QUEENSBURY — Police believe “human error” on the part of the girl who fell from a ride at The Great Escape was the cause of the weekend accident that has drawn national attention to the amusement park.
The 14-year-old, whose name has not been released, was not believed to be hurt, but was hospitalized for tests to ensure she didn’t have any internal injuries, sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said.
She was released Monday afternoon from Albany Medical Center according to officials.
The girl was hospitalized Saturday night after she fell an estimated 25 feet from the “Sky Ride,” a gondola-style attraction that carries patrons over part of the park. She brushed against a tree, and a group of patrons helped break her fall, and numerous park visitors shot video of the incident that has gone across the Internet and television in recent days.
She was released Monday afternoon from Albany Medical Center.
Stockdale said the girl, who is from Delaware, was riding with her younger brother, somehow slipped underneath the restraining bars that holds riders in the car.
The ride was also found to be functioning properly, Stockdale said.
Police had not interviewed the girl or her brother as of early Monday, but tests have ruled out a medical problem causing her to slip out, so it appeared that she was either not paying proper attention or was fooling around to slide underneath the bar.
Some witnesses surmised she may have been trying to kick trees as the ride passed them, but Stockdale said that did not appear to be the case. He said she had already slipped through by that point that she was seen flailing her legs.
Thankfully the girl fell at one of the points where the seats aren’t at their highest on the ride, as they get significantly farther off the ground and over water closer to the end.
“It could have been a lot worse than it was,” Stockdale said.
Albany Medical Center said it could not release patient information without the child’s name to check her status.
Stockdale said the Sheriff’s Office was besieged by media requests for interview about the matter, with national shows seeking access to the investigating officers and the victim and her family.
“I got two phone calls from ‘Good Morning America,’” he said.
Two safety consultants contacted by “CBS This Morning” said gondola rides such as Sky Ride have good safety records. They told the network’s reports that problems are typically caused by actions of the rider.
The state Department of Labor inspected the ride and cleared it to re-open Sunday, but the park opted to keep it closed through Sunday. It was unclear early Monday whether it would re-open Monday,as calls and emails to a corporate spokeswoman were not returned.