jurassic Park exhibit when, while making a left turn, the last tram car struck a metal guardrail on the right-hand side, according to California Highway Patrol.

"The maneuver tilted the vehicle, causing passengers to fall out and onto the road. Emergency crews transported 15 people to the hospital with minor to moderate injuries

"One family visiting from Murrieta was injured in the crash, including 11-year-old Sophia who was celebrating her birthday at the theme park.

"Sophia was ejected from the tram and her father suffered leg, back and shoulder injuries. The girl’s mother, however, was the most injured in the family.

“She was propelled so violently into the plexiglass wall in front of her,” Dhillon said. “It impacted her brain so much that it started to bleed. She’s been experiencing headaches, nausea, vomiting, disorientation. The list goes on and on.”

"All three injured family members were treated at a local hospital and later released.

"Universal Studios released a statement after the crash saying, “We are thankful that, based on agency reports, the injuries sustained were minor.”

"However, Dhillon believes the tram was traveling unusually fast that night and that the windows and walls of the tram were not strong enough to protect riders.

“The guard walls that come down on the tram were so weak that they gave out and allowed the individuals to be hurled outside of the tram,” Dhillon said. “This was by no means a minor accident with minor injuries. You don’t transport a dozen individuals to the hospital for minor injuries.” "

Granted, this family has hired an attorney so the news report might be not completely accurate, but they are not currently planning to file a lawsuit but are asking Universal to "do the right thing." The article details what happened that night from the point of view of some of the riders on the tram involved in the accident.

April 27, 2024 at 1:07 AM

After hearing the initial news reports, I was wary of going on this attraction again until I felt satisfied that it was entirely safe and the likelihood of a similar accident was very, very unlikely.

It seems like Universal has swept the whole matter under the rug and wants people to think it was a freak accident that they had no control over. Universal has a lot invested in not having the tram close for an extended period. The tram carries thousands of visitors every day and is the centerpiece of this year's Studio Tour 50th anniversary marketing promotion.

Before I or my family members get on the Studio Tour again, I'd want to know exactly how and why the accident happened. Was it driver error? Were the visitors ejected from the tram because of some fundamental design flaw? Do the tram cars require individual seat belts to avoid ejection from the vehicles after a similar collision?

When Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain had its fatal accident in 2003, the ride didn't re-open until the exact cause of the derailment was determined and the causes corrected. I don't see how local safety officials allow the tram to re-open within a couple of days of the accident without a more thorough investigation.

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