Kentucky Woman Describes Harrowing Roller Coaster Malfunction

Posted at 10:28 AM, Jun 19, 2018

(TODAY) — A Kentucky woman injured in last week’s frightening roller coaster accident if Florida i sharing her story for the first time.

Melissa Collins was at an amusement park last Thursday in Daytona Beach with friends from work.

But a good time quickly turned into a nightmare when their roller coaster went off the rails, leaving Collins with serious injuries including multiple broken bones.

"I couldn’t breathe," Collins said. "I really thought I was going to die.

"My cart totally derailed, and I was hanging up in the air," she said. "Another one of my co-workers, I watched her fall to the ground."

Trapped some 30 feet above the ground, the mother of two said her pain was intense.

"I couldn’t breathe I was in so much pain and hurting," Collins said.

The Sand Blaster coaster derailed. Two riders, including Collins’ friend, fell three stories to the ground.

"All I could do was see her plunge to the ground, and I remember her jumping up and knowing she was probably in pain," Collins said.

Collins said she suffered nine broken ribs, spinal injuries and a fractured collarbone that requierd surgery.

"All of my ribs are crushed," she said.

Just hours earlier the Sand Blaster had passed a state inspection, reopening after a shutdown last month.

According to state records, the ride has a history of maintenance problems, including damaged cars and excessive corrosion.

"We believe that a lawsuit is imminent," said attorney Matt Morgan, who is representing Collins and two others injured in the accident.

"We believe that the failure occurred as a result of improper maintenance with this particular coaster," he said.

The ride’s operators, Boardwalk Amusement Rides, point to the state inspection, telling NBC News in part: "The safety and well-being of our customers has always been our top priority. We continue to fully cooperate with all state agencies in their investigation and will do so until their investigation is complete."

Meanwhile, Collins says she wants to get back to her family in Kentucky.

"I’ve got a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old back at home crying cause they don’t know how their mommy is," she said. 

Officials have not said what caused the roller coaster to derail. The ride remains closed.