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'Feathers and blood': Bird hits boy in face on high-speed rollercoaster

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A 12-year-old Monmouth County boy was struck by a bird while riding a rollercoaster at Six Flags in Jackson Township, N.J.

Shane Matus, of Howell Township, told Philadelphia's NBC10.com that he was riding in the front car with his friend on the Kingda Ka rollercoaster around 5 p.m. Thursday  when something slammed into his face.

“When it hit me I was like, ‘What the-? Did somebody throw a ball or something?’ When I started spitting out feathers, I was like, that was a bird,” said Shane.

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Shane showed NBC10 the bruises and scratches on his neck and face from where the bird struck him. Shane believes the bird was a pigeon.

“They say the bird exploded,” said Shane. “It hurt a lot for like three seconds. People behind us had feathers and blood all over them.”

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The coaster was returning to the station when Shane collided with the bird. He tells NBC10 he turned his head towards the parking lot when he heard a car alarm seconds before impact.

“If that car alarm didn’t go off, it would’ve hit me dead in the eye,” said Shane.

The 45-story Kingda Ka coaster, the world's tallest, reaches speeds of up to 128 mph. It was shut down for 30 minutes after the incident.

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 Adam. “I mean what kind of freak accident is this?”

A Great Adventure spokesperson told NBC10 that something like this had never happened before at the theme park.

NBC10 asked Shane if he would ever go on the roller coaster again. “Yeah,” Shane replied. “But not in the front.”

NBC News staff contributed to this report.

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