Colorado park ride where 6-year-old died was designed without shoulder restraints

National

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — The Colorado amusement park ride on which a 6-year-old girl died Sunday night was intentionally designed without shoulder restraints.

Riders have pointed out their concerns about the ride on KDVR’s Facebook page.

“I rode that ride in June and the young girl running the ride didn’t seem to know what she was doing. My safety belt wasn’t tight and I felt like I was coming out of the ride,” rider Sarah Akard wrote. “I tried to tell her but they started the ride. I’m thankful I was able to hold myself in. Prayers to the family and those on the ride.”

The 6-year-old Colorado Springs girl, who was not immediately identified, was vacationing in Glenwood Springs with her family, according to the coroner’s office. An investigation is underway into what led to her death.

Who designed the ride?

The Haunted Mine Drop ride was designed by Stan Checketts in Logan, Utah. He has designed numerous amusement park rides and was at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on July 31, 2017, when the ride made its debut.

On that day, he told KDVR, “We don’t put shoulder restraints on the side of your head, which makes it a little bit more scary, a little bit more exciting.”

Checketts also designed the Stratosphere Big Shot ride in Las Vegas, Nevada, which shoots riders upward at a rapid speed before lowering them back down — the opposite of the Haunted Mine Drop — but it has shoulder restraints.

The Haunted Mine Drop shoots passengers 110 feet down into a dark mine shaft in three seconds or less.

Haunted Mine Drop ride Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (Credit: KDVR)

“Usually as a rule, every ride that I’ve ever designed with my team and built with my team, I’m the first one to ride it. In this particular case, that’s not true. It’s very unusual for me to be here and not even [have] ridden it yet and everybody’s getting to ride it ahead of me,” Checketts said when the ride opened in 2017.

Regulations/waiver for the Haunted Mine Drop ride

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety, which regulates amusement park rides said a state inspector would likely visit the park Tuesday. According to the state website, all Colorado amusement parks are required to undergo “annual third-party inspections and obtained adequate insurance coverage in the event that an accident occurs.”

A promotional video of the Haunted Mine Drop uploaded by the park had been taken down Monday morning. The park also removed a section from its website for the Haunted Mine Drop.

KDVR obtained a copy of a waiver for the ride that states in part, “INJURIES/AND OR DEATH may result” and “THE UNDERSIGNED hereby ASSUME ALL RISKS.” Another sentence reads, “THE UNDERSIGNED understand and agree that a seat belt IS IN NO WAY A GUARANTEE OF SAFETY.”

Riders younger than 18 are supposed to have their parent or guardian sign the waiver on their behalf.

KDVR reached out to a park spokeswoman to ask why certain items had been removed from the park’s website and YouTube but did not immediately receive a response.

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