January 18, 2019

Man catches teen falling from park ride: 'It's OK to let go'

26 June 2017, 04:14 | Marion Schneider

A day at the amusement park became anything but fun for a girl who's seen in video dangling from a ride as shocked bystanders wait anxiously to catch her from below.

Matthew Howard Sr, from Schenectady, New York, was just leaving the amusement park when he heard someone screaming, he told the Associated Press. Meanwhile, her young brother cried hysterically as he sat in the two-person green pod, telling his sister that he couldn't hold on.

They then encouraged her to let go so they could catch her.

"Let your legs dangle in the air as you board your open, two-person cable auto in Fest Area", the website said. The two took the brunt of the girl's fall, tumbling to the ground themselves after the catch.

"Because if she was going to fall you know I wanted to be there to at least do whatever I could to try to save this girl", Winchell said.

"No-one wants to put himself underneath a body like that, but I couldn't stand by and watch".

The Warren County Sheriff's Office says the 14-year-old victim doesn't have any serious injuries and remains at Albany Medical Center.

Winchell, who is applying to be a nurse, said they visited the girl Sunday at the hospital and she was in good spirits.

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So, they created a small human safety net and Howard told the girl that he'd catch her. "We were in the right place at the right time".

The accident happened on the Sky Ride at Six Flags Great Escape Amusement Park, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) north of Albany, New York.

He claimed park employees took too long to stop the ride and said the ride lacked a seatbelt.

On Sunday, Six Flags said the attraction will remain closed "out of an abundance of caution" while a "thorough internal review" is conducted.

Loren Lent, who witnessed the incident, captured the cell phone video. The park said in a statement that the safety of guests is a top priority.

After the incident investigators assisted by park personnel inspected the ride and the auto the teen girl had used and discovered that everything was in proper working order.

Six Flags has not yet commented on the incident, and it is not known why the girl was in such a state of danger during a ride which park investigators describe as a full-functioning "gondola-style attraction".

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