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Archive for Sunday, July 1, 2007

7-year-old died on same ride as park worker

July 1, 2007

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— An amusement park worker was thrown off a gyrating ride and killed, and park officials acknowledged Saturday that a safety precaution put in place after a fatal accident on the ride in 2004 wasn't followed.

Gabriela Garin, 21, of White Plains was killed Friday night after fastening some late-arriving riders into their seats on the Mind Scrambler, the same ride where a 7-year-old girl was killed three years ago at the landmark Playland Amusement Park in Rye. The ride was immediately shut down for the rest of the summer.

It was the fourth fatality at the park in less than four years.

Garin was operating the ride, a spider-arm-shaped attraction that spins riders around in two-seat cars, park spokesman Peter Tartaglia said. She had changed shifts with a new ride operator but continued to take on a few new passengers before leaving for the night, he said.

The woman told the operator she would fasten the last riders into the car, and the new operator, whose name wasn't immediately available, stepped into a booth and started the ride, Tartaglia said.

He looked up, noticed Garin still on the ride and shut it down 15 to 20 seconds after it began, Tartaglia said. But Garin, who started working at the park when she was 14, already had been thrown from it, he said.

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