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Garfield County Coroner identifies Colorado Springs child fatally injured on amusement ride

Posted at 11:16 AM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 14:59:12-04

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Garfield County Coroner has identified the girl killed in an accident at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park as 6-year-old Wongel Estifanos of Colorado Springs. District 49 confirmed she was a student at Stetson Elementary where students and staff are being offered counseling services.

The park reported that the incident involved the Haunted Mine Drop ride. The Garfield County Coroner’s Office said Estifanos was fatally injured on the ride. She was on a vacation with her family.

Glenwood Caverns employees began first aid until paramedics arrived at the scene and determined the child had died, according to the coroner's office.

Authorities are investigating the circumstances around the child's death.

The park said due to the ongoing investigation, it does not have any other information to share.

The park was closed on Monday and Tuesday.

The Haunted Mine Drop is one of the park's newest rides, having opened in July 2017. According to the park, it's the "first drop ride in the world to go underground, plunging riders 110 feet inside the dark depths of Iron Mountain in what feels like a free-fall." The ride features a row of seats open in the large hole and surrounded by rock. Riders wear a seatbelt, but their shoulders are not restrained.

Taylor Bybee, a YouTuber who travels the country and the world posting videos of amusement park rides under the name Coaster Studios, told Denver7 Monday more about the restraint mechanisms of the ride.

Bybee explained that the ride has two seatbelts — one is a latch system that cannot be pulled out until the ride operators do so at the end of the ride, and the second is fairly similar to one in a car across a person's waist.

"Theme parks are actually very, very safe," Bybee said. "These maintenance people that work at the parks are inspecting the rides every single morning and making sure everything is good to go. It’s extremely rare that something like this happens and it’s an absolute shame."

“It’s devastating,” Bybee continued. "It’s really a shame. It’s absolutely a tragedy when something like this happens, especially when it’s a victim so young. They’re there to have fun. You don’t want to have to worry about the possibility of something horrible like this happening."

In 2017, the ride was named the Best New Theme Park Attraction by USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.