A six-year-old girl died after being thrown from her seat while riding in an amusement arcade in Colorado when operators missed the alarm.
Wongel Estifanos, of Colorado Springs, was driving with her family on the Haunted Mine Drop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Colorado when both operators missed her seat belt because it was not properly fastened on Sept. 5.
The ride, which drops passengers 120 feet, is equipped with a two-belt seat belt system — a neurobar and a standard seat belt — to keep riders safe. It is not equipped with a shoulder harness.
The Garfield County Coroner’s Office said the little girl died of multiple blunt injuries after being thrown from the ride because operators failed to notice she was on her seat belts.
Wongel Estifanos, six, of Colorado Springs (pictured), was riding the Haunted Mine Drop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Colorado when both operators missed on Sept. 5 that her seat belt was not properly fastened.
The Haunted Mine Drop drops riders 120 feet from the top of the mine shaft. It is equipped with a two seat belt restraint system to keep riders in place. The main limitation is a neurobar, a bar that locks into a bar of blocks between seats. The secondary restraint system is a standard seat belt. There are no shoulder harnesses on the ride
Estifanos was on her seat belts, the report showed, and had only the end of the belt across her lap. A safety alarm went off and driver 1 re-buckled everyone’s belt and driver 2 double-checked. Neither operator – who had been poorly trained just a few weeks earlier – noticed the girl’s seat belt was under her
The main restraint during the ride is the neurobar, a ribbed bar in the shape of a pole that snaps into a block of bars that connect to the seat and place the belt across the lap of the passengers. It is monitored by a Human Machine Interface (HMI) display, a transmit button and manual controls in the control room.
As a secondary precaution, the ride also comes equipped with a standard seat belt that clips around the hips.
According to the report, the ride will not work unless both seat belts are locked in place every ride and the operator will give an error if the bar is not properly intact.
It is the intention that all seat belts are unbuckled at the end of the ride, regardless of whether someone has been in them during the previous ride.
Another woman experienced a similar situation in 2019 when she drove over the Mine Drop (pictured) after the driver strapped her down before she had a chance to get up and remove the seat belt from under her. She insisted that she be strapped in again. She emailed the park, but didn’t hear from them
Esifanos had apparently been sitting on top of the seat belts, which had not been unfastened by the driver after no one had sat there before.
According to the report, an alarm went off, indicating that Esifanos’ belt had not been loosened since the last ride. When operators checked the neurobars between the seats, they concluded that they were all properly attached.
Esifanos is said to have placed the end of the seat belt over her lap, but neither operator noticed that the main parts of the belts had not been placed over her lap.
The report stated that Operator 1, who had been hired on 9th July and trained on 5th August, had checked that all rods were in place and determined that they were in the right place. Operator 2, hired on Aug. 21 and trained Aug. 22, removed all the bars and put them back in place, the report said.
This reset the system, as all straps were unbuckled and re-buckled. The error message in the control room disappeared and the operators started the ride.
“When checking the seat belts, driver 2 checked Ms. Estifanos’s seat belts by repeating the same actions as driver 1 at the first check,” the report said. ‘Madam. Estifanos had put the back of a seat belt across her lap; Operator 2 also didn’t notice that none of the seat belts were across her lap.’
The ride begins by pulling passengers to the top of the old mine shaft before the floor falls below them, plunging them 120 feet into complete darkness.
Estifanos became separated from her seat and fell to the bottom of the mine shaft because she was not restrained in her seat.
An operator reported that when the passengers resurfaced they were “furious” and told them that someone was still in the mine shaft.
The Mine Drop has been temporarily shut down since the death of Estifanos (Wongel pictured). A reopening date has not yet been decided
Surveillance footage was found of the operators “inconsistently using the process of unfastening and repositioning all seat belts to release the seats,” the report said.
Investigators also reported that the ride violated Colorado’s Amusement Rides and Devices Regulations code and enforcement would be pursued, according to Fox 13.
A statement from the amusement park said the company is “heartbroken by the tragic accident that occurred here.”
“We cannot imagine the pain of the loss that the Estifanos family and their friends are experiencing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them,” the statement read. “We want the Estifanos family to know how deeply we are sorry for their loss and how committed we are to making sure this never happens again.”
The Estifanos family’s lawyer has issued a statement calling on others who have had similar experiences to come forward.
“Wongel’s parents are committed to doing everything they can to ensure that no one ever dies this way again,” the statement said.
The Estifanos family’s attorney released a statement calling for other people who have had similar experiences to come forward and “are determined to do everything in their power to ensure that no one is ever seen this way again.” dies’
The Haunted Mine Drop is currently closed and the reopening date for the ride is unknown.
In 2019, a woman contacted the state of Colorado after saying she was nearly thrown from the Haunted Mine Drop after her seat belt was also not properly fastened.
The email, which was forwarded to the Oil and Public Safety Department, stated that “the operator fastened the seat belt and was not fastened.” [the woman].’
The woman, who brought her experience to the park’s attention in 2019, said the operator tied her up before she had a chance to get up and slipped behind the seat belt. She was also on top of the seat belt.
‘I called [the operator’s] attention to this (I was on the belt and [the operator] didn’t even give me a chance to get up and put the belt on me) and said I wasn’t stuck, [the operator] disputed this and said no, I pinned it,’ she said wrote.
She insisted the belt was under her and not around her waist, after which the operator reattached her.
“During the entire ride, all I could think about was what if I didn’t insist? [the operator] check again? I had no idea what the ride was, I didn’t know the floor was sinking. This could have ended in tragedy for anyone.’
The park never responded to her email.
DailMail.com has contacted Garfield County Sheriff’s Department for comment.