Girl in Critical Condition After Thrill Ride Fall | News
LAKE DELTON, Wis. -- A 12-year-old Florida girl remains hospitalized in critical condition after being severely injured on a "free fall" amusement ride in Wisconsin Dells Friday.
University of Wisconsin Hospital officials said that Teagan N. Marti was in critical condition as of Saturday afternoon.
Lake Delton Police Chief Thomas Dorner said the girl was participating in the "Terminal Velocity" ride at Extreme World in the Wisconsin Dells when a net that was supposed to catch her failed.
Dorner said a net that was supposed to catch her and break her fall was not high enough above ground and she hit the ground. In all, she fell at least 40 feet.
Lake Delton police are not saying why the net was low at the time of the girl's fall.
"This is very rare thing. These rides are built and operated in a very safe manner," Dorner said.
Normally a care-free town, the feeling changed quickly as first responders race to help the girl, WISC-TV reported.
Nick Laskaris, Mt. Olympus owner and president, said he offered any help he could after the early afternoon accident across the street threatened the young girl's life.
"The first thing on our mind is to help the young girl and the family, and to hope and pray that everything will work out good for them. That's the No. 1 thing at this point, is for the family and the child," said Laskaris.
MedFlight used his parking lot as a landing zone and transported the victim to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.
"(We were) driving in around noon and we saw a bunch of ambulances and police cars around. We didn't really know what to think. We thought something bad had happened, but we weren't really sure what it was," said Rob Heller, visiting from La Crosse.
The accident changed the tone in the Dells as word of what happened spread.
"You just assume that they do safety checks and they tested it and it's going to be safe for the public, you know?" said Daniel Swanson, who was visiting from Homer, Nebraska.
Swanson said he and his family will now think twice before getting on a thrill ride.
"It's frightening, yeah. I mean, it's actually a ride I thought about trying while I was here. Somebody's been critically injured -- don't know if that's something I'd like to do," said Swanson.
The ride is described as an "unattached, controlled free fall." Extreme World Owner Bill Anderson said it is the first accident in the ride's eight-year history.
An Extreme World employee read a statement saying the company's employees "are praying for the girl and her family."
Anderson said he's cooperating with authorities and per state orders, has shut down the ride until the investigation into what happened is complete.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Extreme World is up for foreclosure sale and scheduled to be sold at a Sept. 7 Sauk County Sheriff's sale.
Court records show the judgment of foreclosure against Anderson Amusements LLC and Extreme World Inc. was more than $2.7 million.
According to Sauk County's online land information program, SOARING, Anderson also owes more than $82,000 in delinquent taxes on three Anderson Amusement parcels.
The state Department of Commerce, Lake Delton police and Sauk County Sheriff's Department are investigating the incident. Authorities said that they'll compile their report and forward everything to the district attorney to see if any charges will be filed.
Commerce officials said the ride was inspected last on June 28 and there were no reports of violations. They also said that the ride has been inspected annually since 2004 and there haven't been any reports of accidents.
Extreme World's website touts the ride as the only one in the Midwest "that provides an ankle-harness free fall."