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Investigators: Excessive Speed Caused Florida Roller Coaster Derailment

Excessive speed caused a roller coaster to derail at a Florida boardwalk, according to a preliminary investigative summary released Tuesday.

Two riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) when the front car of the Sand Blaster Roller Coaster was left dangling from the track June 14 at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk.

Investigators concluded that the operating speed of the ride was the primary cause of the derailment, though they continued to assess other factors that also may have contributed, such as weather, weight distribution and lubrication of the track, according to a report released by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

An independent engineer also concluded that the ride’s speed caused the derailment, the report said.

“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,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said in an emailed statement.

State inspectors had shut down the coaster twice in the past 18 months because of problems, but those deficiencies had been corrected and did not contribute to the derailment, the report said.

The independent engineer, hired by the state, found evidence of previous derailments before and after the ride’s 2013 refurbishment that had not been reported to the state.

The coaster has been shut down since the derailment. Putnam said it will remain closed indefinitely.

Multiple people suffered serious injuries, including two who fell to the ground out of the rear of the car, after the ride’s front car came completely off the tracks, the report said.

The ride is owned by Daytona Beach-based Boardwalk Amusement Rides LLC. A working telephone phone number for the company and its co-owners could not immediately be found Tuesday.

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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