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A 6-year-old died after ride operators didn’t secure seat belts, Colorado report says


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Idaho Statesman) — A 6-year-old died on a drop thrill ride at a Colorado amusement park, and investigators said ride operators didn’t check her seat belt.

Wongel Estifanos of Colorado Springs died of “multiple blunt force injuries” after she fell 110 feet on the Haunted Mine Drop ride at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, McClatchy News reported.

She was visiting the park while on vacation with her family over Labor Day weekend.

A state investigation into the girl’s death found that she was sitting on top of two seat belts, The Denver Post reported. She did not have the seat belts fastened over her body, and ride operators didn’t secure them, the publication said.

The seat belts were still locked together when Wongel got in her seat, according to CBS Denver. The seat was previously unoccupied.

Two operators were working the ride when Wongel got on, according to 9 News. They were both hired within the past two months.

An alarm system told the operators there was a problem on the ride, but they were not trained enough to know what it meant or what to do, according to Fox 31. The worker reset the system and launched the ride, the news outlet reported.

“Safety is, and always has been, our top priority,” the amusement park told Fox 31. “We have been working closely with Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety and independent safety experts to review this incident.”

The Haunted Mine Drop, opened in 2017, plunges riders “110 feet inside the dark depths of Iron Mountain in what feels like a free-fall,” the park previously said, according to McClatchy News.

The mountaintop park in Glenwood Springs opened in 1999 as a cave tour, then began adding rides to keep waiting visitors occupied, according to the site.

“Wongel was a beautiful, caring, and cheerful girl who loves Jesus so much for a 6 year old girl,” a GoFundMe established to help pay for funeral and other expenses said.

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