FOURTEEN people are injured and two are in a critical condition after a tree fell on the “Tomahawk” rollercoaster at a theme park in Spain.
A strong windstorm with gusts of up to 40 miles per hour is said to have blown over the tree and caused branches to fall on passengers.
The tragic accident took place about 11am at PortAventura, a theme park located between Vila Seca and Salou, on the Costa Daurada.
Some of the branches of the tree landed directly on passengers in the rollercoaster carts, according to a company statement.
One person in a critical condition was taken to Bellvitge Hospital in Barcelona, while the other was taken to the Joan XXIII University Hospital in Tarragona – both by helicopter.
Three other injured passengers were taken to different nearby hospitals.
Park management said the event was “completely unrelated to the operation and maintenance” of the park’s attractions, which “meet the highest safety standards”, and was rather the result of strong winds which have today been blowing across Tarragona.
They said safety measures had been taken to protect people from the effects of the strong winds and other attractions and rollercoasters in the park had already been closed to the public.
Access to the Tomahawk remained open because the children’s ride was in the park’s “soft” category, a spokesperson said.
An investigation was launched as police moved in with five crews.
In 2009, a worker was hit by a cart while performing maintenance on the same rollercoaster and tragically died.
The wooden Tomahawk is located in the far west area of the theme park, located in PortAventura World Resort, some 50 miles southwest of Barcelona.
It was built in 1997 and intended for children, with a requirement that passengers are between 1.05m and 1.85m tall.
PortAventura closed the Tomahawk today after the tragedy.