A Southern California man in his 20s climbed off Disneyland’s Space Mountain roller coaster while it was moving on Tuesday afternoon and had to be guided to safety by employees, according to police and theme park officials.
The uninjured man walked under his own power to the Disneyland first aid station and was later taken to the hospital for a precautionary examination, according to Disney officials.
Anaheim police responded to a medical aid call at the park. Initial reports indicated that the man had fallen out of the ride, but that turned out to not be the case, said Anaheim police Sgt. Daron Wyatt.
“He didn’t fall out,” Wyatt said. “He had to maneuver himself around the safety mechanism.”
The man, who has cognitive disabilities, climbed out of the moving train in the dark during a slower portion of the ride as the coaster was making its initial climb, Wyatt said. Disneyland attraction operators stopped the coaster once they realized the man was not on the ride and located him, Wyatt said.
Anaheim police declined to release the man’s name or age. Anaheim police took an “Assist Other Department” incident report, Wyatt said. Police initially said no police report was filed.
Disneyland officials said they immediately contacted the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the state agency that inspects amusement park rides. Space Mountain remains closed while DOSH investigators inspect the ride, Disneyland officials said.
Disneyland officials said the ride vehicle’s lap bar restraint remained engaged and that the man “used force to maneuver his way out of the vehicle.”
Space Mountain is a high-speed indoor roller coaster ride through the dark with many twists, turns and dips.
Disneyland advised the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Space Mountain incident and is fully cooperating with the investigation, said Cal/OSHA spokesman Luke Brown. Cal/OSHA is expected to issue a report after the investigation is complete.
Incidents where riders climb off of moving roller coasters are dangerous and “extremely rare,” said Jim Seay, past chairman of the ASTM International Amusement Ride Safety Standards Committee.
It’s important for riders to stay seated and follow the rules while any attraction is in motion, said Seay, who is also president of Maryland-based amusement ride manufacturer Premier Rides.
“Everybody is a contributor to the safety of the ride,” Seay said in a phone interview. “The actions of the individual are an important part of the ride safety experience.”
Clarification: An earlier version of this story did not include the nature of the report taken.
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