6-Year-Old Dies on Amusement Park Ride

Riders of Haunted Mine Drop at Colorado's Glenwood Caverns have complained about lack of restraints
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2021 11:35 AM CDT
6-Year-Old Dies on Amusement Park Ride
The Haunted Mine Drop is shown in this July 2017 file photo at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colo.   (Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent via AP, File)

(Newser) – It's been billed as "the world’s first drop ride to go underground," but for one Colorado family, it has become the site of an unspeakable tragedy. Robert Glassmire, the coroner for Garfield County, said in a Monday release cited by the Glenwood Springs Post Independent that a 6-year-old girl visiting Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with her family over the weekend died while riding the Haunted Mine Drop ride, a four-year-old attraction in which riders plummet 110 feet into a mountain in just three seconds.

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The coroner's office notes the "incident" happened shortly before 8pm Sunday, with park staff administering first aid to the girl until local paramedics arrived and pronounced her dead, reports the Colorado Sun. The coroner's office didn't mention what the nature of the child's injuries were, or the cause of death. Although there doesn't seem to be an age requirement to ride the Haunted Mine Drop, CNN notes the minimum height requirement is 46 inches.

Per KDVR, there have been past complaints from riders about the lack of restraints on the ride. "It just has seat belt buckles that strap you [in]," says one recent rider. "It seemed extremely terrifying to me ... like you are going to come out of the seat." Another patron tells the outlet that when she went on the ride in June, "the young girl running the ride didn't seem to know what she was doing." When the Haunted Mine Drop debuted in July 2017, designer Stan Checketts was at the park and said, "We don't put shoulder restraints on the side of your head, which makes it a little bit more scary, a little bit more exciting."

A pop-up window on the park's website as of Tuesday morning featured an announcement of a "fatality," noting, "We are deeply saddened." The park was closed Monday and set to be closed Tuesday, and an investigation is ongoing, with a statement from Glenwood Caverns' GM noting that state and local officials, the park's maintenance staff, and independent engineering and ride experts would be involved. An autopsy is scheduled for later this week. (Read more amusement parks stories.)

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