GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The dispatch radio call for help at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park revealed what had happened Sept. 5. Now a state investigation report reveals why.
The nine-page report found “multiple operator errors.” Most notably they did not notice 6-year-old Wongel Estifanos of Colorado Springs sat on the seatbelt and was not fastened in.READ MORE: Barry Morphew Plans To Sue Police, Prosecutor Who Worked On His Case
There was a backup: a pin which if not in place notifies a monitor which shows a restraint error. After trying to figure out what was wrong, the operators reset it.
They are to visually ensure the seat belt is over the lap of the passenger.
Dan Caplis, the attorney for Wongel’s family, is talking of a lawsuit against the Glenwood Caverns Amusement Park.
“The report documents that you had a series of errors, series of opportunities to prevent the death of one gal,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
The Haunted Mine Drop falls 110 feet. The report claims it is the responsibility of the park to strap in the riders. Two years ago, an email to the state told of another rider seat belt complaint.
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And now comes Wongel.
Caplis said, “The parents are determined to make sure that this never happens to anyone again.”
The state’s report hinted at fines for the park.
Greg Johnson of the Department of Labor said in a video release, “This investigation did identity violations of the Colorado Amusement Ride and devices and regulations and enforcement will proceed.”
Wongel’s family is asking anyone with information to come forward.
Caplis added, “You look at this ride and if a mistake is made, somebody dies. If a mistake is made, somebody falls 110 feet to their death.”
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park issued this statement:
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The owners, management and entire Glenwood Caverns family are heart-broken by the tragic accident that occurred here on September 5. There is no way we can imagine the pain of loss that the Estifanos family and their friends are experiencing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Safety is, and always has been, our top priority. Since opening our first ride just over 15 years ago, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has delivered more than 10 million safe and enjoyable rides.
We have been working closely with Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety and independent safety experts to review this incident. Earlier today, we received the state’s final report and will review it carefully for recommendations.
More than anything, we want the Estifanos family to know how deeply sorry we are for their loss and how committed we are to making sure it never happens again.
The 9th Judicial District Attorney released this statement:
“We have not received the final investigation from our local law enforcement regarding the incident which occurred at Glenwood Caverns. I received a communication today from the Leader of the Garfield County Sheriff Investigations Team who indicated they are in the final stages of their investigation and intend to present it to our office soon. However, I cannot give any timeline. In light of the ongoing investigation, I will not have any comments beyond this for now.”