A 5-year-old girl is recovering from injuries she suffered after falling off a carnival ride in Lebanon, Indiana, and becoming trapped underneath the moving ride.
Witnesses expressed frustration and anger to WISHTV Indianapolis over the incident, which they indicated may have been caused by inattention and carelessness of the operator.
“We noticed a little girl stand up and before she had a chance to sit back down, the ride operator started the ride,” one witness, whose child was also on the ride, told WISHTV. She said the ride’s operator failed to check that all the children seated in the Clown Around ride before starting it.
The ride’s sudden start knocked the girl off, and she became pinned underneath the bars connecting the cars to the ride, her father said on a Facebook post, according to WISHTV. He added that she was positioned in a manner that the bars of the ride were dragging her around.
Witnesses said they were screaming for the ride’s operator to stop the ride, but it made a cycle before the ride was stopped.
“We all started screaming for her to stop the ride and she couldn’t hear us and we started screaming louder. I don’t even know how many times we screamed for her to stop the ride,” the witness told WISHTV.
“I was in shock. I was scared. I was mad because the lady just, I mean, she wasn’t paying attention — she was on her phone, she was doing everything that she shouldn’t have been doing,” she added.
Pictures the family provided to WISHTV show the girl in a neck brace. Her face is swollen with bruises and tire marks. The girl was released from Riley Hospital for Children the next day and is recovering at home.
WISHTV said it spoke with the vice president of Poor Jack Amusement, the company that provided and operated the carnival rides. He said that the operator was put on paid leave pending a further investigation. She denied accusations that she failed to check that the kids were seated and that she was talking on the phone.
The company official also said the Indiana Department of Homeland Security inspected the ride after the accident and gave it the green light to continue operating.