Cedar Point coaster dropped metal plate, injuring woman

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A piece of metal that flew off the world’s second-tallest roller coaster and hit a woman in the head while she stood in line came from the back of the ride’s train and was about the size of a fist, an amusement ride safety official said Monday.

It’s not known yet what caused the accident a week ago on the 420-foot (128-meter) tall Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster at Cedar Point, said David Miran, head of Ohio’s amusement ride safety division.

Authorities and amusement park officials have not released the condition of the victim, who is a 44-year-old woman from Swartz Creek, Michigan, according to an accident report released by the state.

She could be heard screaming on body-camera footage released by police. She was treated at a hospital near the park in Sandusky before being moved to a hospital in Toledo.

The metal L-shaped bracket that hit the woman on August 15 was attached to the back of the train and hovers above the track, Miran said. It’s part of the sensor system that tells the coaster’s computer where the train is on the track, he said.

The coaster train was nearing the end of the ride where it slows down when the metal plate broke, park officials said. It’s not clear how far the piece flew before hitting the woman, Miran said.

A report released by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s amusement ride safety division said the roller coaster was inspected in May. It showed no structural issues.

The coaster, which opened in 2003, launches riders on a straight away at 120 mph (193 kph) before it climbs a hill and then comes back down. The ride lasts less than 20 seconds.

A year after its debut, four riders were slightly injured when metal shavings sheared off the coaster’s launch cable.

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