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Roller Coaster Stops Rolling, Traps Riders High In The Air

A tree branch got in the way of the fun for more than 20 riders who were on the Ninja roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles Monday, stranding them above the ground for hours before rescue crews freed them.

The Ninja is a "suspended swinging roller coaster" that uses tubular rails to speed customers around the track in a series of cars that hang from the rails. The riders never go upside down; instead, they're held in seated positions by shoulder harnesses.

"Ninja pivots with precision as you narrowly miss tagging land and water, whipping around at 55 miles per hour," the company says on its website, which has been updated to say the ride is now temporarily closed.

The ride had 22 people on it when part of a pine tree derailed the lead car Monday afternoon; within three hours, they had all been safely returned to the ground. And while no serious injuries were reported, two people were taken to the hospital out of caution, reports The Los Angeles Times.

From local TV KCAL 9:

"SKY9â€ēs Kevin Takumi reports a clamp on the No. 1 car connecting the ride to the rail broke off at the impact point. The car could be seen dangling 20-30 feet above ground, held onto the ride by a rear clamp attached to the No. 2 car."

The station also spoke to a man who had been trapped on the roller coaster:

" 'We were going across one turn and all of a sudden a loud noise happened,' Jeremy Ead said. 'I ducked down just in time. A hard branch hit me in the head. I was there bleeding from my head, which was a little worse than this,' Ead added, pointing to a gash on his forehead.

" 'It took about 45 minutes to get any kind of response. One woman's child was on there for an hour, and no one was able to tell her whatever was going on. We just want to get out of here,' he said."

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