Roller coaster passenger who survived 34-foot fall was ‘praying it was over’
ABC News (DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — Amanda Bostic remembers the harrowing moments when she was tossed more than 30 feet from a roller coaster that had just derailed.
“I remember falling through the air and I remember hitting the ground,” she said during an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America.”
The 34-year-old mother of two sons said she was “knocked out” from the fall. But when she she woke up, she heard cries for help and saw the roller coaster hanging off the rails.
“I will never forget that in my life,” she said. “People on the ride were screaming; one [car] was dangling.”
Bostic, of Knott County, Kentucky, was one of 10 people aboard the Sandblaster Thursday night in Daytona Beach’s boardwalk amusement park. She and her friend — who were in the first car — were pitched 34 feet to the ground when the roller coaster lost control.
They were considered “trauma alerts” and rushed to the hospital.
Nine other passengers were transported to hospitals, officials said.
Bostic — whose boys are 11 and 13 years old — was visiting Daytona Beach with co-workers. Their holiday trip came to an end Thursday evening when she and her friend hopped on the Sandblaster, its first car detailed in red with hot, yellow flames.
She said nothing seemed out of sorts: There were seat belts that clicked, and she said a worker “pulled on them” before the train took off.
Yet Bostic said the ride didn’t feel right.
“It seemed to be going a lot faster than I felt comfortable with,” she said. “As we went around the turn it felt like it wasn’t completely attached to the tracks. … The car was leaning to the side and into the curve.
“I was scared and I was praying it was over.”
Those fears were compounded when the train suddenly slipped off its tracks sending Bostic and her friend out of the car.
All she can recall are the sounds and flashes of the plunge.
“I remember hearing a lot of screeching. A lot of metal. A lot of sounds that just weren’t right,” Bostic said. “I closed my eyes and held on.”
Daytona Beach Fire Department officials confirmed that 911 calls started flooding their dispatchers at around 10 p.m. on Thursday. Once arrived, responders found that eight passengers were still trapped on the derailed Sandblaster roller coaster and had to be rescued.
Upon arriving at the chaotic scene, firefighters found the first car of the Sandblaster — where Bostic and her friend were seated in before ejecting — “completely off the track and dangling front end towards the ground.”
She says she suffered a concussion, deep bruises “from head-to-toe” and several cuts.
Still, she saw the dangling car positioned over her friend.
That’s when she crawled over to try to help her friend.
“I was afraid it was going to fall on her,” she said.
Bostic learned later from her co-workers stuck on cars hovering over her and her friend that she “bounced from support beam to support beam like a pinball.”
Miraculously, she limped out with the aid of a walker from the Halifax Medical Center on Friday night — one full day after her and other roller coaster riders’ brush with death — to mend from bruises all over her body and broken teeth.
Bostic’s friend remains in the hospital with numerous fractured bones.
The investigation into the derailment is still under investigation.
Maintenance records logged by the Florida Department of Agriculture reviewed by ABC News verify the Sandblaster was tended to and that “deficiencies were corrected.” The roller coaster’s record is rife with records of numerous repairs going back to 2016.
The Sandblaster was serviced for “excessive corrosion,” “bracing cracked” and “track cracked,” according to the agency’s event report dated May 17.
Since the derailment, the roller coaster has been halted pending an investigation, the most recent report confirmed.
Upon learning the roller coaster was serviced the same day of the derailment, Bostic is concerned the effort was incomplete.
“Something had to be missed,” she said.
As she recovers from the visible and internal pain after an agonizing ride, she is swearing off roller coasters for good.
“I will never be on a roller coaster,” she vowed. “My family will never be on a roller coaster.”
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