We recently reported on the tragic death of a six-year-old girl at a Colorado amusement park. Wongel Estifanos was enjoying the Labor Day weekend with her family at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The Colorado amusement park is located at the top of Iron Mountain in Rocky Mountain resort community of Glenwood Springs.
The elementary school girl was killed while on the Haunted Mine Drop thrill ride at the Colorado amusement park. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park described the Haunted Mine Drop ride as being the “first drop ride in the world to go underground, plunging riders 110 feet inside the dark depths of Iron Mountain in what feels like a free-fall.”
In the more immediate aftermath of the Colorado amusement park accident that took the life of Wongel Estifanos, next to no information was available as to how the incident occurred in the first instance. Indeed, what fairly can be considered a rather significant amount of time elapsed before we were able to glean some basic information about how this six-year-old child lost her life at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
The current investigation into the amusement part accident is being overseen by the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety. Amusement park accidents fall within the province of this state agency.
We now know that the primary reason why Wongel Estifanos was killed at the Colorado amusement park was because of thrill ride operator error. Specifically, the six-year-old girl was never strapped into her seat on the Haunted Mine Drop ride.
Investigators have also advised that the two ride operators failed to nice the girl was not strapped into her seat at all. In fact, the investigation has revealed that a ride monitor system alerted the operators that the girl was not strapped into her seat before the system engaged. The operators were warned by the ride’s alert system about the girl not being appropriately strapped into her seat and they did nothing in response. In fact, they engaged the ride as if nothing was amiss. When the engaged the ride with the girl not strapped into her seat, the ride plunged 110 feet into the depths of Iron Mountain.
Video surveillance shows the girl getting onto the ride. She takes a seat in which the seatbelts are already locked. She sits on top of the seatbelts.
One of the ride operators did a walkthrough to double check that all of the passengers appropriately were strapped into their seats. For reasons yet to be pinpointed with precisions, investigators note that the operator did not identify that the girl was not strapped into her seat.
The investigation cited multiple operator errors as well as inadequate training as factors that contributed to the death of Wongel Estifanos. The Haunted Mine Drop thrill ride has not been in operation since the fatal Labor Day accident. Park owners have not confirmed whether or not the ride will ever be put in operations again.
The owners of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park issued a statement about the catastrophe:
“Safety is, and always has been, our top priority,” Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park founder Steve Beckley said in a statement following the release of the report. “Since opening our first ride just over 15 years ago, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has delivered more than 10 million safe and enjoyable rides. We have been working closely with the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety and independent safety experts to review this incident for recommendations.”
If you or a loved one have been injured in an amusement park accident, or if one of your family members has been killed in such an accident, the legal team at The Doan Law Firm is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, including all major holidays. You can connect with a Doan Law Firm amusement park accident lawyer by calling us at (800) 349-0000.
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