It was an ordinary Saturday night in an upstate New York amusement park until…a teenager is hanging 25 feet in the air, holding onto the gondola ride for dear life. People were acting frantic as this young girl was only moments away from possibly falling to her death. Meanwhile, her young brother cried hysterically as he sat in the two-person green pod, telling his sister that he couldn’t hold on.
The whole ordeal took place Sky Ride at Six Flags Great Escape Amusement Park, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) north of Albany, New York. People crowded the area where this young teenager danged high in the air. Patrons panicked. A child was in danger.
Matthew Howard Sr. and his 21-year-old daughter answered the cries for help. They positioned themselves underneath the halted gondola ride in attempt to catch the distressed teenager. Howard told the girl that it was alright to let go of the ride.
“I said: ‘It’s ‘OK! It’s OK to let go, I’ll catch you, honey,'” said Howard.
A few good Samaritans helped the father-daughter duo catch the plummeting teen. Mathew and his daughter fell backwards after catching the girl. That teenager is now safe; she was taken to Albany Medical Center in stable condition with no major injuries.
Howard received a minor back injury from catching the teenager. “I couldn’t let that little girl die,” Howard told The Associated Press on Sunday. “No one wants to put himself underneath a body like that, but I couldn’t stand by and watch.”
Loren Lent, from Glenville, said Sunday that his 10-year-old daughter has been affected by the incident. Lent, along with his wife and daughter were on the ride looking down and watching the ordeal take place. “My daughter was just traumatized,” he said. “She was crying for about a half-hour after.”
Lent noted that ride didn’t have seat belts, only a bar to hold patrons inside. “I’ll never let my family on that ride again,” he said.
The 14-year-old teenager who fell from the ride is reportedly in “good spirits.”
On Sunday, park officials noted they won’t be running the gondola ride despite the fact that it is cleared for operation. The ride had been inspected and is in proper order, but the park still won’t provide this ride clearance to operate.
“”There does not appear to be any malfunction of the ride, but we have closed the attraction until a thorough review can be completed,” park officials said. “We are reviewing our internal procedures to ensure the safety and security of our guests and team members.”