Posted on Jul 13, 2007

An amusement park ride employee was thrown to her death on the Mind Scrambler June 29, according to the New York Daily News. Twenty-one-year-old Gabriela Garin of White Plains was killed when vibrations from the ride threw her from a platform at the Playland Amusement Park in Rye. She had worked at the park for eight years.

Fatality Was Ride’s Second in Three Years

It was the second death on the ride in three years. In May 2004, 7-year-old Stephanie Dieudonne of New Rochelle was killed after she worked herself from a restraining bar on a car and fell. The Mind Scrambler spins riders around in the dark to flashing lights and loud music. It was the fourth fatality at the park in as many years.

The park was not cited for violations or required to make improvements to the ride after Dieudonne’s death, but officials then announced plans to add seat belts, additional lighting and a second attendant. However, some reports say there wasn’t a second attendant “on duty” when the recent tragedy occurred. The Mind Scrambler has been closed for the remainder of this summer. Playland is on Long Island Sound and features 50 rides, a pool and beach. The park attracts a million visitors a year.

Accident Occurred During Shift Change

On the night of her death, Garin had changed shifts with another ride operator but she continued to admit additional passengers, according to Peter Tartaglia, park spokesman. Garin told the new operator she would fasten the last riders into the car. But before Garin could vacate the ride area, the new operator stepped into a booth and started the ride, Tartaglia said. When the new operator noticed Garin had not stepped away from the platform, he shut it down 15 to 20 seconds later, Tartaglia said. By then, Garin had been thrown from the ride.

Westchester County Police spokesman Kieran O'Leary said, “There wasn’t very much anybody could do for her.” Garin was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bob Battle
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