Bird slams into boy's face on Six Flags roller coaster

Posted: July 27, 2012

A 12-year-old boy expecting a day packed with fun landed in the hospital Thursday afternoon when a bird slammed into his face as he was riding the Kingda Ka roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Kristin Siebeneicher, a spokeswoman for the park in Jackson, N.J., said that the roller coaster had already plummeted 45 stories back toward the ground and was pulling into the station when the bird struck the boy's face.

He suffered minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital, Siebeneicher said.

Caitlin Matus, a sister of the boy, told the Daily News that her brother, Shane, had been released from the hospital Thursday night.

"He's OK, still a little shaken up about it, but he'll be all right," she said in an email.

Shane told her that he was briefly distracted by the sound of an alarm and turned his head to the right — which is when the bird collided with the side of his head.

Had he not turned, the bird could have hit him in his eyes, he told her.

The thrill ride soars 456 feet into the air and propels riders up to 128 miles per hour, but it was unclear how fast it was going when the bird hit. The amusement park's website says Kingda Ka is "the tallest coaster in the World, fastest in North America."

The ride was closed for about a half-hour after the accident.

Siebeneicher said that she had never seen a similar accident at the park in 17 years there.

But a similar incident in 1999 bloodied the famous face of Italian model, Fabio Lanzoni, the erstwhile margarine pitchman.

He was riding Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg, Va., when a goose crashed into his face as the roller coaster sped into a 210-foot drop.

He couldn't believe it wasn't butter.

Contact Phillip Lucas at 215-854-5914 or lucasp@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @UnPhiltered and read his blog, PhillyConfidential.com.

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