2023 El Toro Reopening Planned By Six Flags Great Adventure | Brick, NJ Patch

2022-09-24 06:06:31 By : Ms. richxr sales

JACKSON, NJ — Six Flags Great Adventure is planning to make repairs and aims to reopen El Toro in 2023, a park spokesman said.

The roller coaster remains shut down while state inspectors continue their investigation of the Aug. 25 ride incident that injured 14 people, but a statement Thursday said the park plans to reopen the ride, and expects to do so in time for the 2023 season opening.

, said Gabriel Darretta, a park spokesman.

Officials with the state Department of Community Affairs' Carnival-Amusement Ride Safety Unit conducted field inspections of El Toro and found structural damage to "multiple wooden track support columns" in the area where the incident happened, said Lisa Ryan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Community Affairs.

"Based on initial findings of the ongoing investigation, DCA has deemed these damaged track support columns structurally compromised as it pertains to the continued safe operation of the ride," Ryan said.

Of the 14 people injured in the August incident, five were taken to hospitals for treatment, state officials said. The state did not have updated information on the severity of injuries.

"A careful and deliberate review of the entire ride indicates the primary and backup safety systems of the ride ensured the train completed its ride cycle safely,"Gabriel Darretta, a Six Flags Great Adventure spokesman, said Thursday. "Experts discovered a section of the ride sub-structure that requires repair. The ride will remain closed to complete the review and make necessary repairs."

"Prior to re-opening, which is expected in time for the 2023 season, the ride will be inspected again, including evaluations by the state of New Jersey and certified, independent ride safety experts," Darretta said.

"Once approved by our engineers, maintenance, and operations professionals, the ride will re-open," he said.

El Toro, which opened in 2006, is one of the most popular roller coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure and has been named among the top roller coasters in the country by roller coaster fans. It covers 4,400 feet of twists, tight turns and drops, including one of 176 feet, reaching a top speed of 70 miles per hour.

Trip Savvy named it the No. 1 wooden roller coaster in a 2020 article: "Smooth-as-silk and among the fastest wooden coasters in the world (at 70 mph), El Toro is a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps its greatest attribute is the freaky out-of-your-seat airtime it delivers."

The shutdown is the second in two years. In 2021 El Toro was red-tagged after what state officials said was “a partial derailment,” where the rear wheels of one car came out of their proper position on the tracks. El Toro reopened at the start of the 2022 season after a state-mandated engineering review and repair plan was submitted by the ride manufacturer, Intamin.

"Every ride at Six Flags is inspected each day prior to opening," Darretta said in the statement. "Additionally, all rides are inspected in the off-season including non-destructive testing such as X-ray and magnetic particle imaging. All manufacturer guidelines for maintenance are followed, at a minimum, with additional requirements as directed by Six Flags’ full-time, credentialed engineers."

"Six Flags has successfully worked hand in hand with the NJ Department of Community Affairs for more than two decades, delivering a safe, thrilling experience for our guests. Over the past 20 years, Six Flags Great Adventure alone has delivered more than 200 million roller coaster rides," Darretta said.

"While a visit to a theme park is already one of the safest forms of entertainment available, we, as an industry, spend our greatest amount of time, talent and resources to make an incredibly safe industry even safer."

El Toro was designed by German thrill-ride engineer Werner Stengel, who has worked on many of the world's record-breaking roller coasters, including Kingda Ka at Great Adventure.

It was manufactured by Intamin, a Swiss company whose name is shortened from "International Amusement Installations." The company has created dozens of coasters around the world. Intamin contracted with Rocky Mountain Construction to build El Toro, according to Coasterforce.com.

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