A trip to the Six Flags amusement park in Lake George, New York, turned nightmarish for a 14-year-old visitor and the gathered crowd.

On June 24, 2017, a Saturday, the girl boarded an attraction called the Sky Ride, which suspends passengers 25 feet above the ground in open-faced gondolas. At one point during the slow trip around the park, the girl slipped beneath the ride’s guardrail. She caught herself but was left dangling from the vehicle.

image
Six Flags

Ride operators stopped the cars, but the girl couldn’t pull herself back into the two-person gondola. A second child sat safely in the gondola during the entire ordeal. Meanwhile, a crowd gathered below, ready to catch the 14-year-old when her strength gave out.

“I was sitting there waiting and I heard people screaming,” Loren Lent, a witness, told The Washington Post. Lent took cell phone video of the event. While this was happening, an unidentified person climbed a nearby tree to pull branches out of the path of the girl’s fall.

image
Great Work Perks

Lent said that the girl hung from the gondola for at least 90 seconds, possibly up to a few minutes. The video also captured Lent’s voice as he called, “They’ll catch you! They’ll catch you, honey. Go ahead!”

In that terrifying moment, the girl let go.

She fell 25 feet into a crowd of guests and park staff who waited with outstretched arms. Despite the efforts of the stranger in the tree, the girl struck a branch on her way down. Several people cooperated to catch her before she hit the ground.

However, Lent continued to watch in horror as someone carried the girl’s limp body to a nearby golf cart. Medical staff at the park treated the girl, but ultimately a helicopter carried her to Albany Medical Center to seek further treatment. She remained there in stable condition as of late June 2017, reported the New York Post. None of the girl’s injuries were life-threatening.

image
iStock

A 47-year-old man also went to the hospital for an injury sustained during the event. The Schenectady, New York, man helped to catch the falling girl and injured his back in the process.

A spokesperson for the park, Rebecca Wood, emailed the New York Post a statement. “Saturday evening a guest fell from a chair on the sky ride,” Wood wrote.”She was caught by a group of guests and security personnel. She was transported to an area hospital and we are in the process of gathering more information,” Wood continued. “The safety and security of our guests

“She was caught by a group of guests and security personnel. She was transported to an area hospital and we are in the process of gathering more information,” Wood continued. “The safety and security of our guests is our top priority and our thoughts and prayers are with the guest and her family.”

image
iStock

Wood shared that there were no known technical problems with the ride but that the ride will stay closed “out of an abundance of caution” as they conduct an internal review. 

Lent told The Washington Post that the heroism of the crowd, and especially the stranger who climbed the tree to remove branches, was the positive takeaway from a terrible ordeal.

image
iStock

“That was a very good idea,” he said, referring to the removal of the branches. “It was just good to see people band together to do what they could do.”At the same time, he criticized the park’s response, which he thought arrived too late.”There were a lot of people yelling and surprised as I was that there wasn’t something that could be done faster to help,” he said.

At the same time, he criticized the park’s response, which he thought arrived too late.

“There were a lot of people yelling and surprised as I was that there wasn’t something that could be done faster to help,” he said.

image
iStock

Reporters from The Washington Post asked Wood if the girl’s fall adhered to park protocol. Wood prevaricated, saying that the park’s rides have a “standard evacuation plan” without elaborating on a plan for the Sky Ride. However, park management will investigate the event and make changes if necessary, Wood wrote.”As part of our annual

“As part of our annual practice an evacuation drill is conducted in partnership with local emergency personnel on this particular ride each spring. Every situation is unique and requires the appropriate time and tools for the evacuation,” Wood explained. “We are reviewing our internal procedures to ensure the safety and security of our guests and team members.”

Generally, experts consider fixed-site rides at American amusement parks to be safe.

A National Safety Council report prepared in 2016 for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions found that there were only 0.8 injuries per 1 million rides in 2015. Using figures from this report, The Washington Post reports that the chance of sustaining a “serious” injury on a U.S. amusement park ride is just one in 16 million.

image
IAAPA

On the organization’s website, the IAAPA writes that “Unfortunately, a majority of the injuries [on amusement park rides] occur because the guest didn’t follow posted ride safety guidelines or rode with a pre-existing medical condition.”

The IAAPA’s safety guidelines instruct riders to “remain seated in the ride until it comes to a complete stop and you are instructed to exit” and to “always use safety equipment provided and never attempt to wriggle free of or loosen restraints or other safety devices.

News outlets have not reported the identity of the girl who fell, except to say that she is from Greenwood, Delaware. Watch the terrifying moment here.