The family of a 6-year-old Colorado girl who died this month on an amusement park ride plans to file a lawsuit after a state investigation completed on Friday concluded that staff did not ensure the girl was buckled in.
The Denver Post reported that Wongel Estifanos fell 100 feet to her death at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on September 5. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Oil and Public Safety determined last week that Estifanos was sitting on two seatbelts which should have gone across her lap — which two recently-hired ride operators overlooked during seatbelt checks.
“Operators took several incorrect actions and reset the ride seatbelt monitors which allowed them to dispatch the ride,” according to the report, which alleged that staff reset the ride’s seatbelt monitors to start the ride.
Estifanos reportedly died from multiple blunt force injuries while aboard the Haunted Mine Drop ride. The Post reported that she was found at the bottom of the ride’s mine shaft.
The family’s lawyer, Dan Caplis, told KKCO that in light of the state’s report highlighting negligence, a waiver the parents signed upon entering the park will not pose a legal issue.
“We’ve received contact from witnesses around America who have had issues on the ride and those witnesses will be very helpful in adding additional evidence of recklessness because obviously this is something the park knew of before, and something the park should have corrected long before Wongel fell to her death,” Caplis commented.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is expected to issue fines and violations related to the deadly incident. A police spokesperson told The Post that they are turning over their investigation to Ninth Judicial District Attorney Jeff Cheney, who will determine whether criminal charges will be filed in this case.
KKCO reported that Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was reopened after the deadly incident, but the Haunted Mine Drop ride remains closed. It is unclear when, or if, the ride will be reopened.
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[Featured image: Wongel Estifanos/GoFundMe]