Local news station WVEC has reported that several passengers were injured last night just before a thunderstorm blew through the area when an inflatable prop blew onto the track in the path of one of the trains.
JAMES CITY COUNTY — Several guests at Busch Gardens were treated at the park or taken to the hospital Thursday.
They were riding the popular Griffon roller coaster as strong winds blew threw the area, catching hold of a prop that blew into the ride.
Bruce Wilson, Communications Manager for Busch Gardens and Water Country USA released this statement:
“At approximately 7:30 p.m., Thursday, a quickly moving storm caused a weather-related incident at Busch Gardens that caused injuries to several guests riding the Griffon roller coaster. A sudden gust of high winds knocked an inflatable prop from its anchor points as park employees were in the process of deflating it. Winds blew the prop into the path of an oncoming coaster train, which came to a stop at the top of the coaster’s second hill.
Guests were evacuated from the train and treated on site for any injuries they may have suffered. Five guests requested transportation to Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center. Please contact the hospital for further information on the guests’ conditions.”
This is not the first time in incident like this has occurred at the park. Years ago, a tree branch fell onto the Loch Ness Monster track during a storm and a train ran into it. There were no serious injuries caused during that incident and, based on the fact that the riders that went to the hospital from injuries caused by this incident requested to be taken rather than be taken immediately, it would seem that any injuries in this case are not serious.
Here are some pictures of the inflatable balloons that had been located in the Aquitaine section of the park. It is not clear which, if any, of the props in the following image were involved in the incident.
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