An 11-year-old girl's scalp was torn off after her hair got caught in a carnival ride
A Saturday afternoon at the amusement park quickly turned to tragedy for one Omaha family when 11-year-old Elizabeth "Lulu" Gilreath's long hair got caught in a moving mechanism on a spinning ride at her town's Cinco de Mayo festival.
According to Elizabeth's father, Timothy Gilreath, she was pulled back and forth for a long time before anyone intervened.
"It went on for 5-10 minutes everybody told me while it ripped and pulled my daughter around," Gilreath said in an interview with WOWT. "She was tortured."
"There's nothing we could do and so I stood up and I was like yelling, I was like, 'Stop the ride! Stop the freaking ride!" said Elizabeth's friend, Aushanay Allen, who was also on the ride during the accident.
To add insult to injury, in a surveillance video released of the incident, the operator of the ride (called King's Crown) can be seen running away from the chaos instead of intervening.
Thankfully, mother and good samaritan Jolene Cisneros ran over to physically stop the ride. "It was still spinning. I had to stop it with my hands and turn it to the point where it was to the platform," she told WOWT.
When the ride was finally brought to a stop, Elizabeth was bleeding profusely.
Many bystanders rushed to her aid, using t-shirts and other items of clothing to stop the blood flow.
According to KMTV, she was taken to an area hospital and has since undergone a number of surgeries.
Her mother, Virginia Cooksey, shared the following images of a post-op Elizabeth on Facebook, asking for prayers for her daughter.
"Please pray for my baby girl," she began. "Lord please beside her and give her a full recovery. Lulu is such a amazing and out going little girl she has to make it threw this she want to be a senator when she grows up. She loves to read and learn. She loves her family dearly. Please family and friends keep lulu is your thoughts and prays on this mothers day."
But shockingly enough, the carnival is still up and running, according to KMTV.
Cinco de Mayo festival coordinator Marcos Mora claims that the carnival rides, run by Thomas D. Thomas, have been declared safe.
Regardless, her family is doing everything they can to prevent similar tragedy from striking another child.
Family friend Billie Bankus stood outside the festival the day following the incident with a poster, hoping to warn others of the dangers that lie inside.
"I mean, it removed her scalp," Bankus said.
At this time it is unknown if Elizabeth sustained permanent muscular damage or will be able to see once her eyelids heal, which is a possibility her family is all to aware of.
Still, they continue to be thankful for the progress Elizabeth has made so far.
"I want to know everyone who was involved in saving my daughter's life to know how thankful her family and I are," Cooksey shared on Facebook. "We have a long road ahead of us."
See more footage from the scene: