JACKSON, N.J. (NBC/WCAU) - A 12-year-old New Jersey boy is recovering after being hit by a bird while riding a roller coaster at Six Flags.
Shane Matus said he was riding in the front car with his friend on the Kingda Ka roller coaster around 5 p.m. last Thursday when a bird slammed into his face.
"When it hit me, I was like, 'What the? Did somebody throw a ball or something?'" he said. "When I started spitting out feathers, I was like, 'That was a bird.'"
Shane still has bruises and scratches on his neck and face from where the bird hit him.
"They say the bird exploded," said Shane. "Hurt a lot for like three seconds. People behind us had feathers and blood all over them."
The coaster was returning to the station when Shane collided with the bird.
He said he turned his head toward the parking lot when he heard a car alarm seconds before impact.
"If that car alarm didn't go off, it would have hit me dead in the eye," he said.
The ride was immediately shut down until state regulators gave the all-clear for it to reopen around 30 minutes later.
An ambulance rushed Shane, who was at the theme park with his aunt, to the hospital. His father, Adam Matus, soon arrived.
"I couldn't believe it," said his father. "I mean, what kind of freak accident is this?"
A theme park spokesperson said that what happened to Shane had never happened before at the theme park, referring to it a true act of nature.
"It was just a freak accident," said Shane while chuckling. "Like one in a million that would happen."
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