Health

Here's the Truth About This Viral Video of a Girl's 25-Foot Fall From a Ride

June 27th 2017

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

A dramatic video of a teenage girl falling 25 feet from an amusement park ride is making national news, and it's creating a discussion about amusement park safety.

The video, taken on June 24, shows the 14-year-old dangling dangerously from a gondola ride at a Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, New York and screaming for help.

A witness who took a video of the incident told The Washington Post that onlookers broke the branches off a nearby tree and waited with outstretched arms for her to let go so they could catch her.

“That was a very good idea,” Loren Lent told The Post. “It was just good to see people band together to do what they could do.” The girl dangled for some time, until Lent yelled for her to let go and allow the crowd to catch her.

"They’ll catch you! They’ll catch you, honey, go ahead,” he yelled in the video. Then the girl fell into the arms of the crowd gathered below. The teen was taken to a New York hospital and released on Monday. A man who helped catch her was treated for a back injury, according to the Post.

So are amusement parks dangerous?

Generally, statistics suggest that amusement park rides are safe. In this specific case, police said that the gondola ride—known as the "Sky Ride"—was functioning properly and the girl's own actions likely caused her to fall out of the ride. However, the authorities are still investigating the incident.

A 2015 analysis by the "International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions" found that the odds of being hurt at an amusement park are 1 in 16 million, which would mean someone is more likely to be struck by lightning.

As Patty Davis, the acting communications director and press secretary of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), told ATTN:, there were 30,930 amusement ride related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2016.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction over certain types of mobile carnival rides, and the commission collects data on incidents that are reported to them. However, fixed-site rides, like the ones in amusement parks, generally fall under the jurisdiction of individual states, and several states do not have "state-administered inspection programs." In 1981, Congress removed the ability of the CPSC to regulate fixed-amusement rides by amending the Consumer Product Safety Act.

"Although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction over mobile rides, regulation of fixed-site rides is currently left to state or local governments, leading to a fragmented system," Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission told CNN in August 2016. "A coordinated national system would help us prevent amusement ride-related injuries through better injury surveillance and more consistent enforcement of standards."

A 2013 study by researchers at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed the available data on fixed-site rides from 1990 to 2010. They found that an average of 4,423 injuries from amusement rides requiring an emergency room visit were sustained by children every year. The most frequent injuries were to the head and neck, and injuries were most commonly caused by falling off or against the ride. However, only 1.5 percent of the injuries required hospitalization.  

Nevertheless, the researchers recommended improvements on the federal level.

"An improved national system for monitoring injuries involving amusement rides is needed," wrote the researchers. "There are opportunities to improve the safety of amusement rides for children, especially to prevent injuries from falls.

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