A friend of the family that lost their six-year-old daughter in a 110-foot fall at the Haunted Mine Drop amusement park ride in Colorado earlier this week has spoken out for the first time, revealing that the child’s parents were initially in denial and then began pleading with God to save her life.
Wongel Estifanos was with her extended family at Glenwood Caverns amusement park in Glenwood Springs on Sunday evening when she slipped out of the ride and plummeted down the shaft of the free-fall attraction.
Wongel was publicly identified on Wednesday by Garfield County Coroner Rob Glassmire, who released a link to a GoFundMe page endorsed by her family.
Bemni Mekonnen, a friend of the girl’s family, appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday to speak about the fatal incident.
‘This is a parent’s worst nightmare and something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy,’ Mekonnen said.
After Wongel somehow fell 110 feet off the ride, park workers began administering first aid to the child until paramedics arrived on the scene and took over the life-saving measures, but to no avail.
‘Their world shattered,’ the family friend said of Wongel’s parents. ‘One moment they’re in denial, the next minute they are trying to plead with God to bring her back, they are bargaining with him, they are angry.’
Documents show that the popular free-fall ride passed each of its annual regulation compliance inspections by third parties since it opened in July 2017. The most recent inspection took place in June.
The Haunted Mine Drop was specifically designed without shoulder restraints to make the dramatic drop ‘a little bit more scary,’ its designer, Stan Checketts, declared to KDVR when the attraction first opened.
Under Colorado law, an amusement park operator and its employees can be sued for acting in a reckless manner, but customers who sign a liability waiver legally agree to let a business act negligent.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Snejana Farberov