An investigation into the death of a 6-year-old girl from Colorado who fell from a theme park found that operators had not verified that she was wearing a restraint.
Wongel Estifanos fell 30 meters (100 feet) to death while descending the haunted mine at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park over Labor Day weekend on September 5.
Colorado Department of Labor and Employment investigators found the child was sitting on both seat belts instead of wearing them on his lap, and two newly hired operators did not notice him during the ride. a routine check.
Investigators also found that an alarm system warned that Wongel was not properly restrained, but one of the workers reset the system and started the ride because they weren’t well trained enough to know what to do about it.
Prosecutors will now determine whether to lay criminal charges.
Dan Caplis, a lawyer representing the Estifanos family, said the investigation report showed that “it could have been so easily avoided”.
He said the family plan to pursue the park and are determined to make sure that never happens again.
“The report makes it clear that it is the park’s fault, not the runner’s fault,” said Mr. Caplis.
“The park was fully responsible for making sure everyone was engaged. This is not one of those rides where the rider is responsible for anything including tying up. The park is supposed to do all of that. The report makes it clear that this could have been so easily avoided. “
Park founder Steve Beckley told the Denver Post that “safety is, and always has been, our top priority.”
Mr Beckley said management is reviewing the report’s recommendations, adding that more than 10 million people have enjoyed safe walks in the park since it opened 15 years ago.
“More than anything, we want the Estifanos family to know how deeply we are sorry for their loss and how determined we are to ensure that this never happens again,” he wrote.
He said the future of the Haunted Mine Drop ride was “undetermined”.
The ride includes two seat belts – one that uses a vehicle-like buckle and another that uses a rod buckle system.
The amusement ride operating manuals state that workers should fasten both lap belts, but the manuals do not include instructions on what to do if an error occurs.
Investigators said workers had not been trained on the user manual, the alarm system or how to respond to a problem.
Operators are expected to unbuckle all seat belts after each trip so that the next load of people can be buckled. a belt on her knees, giving the impression that she was buckled.
When the alarm went off, an operator returned to check the rods and saw that they were properly secured, and a second operator then unlocked the rods and reinserted them. Workers did not understand that the child was not wearing the seat belts on his knees, according to the report. The alarm has been reset and the journey has started.
A GoFundme account created by the family to cover funerals and fees and other expenses raised more than $ 75,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
The Independent Gt