QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (WTEN/AP) – A 14-year-old girl fell from the Sky Ride at Six Flags Great Escape in the Lake George area Saturday evening.
A father and his 21-year-old daughter caught the teenage girl who fell 25 feet to the ground from an amusement park ride.
Matthew Howard Sr. and his daughter, Leeann Winchell, say they were about to leave Six Flags Great Escape near Albany, New York on Saturday when they saw the girl dangling from the “Sky Ride” gondola.
The girl’s little brother was sitting beside her and screamed for help.
Howard says he stood under the girl and promised he’d catch her. She lost her grip and she fell on top of him. Winchell says she caught the girl’s head and they all tumbled to the ground.
Howard was treated and released for a back injury. The girl remained hospitalized Sunday. Her brother was uninjured.
A witness, Loren Lent, said the girl was hanging from a chair by just her arms and head.
Loren Lent said his wife, daughter and two of her friends were on the ride at the time.
It was around 7:45 p.m. and he heard screaming.
He and his other kids looked up and saw the teen hanging from the chair.
The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office says the operator brought the ride to a stop after receiving a radio transmission from park staff on the ground that a rider was in distress.
Lent said the girl’s friend screamed that the bar on the chair was choking her.
Some bystanders decided to do something and they got together and told the girl they could catch her and to wiggle loose.
Police say the girl fell from the car, hitting a tree branch on her way down, and landing in the crowd of park guests and employees gathered underneath.
They were able to catch her, but Lent says watching it all unfold was difficult.
“You don’t know what to do I mean you know you understand that you know somebody falling from 35 feet in the air could cause damage to you or whoever you’re catching her with but it’s better off to suffer a minor injury to save someone from a serious injury and that’s what those guys ultimately did,” Lent said.
The girl was treated by park emergency medical personnel and then transported to the Glens Falls Hospital. She was then later transported to Albany Medical Center where police say she remains in stable condition. Luckily, officials say she did not suffer and serious injuries.
Additionally, police say a 47-year-old Schenectady man, one of the park guests who gathered beneath the ride to catch the girl, was sent to the hospital and treated for a back injury.
Sheriff’s investigators and park personnel inspected the ride and the car the victim was riding in and found that all safety equipment was in proper working order and operational at the time of the incident.
Six Flags Great Escape released the following statement:
Saturday evening a guest fell from a chair on the sky ride. She was caught by a group of guests and security personnel. She was transported to an area hospital and we are in the process of gathering more information. The safety and security of our guests is our top priority, there does not appear to be any malfunction of the ride, but we have closed the attraction until a thorough review of the ride can be completed.We are continuing our investigation and our thoughts and prayers are with the guest and her family.
Late Sunday morning, Six Flags Great Escape released an updated statement announcing their intention to keep the Sky Ride closed while the park conducts an internal review.
This morning, the NY State Department of Labor has cleared the ride for operation. As the safety of our guests and team members is our top priority, and out of an abundance of caution, the ride will remain closed while we conduct a thorough internal review.