An amusement park worker was thrown off a gyrating ride and killed, and park officials acknowledged Saturday that a safety precaution put in place after a fatal accident on the ride in 2004 wasn't followed.
Gabriela Garin, 21, of White Plains was killed Friday night after fastening some late-arriving riders into their seats on the Mind Scrambler, the same ride where a 7-year-old girl was killed three years ago at the landmark Playland Amusement Park in Rye. The ride was immediately shut down for the rest of the summer.
It was the fourth fatality at the park in less than four years.
Garin was operating the ride, a spider-arm-shaped attraction that spins riders around in two-seat cars, park spokesman Peter Tartaglia said. She had changed shifts with a new ride operator but continued to take on a few new passengers before leaving for the night, he said.
The woman told the operator she would fasten the last riders into the car, and the new operator, whose name wasn't immediately available, stepped into a booth and started the ride, Tartaglia said.
He looked up, noticed Garin still on the ride and shut it down 15 to 20 seconds after it began, Tartaglia said. But Garin, who started working at the park when she was 14, already had been thrown from it, he said.
Garin was "a very conscientious worker," Tartaglia said.
Emergency workers responded quickly, "but there wasn't very much anybody could do for her," Westchester County Police spokesman Kieran O'Leary said. Garin was pronounced dead at the scene around 9:30 p.m., he said.
The attraction in a darkened tent with flashing lights was the scene of another deadly accident May 22, 2004. Stephanie Dieudonne, 7, wriggled free of the restraining bar on one of the cars, knelt on the seat and fell soon after the ride started, according to investigators.
The amusement park was not cited for any violations or required to make improvements to the ride after the girl's death, but officials announced plans to add seat belts, more lighting and a second attendant.
No second attendant was on duty when the Friday night fatality occurred, however, Tartaglia said.
The Mind Scrambler is closed for the park's summer season, he said. Two other rides at the park — Power Surge and Go-Karts — that are owned by the same company also will close indefinitely while its safety procedures are inspected, Tartaglia said.
In 2005, a 7-year-old boy was killed when he climbed out of his boat ride and fell, investigators said. A 43-year-old man drowned after wading into a lake on July 4, 2006, at the county-owned Playland, a National Historic Landmark that opened in 1928.
Playland is on Long Island Sound, about 25 miles north of midtown Manhattan. Featuring more than 50 rides, a pool and a beach, it draws more than 1 million visitors a year.