A young girl looking forward to a ride on the ‘Mega Drop’ at a local state fair was instead in for a terrifying experience.
In a video posted by the girl’s mother, the little girl can be heard screaming in panic on a ride at the Greater Gulf State Fair in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday, November 4, after attendants failed to attach her safety buckle before the ride began.
April Piper, the mother of the little girl, described the incident in a Facebook post the following morning, stating that her nine-year-old daughter was at the fair with her 15-year-old son, who shot the video, and close family friends. Her daughter “wasn’t buckled” and staff “didn’t check her- she knew she wasn’t buckled,” Piper wrote in the post.
Piper praised a boy who was seated next to her daughter on the ride with her daughter, saying he had helped her stay calm “so that she could use her feet to kick the belt up” and buckle herself in before the ride was lowered back down.
In an interview with Fox2Now, April Piper said, “The pure terror that just flooded through her whenever that ride started moving, it was really hard to watch, and it’s hard to stomach your child going through that much trauma.”
Josh Woods, the Executive Director of the Greater Gulf State Fair, said,
“The primary safety device that allows the ride to operate, that was engaged. The secondary precautionary device – pretty much like a tertiary thing – the buckling of the buckle was not buckled,” he said. “The primary safety device worked, there was nothing defective.”
He continued to say, “It went up to the safety zone and workers are looking, constantly looking. They did notice that the secondary safety device was unbuckled. The ride was immediately stopped, and everybody was brought down safely.”
Woods said the ride attendants and operators were given additional training following the incident, according to WKRG.
In a statement to Storyful, the Greater Gulf State Fair said:
“On Friday, November 4 at the Greater Gulf State Fair in Mobile, Alabama, one secondary safety device was not properly secured on the Mega Drop ride. The primary shoulder and body restraint was secured and locked, which is required in order for the Mega Drop ride to start to operate. During the visual inspection in the ride safety zone, the ride operators realized that the secondary precautionary safety device was not engaged. The ride was slowly brought back down and the issue was immediately addressed. All employees manning the ride were re-trained. We pride ourselves in our partnership with North American Midway Entertainment. Their safety record is unmatched and the quick correction of this incident reinforces that safety is the top priority backed by multiple checkpoints on their midway.”
Credit: April Piper via Storyful / Fox2Now