Daytona Beach roller coaster derailed because of excessive speed, says investigation


  • Photo via YouTube
Last month's derailment of the Daytona Beach roller coaster that hospitalized six people was due to excessive speed and operator negligence, concluded a report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Today the department released its Preliminary Investigative Summary and the third-party engineer’s report of the Sand Blaster Roller Coaster accident, stating that there had possibly been a similar accident on the ride in the past that the owners may have known about.

From the report:
After dismantling part of the support structure to gain access to the site of the accident, the engineer found evidence of a previous derailment that occurred after the ride was refurbished and initially permitted in 2013. There was also evidence of other derailments that likely occurred prior to that year. A review of department records determined that no derailments were reported to the department. Based upon this information, it appears the ride owner and/or the engineer who signed the Affidavit of Compliance and Nondestructive Testing either knew or should have known that the ride was operating in a manner that presented a serious risk of injury to patrons.
"Operator error caused the Sand Blaster Roller Coaster derailment, which injured multiple people. We’ve issued subpoenas to obtain more information from the ride operator, and we will hold fully accountable those responsible," said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam in a statement.

Ten people were riding on the Sand Blaster when it derailed on June 14. Two were ejected from the front coaster car and fell 34 feet to the ground, and six were transported to the hospital. The Sand Blaster was traveling at 22 mph when it derailed.

The coaster passed an inspection from Adam Putnam's office just hours before the accident occurred.

A woman who was severely injured in the incident has since hired Orlando-based attorney Matt Morgan of Morgan and Morgan to represent her. "It appears this failure may have been foreseeable based upon the information gathered to date," Matt Morgan wrote in a release.

The Sand Blaster is currently not operating while the investigation continues.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.