A six-year-old girl who was killed at an amusement park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, slipped out of a tower drop ride and fell 110 feet, according to police dispatch audio.
The girl had been visiting Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with her family on Sunday when she was fatally injured on the Haunted Mine Drop ride – a Tower of Terror-style attraction that plunges riders 110 feet in a simulated freefall into an underground cavern in a matter of seconds.
Police scanner traffic captured on the day of the incident reveals a dispatcher frantically requested assistance at the park ‘for a party that fell out of the shaft ride. The party is at the bottom of the shaft.’
She adds: ‘Patient will be a 6-year-old female and she fell approximately 110 feet.
‘Unknown which part of the ride the patient fell from, believe the ride was in operation when the child fell from it.’
A first responder later says: ‘They are doing CPR down there right now.’
But tragically, he later adds ‘Request coroner response’, indicating that the girl had died
The audio also reveals that the girl’s extended family were at the scene.
The first responder says: ‘I need another sheriff’s deputy to the scene to help us out with parents, and can I request a victims’ advocate if one is available.’
He adds: ‘There’s an extended family of about 20 people up here, a lot of very distraught people.’
The Garfield County Coroner’s Office confirmed the girl was from from Colorado Springs. Her cause of death has not yet been confirmed, and officials have not released her identity.
The young girl was fatally injured on the Haunted Mine Drop ride – a Tower of Terror-style attraction that plunges riders 110 feet in a simulated freefall into an underground cavern in three seconds or less
Police scanner traffic captured on the day of the incident reveals a dispatcher frantically requested assistance at the park ‘for a party that fell out of the shaft ride,’ adding, ‘The party is at the bottom of the shaft’
A post about the Haunted Mine Drop ride on the park’s website and a promotional video were deleted on Monday morning.
The latest details came as previous visitors to the attraction claimed that safety belts on the ride were not attached tight enough, leaving them fearful for their safety.
‘I rode that ride in June and the young girl running the ride didn’t seem to know what she was doing,’ rider Sarah Akard wrote on Facebook.
‘My safety belt wasn’t tight and I felt like I was coming out of the ride.
‘I tried to tell her but they started the ride. I’m thankful I was able to hold myself in. Prayers to the family and those on the ride.’
It emerged Monday that the vertigo-inducing ride was specifically designed to not include shoulder restraints.
In a 2017 interview marking the attraction’s opening, its designer Stan Checketts told KDVR that they took the decision to make it ‘a little bit more exciting’.
‘We don’t put shoulder restraints on the side of your head, which makes it a little bit more scary,’ he bragged to the Denver news outlet at the time.
‘Usually as a rule, every ride that I’ve ever designed with my team and built with my team, I’m the first one to ride it,’ revealed Checketts in regards to the Mine Drop ride.
But he added, ‘In this particular case, that’s not true. It’s very unusual for me to be here and not even [have] ridden it yet and everybody’s getting to ride it ahead of me.’
A post about the Haunted Mine Drop ride on the park’s website, as well as a promotional video, were deleted on Monday morning
The vertigo-inducing ride was specifically designed to not include shoulder restraints
Guests were also required to sign a liability waiver before getting on the Mine Drop – and riders younger than 18 are supposed to have their parent or guardian sign the waiver on their behalf.
The waiver, posted on the park’s website, states that participants understand rides can pose the risk of injury or death.
The document states in part, ‘INJURIES/AND OR DEATH may result’ and ‘THE UNDERSIGNED hereby ASSUME ALL RISKS.’
Another sentence reads, ‘THE UNDERSIGNED understand and agree that a seat belt IS IN NO WAY A GUARANTEE OF SAFETY.’
A waiver posted on the park’s website states that participants understand rides can pose the risk of injury or death, explicitly saying ‘INJURIES/AND OR DEATH may result’ and that ‘THE UNDERSIGNED understand and agree that a seat belt IS IN NO WAY A GUARANTEE OF SAFETY.’
Parkgoers are required to sign this liability waiver before getting on the Mine Drop – whereas riders younger than 18 are supposed to have their parent or guardian sign the waiver on their behalf
Such a document won’t protect the park from potential criminal charges, depending on the details of the situation, said a lawyer who spoke with KDVR, but it can protect them against civil liability in certain circumstances.
Checketts has designed a host of similar rides over the course of his career as a designer, including the similar Stratosphere Big Shot ride in Las Vegas, Nevada.
That ride shoots riders upward at a rapid speed before lowering them back down. That ride has shoulder restraints, and there is no suggestion that it is unsafe.
Specifics of the young girl’s injuries were not provided, but the coroner’s office has scheduled an autopsy for this week.
Walt Stowe, a spokesman for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday morning his agency is investigating the accident. He would not elaborate on other details.
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety, which regulates amusement park rides, said a state inspector would likely visit the park Tuesday.
According to the state website, all Colorado amusement parks are required to undergo ‘annual third-party inspections and obtained adequate insurance coverage in the event that an accident occurs.’
The tragic incident that occurred at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on Sunday is currently being investigated by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
The park’s general manager, Nancy Heard, released the following statement to CBS Denver on Monday:
‘On the evening of September 5th a fatality occurred at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. An investigation is ongoing.
‘We are deeply saddened and ask that you please keep the family of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be closed Monday, September 6 and Tuesday, September 7.’