A Universal Studios tram crashes, injuring 15 riders

Rebecca Miller was prepared for a killer shark, King Kong and other terrifying scares when she joined her family on the Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot Tour Saturday evening — and she wasn't expecting some real-life drama to intrude.

Miller, her husband and two children boarded one of the park's last trams at night when it crashed into the back of a four-car tram, injuring 15 people who were taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, authorities said. His family's tram, which they boarded at around 8:30 p.m., saw King Kong and D. Rex passed the attraction and came to a scene of popular movie vehicles, when suddenly it stopped.

“We were like, 'Well, maybe they're having technical problems,'” recalled Miller, 39, of Victorville, who was in the first car of his tram train with park staff. “Then as it went on, it was a little different. Then their radios started getting messages and we noticed a whole change in their behavior.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department received an emergency call from the park shortly after 9 p.m. and responded to the scene.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Maria Abel was heading down the hill near the parking structure Saturday evening when the last car in the tram ahead of Miller hit the tracks. “There was some kind of problem with the brakes. “We don't know exactly what else,” he said.

Abal said the park's tram can carry more than 100 people, but it was unclear how many people were on board at the time of the incident. The sheriff's department, which provides security at the park, said the collision caused several passengers to fall from the car.

Universal Studios said Sunday that it understood from authorities that the injuries were minor and was working with the California Highway Patrol and other agencies to review the crash. It said “safety remains paramount” and has resumed the tour with a “modified route” and strengthening of “operational and safety protocols”.

The Highway Patrol did not provide an update Sunday.

Miller said her family was at the park for the event, which drew thousands of Girl Scouts from the region, including her 8-year-old daughter Alana, who sold more cookies at a Girl Scout fundraiser.

She said her family was stuck on the tram until 10:15 p.m. and stayed at the park for a Girl Scout program.

A passenger on an earlier tram that evening said their vehicle was stopped at around 8pm due to smoke and a noxious odor emanating from the brake pads. Passengers were transferred to another tram, according to an email sent to The Times.

The Universal Studios Tram Tour, also known as the World Famous Studio Tour, is a signature attraction at the theme park. The park is celebrating the ride's 60th anniversary starting next week.

The tour goes behind the scenes of film sets including “Jaws” and Jordan Peele's “Nope” and offers a look at the last 50 years of Universal films.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *