The preliminary investigation into the amusement park death of a 6 year old girl found ride operators ignored safety protocols and never buckled the girl in. Their failure led to her fatal fall. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment report found that Wongel Estifanos was never properly fastened into either of her two seatbelts on The Haunted Mine Drop ride.
Ride employees are trained to fasten and check each seatbelt for each passenger prior to starting the ride, the report said. When Estifanos first sat down, “operators did not notice she was sitting on top of both seatbelts.” The ride control system was designed to prevent operators from starting the ride if there was a seatbelt issue, but they “took several incorrect actions and reset the ride seatbelt monitors which allowed them to dispatch the ride.” “Because Ms. Estifanos was not restrained in the seat she became separated from her seat and fell to the bottom of the mine shaft, resulting in her death.”
“This fatal accident was the result of multiple operator errors, exacerbated by several factors detailed in this report,” the report concluded. The lack of proper procedures, inadequate training for ride operators, multiple operators taking responsibility for a ride during a cycle, and the restraint system itself all contributed to the fatal accident. The ride was originally opened in July 2017 and drops riders 110 feet into a mountain before returning to the main level.
An attorney representing the girl’s parents in a wrongful death action against Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park stated he expects to file suit this week and went on to say the Estifanos family “are determined to do everything in their power to make sure that no one ever dies this way again.” “As part of this mission they are asking witnesses to come forward, including folks who experienced problems with the Haunted Mine Drop before Wongel was killed on it.”
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