Woman dies after falling from roller coaster ride
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A woman who fell from a roller coaster at a Baton Rouge amusement park Sunday afternoon is dead.
Lindsay Zeno, 21, of Lafayette was pronounced dead at a Baton Rouge hospital.
According to witnesses, she fell about 30 feet from the "Xtreme" at Blue Bayou Water Park/Dixie Landin' Amusement Park around 4 p.m.
The roller coaster, which opened three years ago, spins as it twists and turns along a steel track.
"The thing that goes over your chest came up and she was trying to put it down, pull it back over her, when she made that turn and I guess she couldn't pull it over her because the next thing you know, she was hitting the ground," said Tabdatha Arnold. "Everybody was just staring. That was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life."
Arnold claimed to be on the ride next to the "Xtreme."
The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal regulates amusement parks.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning sent inspectors from his department to examine the coaster.
"There were no obvious failures," Browning said. "The track is still in place. The mechanical parts of the ride are still in place. The drives, electrical, everything seems to be fine right now, so our work is going to be long and tedious."
Browning said the ride was just checked out last month and no violations or mechanical problems were found.
Browning said the "Xtreme" will remain closed until the investigation into the deadly fall is completed.
"We're going to bring in some more of our experts over the next couple of days to physically operate this ride and put it under some test conditions, so we can understand exactly what happened. When someone dies or someone is hurt, we owe an explanation and I certainly take that responsibility very seriously," he explained.
He added the manufacturer of the roller coaster will also examine the ride.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office is conducting a joint investigation with the state fire marshal's office.
Dixie Landin' Amusement Park issued a statement following Sunday's tragedy.
"We are all saddened by this terrible accident. An investigation by the state fire marshal's office has begun to try and determine the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time."
The incident was not the first at the park in which someone fell from a ride, but the victim survived last time.
A two-year-old boy broke his arms and legs when he fell from a ride four years ago.
According to the official investigation, Kobe Carter fell 25 feet from the "Over the Rainbow" ride on June 9, 2006.
According to the lawsuit filed by the boy's parents, the park claimed children younger than 8 or shorter than 48 inches tall could ride with a parent.
The boy's parents said no height requirements were posted when the accident happened.
Coincidentally, that ride had also been in operation about three years at the time of the fall.
Days before that incident, Diana Landry of St. Tammany Parish file a lawsuit was filed over the "Conja" ride.
"The raft landed and the force from the speed of the raft caused the passenger in the seat in front of Ms. Landry to be thrown forward and then backwards, causing her head to strike Ms. Landry in the face," the suit stated.
It claimed the ride was not equipped with any safety restraints, belts, harness and/or protective equipment to prevent an accident of this nature.
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