A witness who observed and then captured a video of a 32-year-old man clinging to a Utah amusement park ride before plunging to his death thought the incident was just a stunt.
Lucy Grace Astilla, a park visitor, filmed the video at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, on Aug. 14. The video was later shared by Spanish-language news outlet Somos Utah, showing the man outside a carriage on the park’s Sky Ride ride, hanging from the safety bar.
Astilla, one her first Sky Ride experience, was reportedly traveling in the opposite direction on the two-way ride, when she began filming the man. “I thought it was a stunt, or he is a gymnast practicing for American Ninja Warrior, rehearsing, but then I noticed he didn’t have any equipment that would save him from a fall,” she told the Gephardt Daily.
The couple called out for help shortly after they reached the ride operator, “‘Hello, can you, can you please stop the ride? Someone is hanging down.’ And that’s the time we heard screaming from other people, but we were by the roller coaster, so I think maybe it was for that, but it wasn’t. The screaming was because the man fell,” she said.
As the New York Post reported, a large crowd had quickly formed by the time she got off the ride.
“People called 911. It was all so quick,” Astilla said.
According to Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen, the 32-year-old man died Monday morning, August 16, due to the injuries he sustained in the 50 feet fall. The identity of the victim has not been revealed.
Astilla said she and her husband have moved on, but she hasn’t forgotten about the incident.
“From that time, I have had no good sleep,” she said. “I’m still having a traumatic experience, but I think I can manage.”
Then Astilla claimed she watched a news broadcast claiming that the ride had malfunctioned, which she knew was untrue. That’s when she decided to show reporters her video because she did not want Lagoon to be held responsible for the man’s actions.
“I didn’t think that was fair, and I just wanted to prove to them that there’s no malfunction,” she said.
On Sunday morning, the amusement park’s social media team addressed the incident in a Facebook post. It stated, “We are saddened by an unfortunate incident that occurred on the sky ride yesterday. Our hearts go out to the family and others associated.”