Child killed on amusement park ride identified as elementary school student from District 49

Exterior of Haunted Mine Drop
Exterior of Haunted Mine Drop(CBS Denver)
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 10:04 AM MDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 12:35 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A child killed in a tragic accident at a Colorado amusement park was an elementary school student in District 49, 11 News has learned.

Counselors are currently on hand at Stetson Elementary School to support students and staff grappling with the sudden loss.

“We share the family’s grief as they experience an unimaginable loss,” the district said in a brief statement.

The little girl was identified by officials Wednesday morning as 6-year-old Wongel Estifanos. A verified GoFundMe to help the family with funeral costs can be found here.

Wongel died over the weekend while on a family vacation to Glenwood Springs. According to local law enforcement, the little girl was on a ride at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park when a horrific mishap occurred.

The park has not elaborated on the accident, only stating it occurred on the Haunted Mine Drop.

“Out of respect and concern for all parties involved, we will not have further comment until all details have been confirmed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved,” the park said in a statement.

While officials have released scant details on the accident, 11 News has obtained emergency dispatch recordings that are shedding some insight to the tragedy. Below are excerpts from that recording:

“EMS to Glenwood Springs Cavern for a party that fell out of the shaft ride at the party. The party is at the bottom of the shaft now. ... Patient will be a 6-year-old female and she fell approximately 110 feet. ... It’s unknown which part of the ride the patient fell from. I believe the ride was in operation when the child fell from it. ... We’re going to have to go down the mineshaft, will probably lose signal with you. We have to give you command they were in the car for us right now we’re going to head down. ... We’ve got extended family of about 20 people up here, a lot of very distraught people.”

The Garfield County Coroner’s Office says park employees provided the little girl with first aid until paramedics got on scene.

11 News has obtained copies of every Certificate of Inspection for the ride since it first opened, all which show it has been in compliance with all regulations and passed all inspections. The most recent check was just three months ago.

None shed light into the big question: how did this tragedy happen?

The Haunted Mine Drop became operational in 2017. According to the park website, the it sends riders plummeting 110 feet inside Iron Mountain, the mountain the park sits atop of. Riders must be 46 inches, or 3-foot-10, to get on, and guests must also sign a waiver.

The ride can be seen in this video provided by the park:

The video shows there is no shoulder harness on the ride, only a lap restraint.

The park will remain closed until at least Sept. 11 as the investigation continues.

11 News has asked if there are any requirements that must be met before the ride reopens and has been told it depends on the investigation’s findings.

“We are deeply saddened and ask that you please keep the family of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers,” the park said in a message on its website.

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