Child falls from roller coaster at Idlewild Amusement Park
LIGONIER, Penn. (WPIX) — A boy has fallen from a roller coaster at Idlewild and SoakZone in western Pennsylvania, a Westmoreland County emergency dispatcher told the Associated Press.
An ambulance was sent to the Ligonier park about noon Thursday. The dispatcher told the AP the child was conscious and alert when he was airlifted to a hospital about 50 miles west of the park in Pittsburgh. The child's condition was not immediately known.
A park official briefed reporters during a 3 p.m. news conference. He said the boy was visiting the park with his family and was riding the park's wooden coaster when the accident happened.
That ride, the Rollo Coaster, was built in 1938 and carries riders "up and down along a wooded hillside then turn(s) around in a swooping curve," according to the park's website.
The park official said the child was "on the middle part" of the coaster's track when he tumbled from the ride.
Riders of the Rollo Coaster must be 48 inches tall or 36 inches tall and accompanied by an adult, the official said.
The oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania and the third-oldest park in the U.S., Idlewild and SoakZone is located in Ligonier, Penn., about 300 miles west of Manhattan.
The incident comes on the heels of multiple high-profile accidents at amusement parks across the country, including one that ended in the death of a child.
Caleb Schwab, 10, was decapitated as he flew down the Verruckt waterslide at Schlitterbahn WaterPark in Kansas City, Kansas. The slide is 168 feet tall.
Photos of Schlitterbahn water park:
In Greenville, Tenn., three girls were hurt when they fell 35 to 45 feet from a Ferris wheel at a county fair.
Thousands of children are hurt annually on amusement rides, according to a 2013 study by Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The study examined data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Head and neck injuries were the most common at 28 percent, with 1.5 percent of the injuries requiring hospitalization, the study said.
Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics for 2015 are not available, but a review of the raw data found 45,000 injuries associated with amusement rides and water slides nationwide. About 30,000 of these cases involved those under age 18.