GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KREX) – A new accident investigation report out Friday by investigators with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Oil and Public Safety finds 6-year-old Wongel Estifanos died on the vertical drop ride (Haunted Mind Drop) at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park after not wearing a seat belt. The incident occurred on September 5, 2021 at approximately 7:15pm, according to the report.
The report identifies, Estifanos was sitting on top of both seat belts used to restrain passengers. An alarm system prevented the operators from dispatching the ride and alerted them to a seatbelt safety issue on Estifano’s seat, according to the investigation. The CDLE says both operators had insufficient training and did not know what to do. One worker decided to reset the system and continue to operate the ride, leading to Estifanos falling more than 100 feet to her death on September 5, according to the investigation report.
The report cites the factors that led to the operator error were:
-Lack of procedures
-More than one operator taking responsibility of a ride during a ride cycle
-The restraint system involved
According to KDVR, Glenwood Caverns released this statement to the CDLE in response to the report:
“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 investigation identifies violations of the Colorado Amusement Rides and Devices Regulations and states enforcement will be pursued. This is the final report on the fatal accident.