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" Safety and security of our guests is our highest priority" :::bullshitcough:::
ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 30) - A crash on the "California Screamin"' roller coaster at Disney's California Adventure theme park sent 15 people to the hospital with minor injuries, authorities said.

Another 33 people were examined at the scene but did not require treatment after Friday night's accident in which one coaster rear-ended another toward the end of the ride, said Anaheim city spokesman John Nicoletti.

The ride was closed after the 6:39 p.m. accident but the rest of the park remained open. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health was contacted to help determine the cause of the crash.

The Disneyland Resort issued a statement saying a moving train struck a stationary train on the attraction but neither derailed.

"The safety and security of our guests is our highest priority. We are taking all necessary steps to help those affected by this incident," the statement said.

Nicoletti said the trains, carrying 24 people each, hit at an apparently low speed. The crash happened near the end of the ride, on a horizontal stretch of the attraction and not one of its steep drops where cars reach a speed of 55 mph.

"It looked like a fender-bender," Nicoletti said during a news conference.

Eight people had to be helped off the ride by emergency personnel and the rest were able to use a catwalk to exit on their own.

Fifteen people were taken to a hospital, including two children whose ages were not immediately released. There was no immediate word on their conditions but Nicoletti said most had minor neck or back injuries.

Kevin Bromagen and his 6-year-old daughter, Taylor, said they had headaches and stiff necks after the roller coaster they were riding in was struck.

"You could hear the coaster coming before it hit you," said Bromagen, 38, of Lincoln, Neb. "The car came and smacked me in the back at full speed."

Disney's California Adventure, which opened in 2001, was designed to turn Disneyland into a resort destination, much like Disney theme parks in Florida, Paris and Tokyo. The adjacent Disneyland park is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Disney spent $1.4 billion to build California Adventure, an adjacent hotel and a retail strip filled with restaurants and shops. California Adventure's main attractions include "Soarin' Over California," where people are lifted 40 feet in the air to give the sensation of hang-gliding, and "California Screamin', which hits a speed of 55 mph in about 4 seconds.

Friday's crash was the second accident in four months at a Disneyland Resort park in Anaheim.

In March, a 4-year-old boy broke a finger and severed the tip of his thumb while on the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride at Disneyland, forcing the ride to close for nearly two days while state authorities investigated the accident.

The accident occurred when the child's fingers were pinched between the boat and the dock while passengers were unloading.

Four people were hurt in December when a float at a Disneyland parade struck them. One of the four was treated at a hospital.

In 2003, a 22-year-old man was killed and 10 people were injured when Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster derailed. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health concluded the accident that killed Marcelo Torres, 22, of Gardena was the result of mechanical failure caused by improper maintenance.

Another fatality occurred at Disneyland in 1998 when a cleat used to dock the sailing ship Columbia ripped loose and struck a 33-year-old man.


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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