Search icon


25th Sep 2021

6-year-old girl who died on theme park ride ‘was not buckled in’

Laura Cunningham

“…they had been hired within the past two months and were not properly trained”

Wongel Estifanos was just six-years-old when she fell 110ft from a fairground ride at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Colorado and tragically died.

It has transpired that the girl was sitting on the seatbelts instead of wearing them, a report concluded this week.

The investigation revealed that ride operators did not prepare the seatbelts before allowing passengers to be seated.

Wongel died from blunt force injuries after she was ejected from her seat on the Haunted Mine Ride at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, during a family holiday over the US Labor Day weekend.

The report found that her death was “the result of multiple operator errors, including the failure to make sure that the child was restrained.” State investigators said the child was sitting on top of two seat belts previously buckled on the ride, instead of wearing them.

They added that operators failed to pay attention to an alarm system warning them of the issue because they had been hired within the past two months and were not properly trained. Instead, one of the workers reset the system and began to dispatch the ride.

The ride, called The Haunted Mine Drop, plunges riders about 110ft down into a mineshaft in a “gravity freefall”.

In a statement issued through their lawyer, Wongel’s family said: “The report confirms that Wongel was killed because of multiple failures by the amusement park and its operators, including the operators’ failure to buckle Wongel into the ride. The State of Colorado report also confirms that the amusement park is 100 per cent responsible for buckling in all riders.”

The statement concluded: “Wongel’s parents are determined to do everything in their power to make sure that no one ever dies this way again.