The latest eyewitness account of activities on the ride in the hours before the accident follows an earlier report by a witness who saw two people working on the roller coaster track at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk on Thursday morning, 10 hours before the derailment.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A group of teens attending a religious camp at the Ocean Center witnessed a ride operator with a welding tool working on a brake mechanism at the base of the Sand Blaster roller coaster Thursday afternoon, a little over three hours before a car derailed and sent two riders plunging three stories to the ground in an accident that has received international media attention, the teens said on Friday.

“We were on it about 5 o’clock,” said Zach Grant, 15, of Clemson, S.C., among thousands of teens attending the annual Passion Camp event at the Ocean Center. “Between rides, he had a welding tool and he was about 5 feet from the brake mechanism. I saw them welding something and later, I was, like, ‘Oh, wow. That was the brakes.’”

The latest eyewitness account of activities on the ride in the hours before the accident follows an earlier report by a witness who saw two people working on the roller coaster track at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk on Thursday morning, 10 ½ hours before the derailment.

State officials said Friday morning that the roller coaster was inspected the same day as the crash.

“Just yesterday, department inspectors conducted a thorough inspection of the ride, and it was found in compliance with state law,” Consumer Services’ Communications Director Jennifer Meale said Friday in a prepared statement. “We have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident, and anyone who should be held accountable will be held accountable.”

Arthur Ellis called police to say that around 9:45 a.m., while riding his bike, he observed two “possible maintenance workers working on the roller coaster tracks,” according to a Daytona Beach incident report. It was not clear if those workers were actually inspectors.

Also on Friday, only two riders from the roller coaster derailment remained in Halifax Health Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Tangela Boyd told The Associated Press.

A total of nine passengers were admitted after Thursday night’s accident, Boyd said. Five riders were discharged that evening, and another two on Friday morning.

Two of the passengers plummeted from the coaster and eight other passengers had to be rescued.

Three roller coaster cars were involved in the incident Thursday night, which occurred before 8:30 p.m., said Lyda Longa, police spokeswoman. “The car in the front slid off the tracks and was hanging on the side of the ride; the car in the middle was off the tracks; and the last car was stationary on the tracks.”

When police arrived minutes after the first call for help, at least two people were ejected from the first car, which was dangling off the track, and hurled to the ground roughly 34 feet below, officials said. Eight more were rescued from the cars behind it.

Several callers to 911 reported seeing someone hanging from the car. “One is on the ground and one male is inside of the roller coaster like he’s stuck hanging. They’re trying to help him climb down,” one caller said.

Another caller reported, “There’s a couple people on the ground and the girl is hanging, says she can’t breathe and they can’t get her out.”

Incomplete information was available initially about the riders on board because of the chaotic scene. Some of those injured were part of an organized group. Those in the cars who have been identified are Randy France, who was in charge of the group, and Roy Patton, Kathy Webb, Amanda Bustick, Shawna Praeter, Melissa Collins, Kayla Wilson, Lonnie Baker, Gill Donald and Dennis Creech.

All of the patients were alert as they were loaded onto ambulances and transported to Halifax Health Medical Center, paramedics said.

On Friday morning, a few dozen onlookers joined TV media trucks and police, who blocked the street on the west side of the coaster to allow a bucket truck to lift inspectors from the Florida Department of Agriculture through the maze of tracks to the disabled cars.

Among the onlookers was John Massey, 65, of Athens, Ga., who was in line for the ride on Thursday with his 10-year-old daughter moments before the accident. He canceled the family’s ride, however, after he saw lightning flash over the ocean, he said.

“We had no sooner turned the corner at the end of the block than I heard the sirens coming this way,” said Massey, who has been taking family vacations to Daytona Beach for roughly 20 years. “Thank the Lord for a lightning strike, because we ride this thing every year when we come down here.”

Thursday’s accident won’t keep the family from returning to Daytona Beach, Massey said, but there will be no more rides on the roller coaster.

“My wife will never let my daughters on this ride again,” Massey said. “She was extremely upset about how close the circumstances were.”

Nearby, a worker at Pizza King worried that publicity from the accident might drive potential visitors away from the Boardwalk.

“The moment that it happened, I thought, ‘I don’t think anybody else will be coming down here to ride the rides,’” said Christopher Son, 26, an employee at the pizza restaurant. “I thought, ‘Man, that’s not going to be good for our business.’”

The accident already was having an effect on the Passion Camp teens, who returned to survey the damage on Friday morning.

“The fact that it happened is terrifying,” said Hannah Stone, 15, of Clemson, S.C. “I loved roller coasters, but I’m afraid of them now.”

Her friend, Zach Grant, said he’s still willing to ride roller coasters, with one exception: “Not this ride.”

Jim Abbott is a reporter for The Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal.