ALBANY, New York (WASHINGTON POST) A teenage girl escaped serious injury after falling 7.6m from an amusement park ride in Upstate New York - and into the arms of a crowd that had gathered below to catch her.
The dramatic fall and rescue was captured on video by at least one bystander at Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, New York, north of Albany, where the incident took place.
In the video, a girl wearing blue shorts and a gray shirt can be seen dangling from a stopped gondola and screaming as several onlookers shout in alarm. Another person is seated inside the two-person gondola, not in apparent danger of falling.
After several moments, someone in the crowd yells: "They'll catch you! They'll catch you, honey, go ahead!"
It is then that the girl plummets to the ground, hitting a tree branch before being caught by several people below. The video showed onlookers cheering after the girl was caught and then the girl being carried away, limp.
The girl who fell was a 14-year-old park guest visiting from Greenwood, Delaware, according to a statement from the Warren County Sheriff's Office. She was treated by park emergency medical staff first, then taken to a local hospital and finally flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Centre. She remains in stable condition with no serious injuries, police said.
A 47-year-old man visiting the park from Schenectady, NewYork, was also taken to a local hospital for a back injury he suffered as he tried to catch the girl, police said.
Loren Lent, who uploaded video of the incident to his Facebook page, told WRGB News that it was "horrifying" to witness.
"I mean, you know, you could tell this person is helpless," Lent told the station. "I said to one of the staffers, I said, 'You guys mean to tell me you don't have anything set up to rescue somebody in this situation?' and he then told me to leave the scene."
Police described the Sky Ride, the attraction from which the girl fell, as a "very slow-moving, gondola-style attraction that spans several hundred feet across the park."
After receiving a call that a rider was in distress, park staff stopped the ride, police said.
It's unclear how long the girl was dangling from the gondola. Investigators and park staff inspected the ride, including the gondola the girl had been in, and found that "everything was in proper working order and all safety equipment was intact and operational at the time of the incident", the sheriff's office said.