Witness recalls horrifying incident at The Great Escape

June 26, 2017 01:09 AM

LAKE GEORGE – It's the end of another beautiful day at The Great Escape, just like Saturday when Loren Lent's kids were on their last ride. That's when the Glenville man looked up and saw a 14-year-old girl from Delaware dangling 20 or more feet above ground.

“He was screaming, ‘You got to help her, she can't hold her, she's going to fall, she's slipping, she's choking, she can't breathe, her head is caught,” Lent said. “It was just hysterics.”

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Lent says after he noticed the girl hanging from her upper body, he yelled at park personnel to do something to rescue her. They told him to back away from the scene, so he says he took out his phone and started to record.

“These guys are walking backwards and they have radios. Why did it take at least a minute and 30 seconds to stop the ride?” Lent asked. “How long they were aware of it before it came into my view, I don't know.”

Lent says roughly three minutes after he arrived, the girl was caught. He praised the bystanders, but he's wondering why park workers didn't lead the effort to catch her.

“It seems that somewhere along the ride, they should have something to perform a rescue,” Lent said. “It's too long to wait for one of the cherry pickers that you can drive around.”

In a statement, The Great Escape says all rides have a standard evacuation plan and they practice evacuating the SkyRide once a year. After Saturday’s incident, the statement says they are reviewing internal procedures.

It's still unclear what the girl was doing and how she ended up hanging from the ride in the first place.

The Sky Ride has no height requirement. It has a lap bar and moves very slowly. The Great Escape says the state labor department cleared the ride for operation but the park is keeping it closed while an internal review is conducted.  

The Warren County Sheriff's Office said the girl is at Albany Med in stable condition. Another man who helped catch her was taken to the hospital with a back injury. The sheriff adds investigators inspected the ride, and found everything in working order.


WNYT Staff

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