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June 16, 2023

Six Flags to reopen El Toro roller coaster; Kingda Ka remains closed due to mechanical failure

The wooden ride was shut down last year after injuring 14 people. State investigators are now reviewing Kingda Ka, the world's tallest coaster

Recreation Amusement Parks

El Toro has been closed at Six Flags Great Adventure since August 2022. The ride has since been repaired and will reopen this weekend after passing state inspections. Kingda Ka, a ride in the background above, is closed and under investigation.

Six Flags Great Adventure will reopen its El Toro roller coaster on Saturday after shutting down last summer, when a malfunction caused injuries to 14 people. Kingda Ka, another popular ride, closed June 5 and is now under state review after a mid-ride mechanical failure occurred.

Season passholders and members at the Jackson Township amusement park have their own exclusive ride time Saturday and Sunday, between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The coaster is open to everyone else after.

A series of incidents has intermittently closed El ToroIt was shut down last August when five people were hospitalized for back pain and others complained of bitten tongues. Many described feeling a "pothole" on the track after the third drop.

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which oversees amusement park rides, conducted an investigation that found there was structural damage affecting multiple support columns in a section of the coaster. The ride was closed indefinitely while under engineering review by the DCA.

DCA spokesperson Tammori Petty-Dixon said El Toro was released from review on Wednesday after undergoing repairs. The ride passed the state's inspections and operational tests and was issued a permit to reopen.

El Toro's cars partially derailed in a separate incident last July. Though no injuries were reported, the ride was temporarily shut down. And earlier in 2022, the ride closed for two weeks after inspectors found a defective ground fault circuit interrupter, which is used to shut off power and prevent electrocution.

The state closed Kingda Ka after a launch cable snapped mid-ride. No injuries were reported.

"The train did not accelerate to the adequate speed to transition over the apex and returned back through the launch track and to the load/unload station for evacuation," Petty-Dixon said.

The coaster is under state investigation; its manufacturer will be consulted to determine the cause of the incident. How long it will be shut down is unclear.

Kingda Ka opened in 2005. The coaster, the world's tallest (456 feet), was also the world's fastest (128 mph) until 2010, when Formula Rossa (149 mph) opened at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.

El Toro opened in 2006. It has a 176-foot drop, the second-largest of any wooden coaster, and its cars reach 70 mph. Goliath, at Six Flags Great America in Chicago, has the highest wooden drop (180 ft).